Several different medications are available whenever experiencing any chronic condition. While others only reduce symptoms, some promise to cure the problem. The medication ketamine is proving to be quite effective in treating numerous chronic illnesses. It is a common anesthetic medication. However, the physiological effects of it are extensive, and some of these effects are being researched for use in treating various medical conditions. 

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What is Ketamine?

It is a rapidly acting cyclohexanone derivative that causes significant anesthesia and analgesia. Its molecular formula is C13H16ClNO, its structural formula is CHClNO, and its chemical name is 2-(o-chlorophenyl)-2(methylamino)cyclohexane-1-one.

N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and glutamate receptors are both antagonistic to ketamine in a non-competitive manner and block HCN1 receptors

When administered during surgery, ketamine helps relax mentally and lessens the discomfort of several procedures. Furthermore, the advantages of it have gone beyond the limits of surgery. They have successfully treated various illnesses, including PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Chronic pain, Bipolar disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

An additional benefit of ketamine is that it acts rapidly and stays active long after the body has absorbed it.

The following article will shed light on what ketamine is, its side effects, its relation to anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, and the importance of taking a psychiatrist’s advice.

Effects: What is Ketamine’s impact on the mind

Ketamine effectively rewrites the brain regions generating distress by promoting the growth and renewal of neurotransmitters in the brain. It targets glutamate, the most prevalent excitatory chemical messenger in the brain, While the bulk of antidepressants targets one of the “monoamine” neurotransmitters, like serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine. Glutamate stimulates and strengthens synaptic connections by controlling the brain’s capacity to process cognitive processes, emotions, and neuroplasticity. It also significantly impacts how someone learns, remembers, and reacts to situations.

What is its effect on the body?

The body might feel the effects of ketamine right away. Depending on the dosage of the medicine taken, the range of the impact seen might be unpredictable and may differ in intensity.

Although the first effects can endure for several hours, others say they can last for days.

These effects may occur at relatively low doses and include:

  1. A daydream-like state and euphoria.
  2. Uncertainty, disorientation, or a decline in motor coordination.
  3. Nausea, vomiting, or vertigo
  4. Increased heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure, or body temperature.
  5. Sensory perceptions that have changed, such as hearing or seeing hallucinations.
  6. Feeling cut off from oneself, one’s environment, or one’s surroundings.

The person might become immobile and enter a “k-hole” if you consume too much ketamine. This state can be frightening since it feels like the body and mind have split apart, and we can not do anything about it.

Ketamine combines with other substances, including MDMA, amphetamine, methamphetamine, or cocaine. Combining it with other substances has the potential to be even more hazardous. For instance, combining ketamine and other CNS (central nervous system) depressants might cause fatal respiratory depression.

What are ketamine’s overdose effects?

Numerous unsettling side effects of ketamine overdose might affect mental and physical health. Recognizing the potential side effects of using this substance is essential, as recent studies have shown a global rise in its overuse. A survey about ketamine toxicity, published recently by VJ Orhurhu et al., stated that depending on whether its ingestion occurred in an illegal or iatrogenic setting, its toxicity can result in various neurological, cardiovascular, mental, urogenital, and gastrointestinal symptoms that vary dose-dependently.

Its overdose warning signs and symptoms may include:

  1. sedation or a loss of consciousness.
  2. breathing depression
  3. Apnea (times when you completely stop breathing)
  4. Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  5. Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
  6. Coronary arrest
  7. Ulcerative cystitis
  8. Addiction
  9. Seizures
  10. Coma

If ketamine is the single substance used, its overdose deaths are uncommon. Nevertheless, because both drugs affect breathing and heartbeat, combining this substance and alcohol may increase the risk of lethal poisoning. Severe neurotoxicity is also connected to the use of alcohol and ketamine together.

Ketamine for depression

Most clinical investigations acknowledge the importance of medication modulation via NMDA receptors. Ketamine is a non-competitive voltage-dependent NMDA-receptor channel blocker with an antidepressant effect at low dosages, resembles a psychotomimetic impact at higher levels, and finally induces anesthesia.

Ketamine works quickly to treat depression symptoms, and its effects last up to a week, which raises the possibility that it plays a part in neuroplasticity. Numerous investigations found that depression symptoms disappeared one week after the infusion. In individuals with unipolar and bipolar depression, a recent meta-analysis showed antidepressant efficacy as early as day 1.

In addition to reducing depressive symptoms, the neuropsychiatric effect of subanesthetic doses of ketamine aids in the management of suicidal ideation and lowers self-harm or suicide. One-time intravenous (i.v.) ketamine has been found in open-label studies to relieve treatment-resistant depression quickly. The quickest substantial antidepressant response was shown within 2 hours, and the slowest within 4 hours. Another trial conducted in India on 27 patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) found a temporary improvement in depressive and suicidal thoughts. Low-dose of ketamine and S-ketamine did not associate with any notable adverse physical effects in antidepressant trials.

Ketamine for anxiety

Ketamine functions as an “ionotropic glutamatergic N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist” because glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter, is a component of it. The antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects of the drug, according to Psychiatry Advisor, “are presumed to occur through activating synaptic plasticity by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor translation and secretion, as well as by inhibiting glycogen synthase kinase-3 and activating mammalian target of rapamycin signaling.” In other words, ketamine can rewire the brain to rectify thought patterns and give the user stronger mental connections.

Ketamine intake led to significantly reduced anxiety symptoms in one study with 11 depressed participants (mean HAM-A score pretreatment 23.46.5; mean HAM-A score after 230 min 14.37.8; t(9)=3.39, p0.01, Effect Size=1.4) (Salvadore et al., 2009). The 21-item HAM-psychic D’s anxiety item considerably improved after ketamine infusion (relative to saline) and was one of only four items to do so, supporting the anxiolytic benefits of it in placebo-controlled studies (Zarate et al., 2006).

Ketamine for Chronic pain

The use of ketamine in the perioperative context has been extensively studied in the literature. To enhance postoperative pain relief and lessen the need for opioids, IV racemic, or S(+) ketamine, is frequently used as adjuvant therapy. In this situation, we apply a ketamine epidural. Also, We use it occasionally to try to stop persistent postoperative pain.

Ketamine inhibits the NMDAR, which is likely how it generates substantial analgesia in neuropathic pain conditions. The afferent transmission of nociceptive signals is mediated by the excitatory glutamatergic receptor known as the NMDAR, which is found in the spinal cord and supraspinal regions. Long-term nociceptive stimulation in chronic pain states activates and upregulates the NMDAR at dorsal horn synapses, which enhances and amplifies the trafficking of pain signals to the brain (central sensitization). This phenomenon plays a significant role in enduring pain and eventually chronicling it. There is plenty of proof that NMDAR antagonists, which inhibit the NMDAR and include drugs like ketamine, might reduce the brain’s overwhelming inflow of nociceptive information. As a result, they may be an effective alternative to currently used medications for chronic pain disorders. 

Ketamine interacts with various receptor systems in addition to the NMDAR, such as the opioidergic, muscarinic, and monoaminergic receptors. People do not precisely understand how these receptor systems contribute to their diverse effects of it. A function for the -opioid receptor in ketamine-induced acute analgesia showed by studies in mice missing the -opioid receptor. However, inhibition of presynaptic spinal dorsal horn neurons can also result in the relief of acute pain. Increased excitatory chemical releases, such as glutamate and substance P, are brought on by the activation of NMDAR at these presynaptic locations.


Importance of taking it with the psychotherapists advise

A meeting with a psychiatrist is the initial stage of ketamine treatment. They will explain the dosage, mode of administration, and effects of it on the body.

While most people either do not have side effects or experience mild ones, others may develop other harmful effects. Unhappiness, lightheadedness, tiredness, and confusion are known adverse effects. Most of the time, these side effects are minor and go away throughout the infusion therapy session. Additionally, specific individuals do not qualify for ketamine infusion therapy to prevent potentially harmful responses. Here comes the role of a psychotherapist’s advice comes in.

So let us talk! If interested, schedule an appointment with our psychiatrists for professional medical advice.

Why use ketamine?

The most significant benefit of it may be a relief from the adverse side effects of narcotic and opioid drugs, including weight gain, libido loss, dizziness, addiction, impairment, and more. Moreover, ketamine works faster than conventional oral antidepressants to correct the imbalances that cause depression and other mood disorders. Furthermore, it can treat chronic diseases that have not responded to medicine or other treatments. 

In addition to its many medicinal advantages, this medicine is a quick, convenient, creative, and cost-effective way to relieve various disorders and illnesses that individuals deal with daily.