Depression is a condition characterized by a bad mood or loss of interest in daily activities that lead to the loss of a person’s time and energy. It may further lead to a varied range of physical and behavioural symptoms.
Symptoms may include anxiety, poor appetite, fatigue, excessive hunger, mood swings, hopelessness, lack of concentration, weight gain or weight loss, and in very severe or major depression thoughts of suicide is a symptom as well. Some causes of depression may be physical or mental abuse, certain medication overdose, death or loss of someone beloved, serious illness, and genetics. However, the causes are not as certain as such. Depression can occur to anyone at any stage in their life irrespective of the above-mentioned causes.
There are nine types of studied depression people have gone through and are still facing. These include persistent depression, major depression, manic depression, perinatal depression, depressive psychosis, situational depression, seasonal depression, and many more.
Treatment of depression involves courses and medication. You are advised to seek help from a closed one and pay a visit to doctors. Three common methods used to treat depression are cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy, and psychodynamic therapy. To treat major depression a blend of all these three therapies is used. But it is noted that these treatments take a lot of time to recover from a depressed state of mind. Medications for depression include SSRIs, antidepressants, and anxiolytics. But it is noted that more than one-fourth of people having depression are resistant to Serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.
This is one of the reasons that led to research for an alternative.
As mentioned already, these medications and therapies take time to heal a person completely. Recently researchers have come up with the use of ketamine to treat depression. Ketamine can be proved to be an alternative for Serotonin in SSRIs. The functioning of ketamine against depression is based on a group of proteins that are involved in the formation of memory.
To understand thoroughly let us take a look at ketamine and effects of ketamine on depression.
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Ketamine was approved initially as an anaesthetic to lose consciousness and provide relief from pain. It induces a trance-like state providing relief from pain and sedation. The involvement of ketamine in depression is a breakthrough for the world of medication as depression is very common among youth and becoming a reason for mass suicides.
Unlike other treatments of depression-like therapies and medications, ketamine does not take weeks or months to show its effects. The effects can be seen within a few hours of taking ketamine as a cure for depression. A low number of neurotransmitters like serotonin in the brain was earlier presumed to be the cause of depression, but unfortunately, it’s not completely the reason.
Ketamine interferes with the signalling of glutamate. Glutamate itself is a major neurotransmitter that makes the neurons more active. Low doses of ketamine were found to cure depression in the late ’90s. the effect was seen within hours and would last for weeks after taking ketamine. Ketamine somehow causes the brain to produce more chemicals that are neural fertilizers thus helping neurons to grow new connections. When this is combined with other treatments like cognitive behavioural therapies this could allow patients to develop new pathways rapidly that help them to better regulate their emotions leading to better functioning of their mood which they can control by themselves.
Studies have shown that more than half of people respond to ketamine. Researchers earlier used mice for carrying out experiments on the behaviour and neuronal activity of mice. They used genetic tools to remove a set of proteins from excitatory neurons and inhibitory neurons to examine how ketamine worked against each neuron set.
As a result, they found that when a set of specific proteins were missing from both types of neurons, ketamine could not relieve depression. This led to the conclusion that proteins were able to turn protein synthesis necessary for memory formation on and off.
Hence it can be concluded that ketamine is the best alternative to serotonin as it takes lesser time to show its effects against depression and lasts for weeks after taking single doses.