Skip to main content

mental health mondays :: more health benefits of special k

no, not the breakfast cereal. i'm talking really special k here. the dissociative anesthetic that's become a recreational hallucinogen and sometime date rape drug may have some pretty important uses, according to a new study that's been published in the u.k.

taken at doses significantly lower than surgical or recreational ones, the drug has shown startling effectiveness in relieving treatment-resistant depression. what do they mean by that term? it means a form of depression that shows little to no improvement, or only very short term improvement, when treated with therapy and/ or standard antidepressant medications. you know what other drugs work on treatment-resistant depression? none of them.

it might come as a shock to find out that the go-to treatment for depression that just won't quit is still electroshock therapy [or electroconvulsive therapy as it's now known]. as barbaric as the practice is perceived to be [patients are now sedated while it is performed, so there's no "one flew over the cuckoo's nest" sort of scene], there is a lot of evidence that it's more effective than any other treatment for severe depression. the problem is that the effect doesn't tend to last that long- about half of treated patients remit within six months- and there is a significant controversy within the scientific community as to whether or not it's safe to keep zapping someone's brain twice a year for the rest of their life. [controversy doesn't mean it's necessarily dangerous, just that there's no consensus. electroconvulsive therapy is safe enough that it is sometimes recommended for women during pregnancy, whereas antidepressant drugs are supposed to be discontinued prior to even becoming pregnant, if possible.]

the promising aspect of ketamine treatment is that it does not have the nasty short-term effects of ect [memory loss and cognitive difficulties] and that it is effective in a much shorter time than other antidepressant drugs like ssri's. although there are studies that show that continued recreational use of ketamine is linked to health problems, that data is based on usage that is more frequent and at higher doses. the effects do not appear to be as long-lasting as they are with ect, but ketamine does seem to bring relief for up two a couple of months per treatment.

and this isn't the first time that a study has shown ketamine's positive effects in fighting depression. it isn't even the first time that i've written about it on the blog. this is just one piece of evidence that points to one

so it seems that ketamine may be taking its place alongside drugs like lsd and crystal meth as a drug whose medicinal value has been grossly underestimated.

[ahem. i am aware that it is tuesday. i got wrapped up watching the provincial election results last night and didn't get around to posting this. but i do know it is tuesday, in case you were wondering.]

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

fun-raising

no, i am not dead, nor have i been lying incapacitated in a ditch somewhere. i've mostly been preparing for our imminent, epic move, which is actually not so terribly epic, because we found a place quite close to where we are now. in addition, i've been the beneficiary of an inordinately large amount of paying work, which does, sadly, take precedence over blogging, even though you know i'd always rather be with you.

indeed, with moving expenses and medical expenses looming on the horizon, more than can be accounted for even with the deepest cuts in the lipstick budget, dom and i recently did something that we've not done before: we asked for help. last week, we launched a fundraising campaign on go fund me. it can be difficult to admit that you need a helping hand, but what's been overwhelming for both of us is how quick to respond so many people we know have been once we asked. it's also shocking to see how quickly things added up.

most of all, though, the ex…

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …