Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute did a study
where they looked at 80 patients with clinical depression. All patients had suicidal thoughts that fell
under the category of clinical suicidal ideation. Random participants were chosen to receive a low
dose of ketamine or midazolam.
They followed the participants for six weeks while the participants received their usual psychiatric care.
The patients filled out questionnaires to measure their depressive symptoms. The patients who received
ketamine showed significant changes in symptoms compared to those receiving midazolam. The participants
who didn’t react to the midazolam were given ketamine and showed improvements. These changes were so
successful that they lasted up to six weeks. The side effects like dissociation, detachment, and increased blood
pressure got better within minutes after the ketamine injection.
“There is a critical window in which depressed patients who are suicidal need rapid relief to prevent self-harm,”
said study author Michael Grunebaum in a statement. “Currently available antidepressants can be effective in reducing
suicidal thoughts in patients with depression, but they can take weeks to have an effect. Suicidal, depressed patients
need treatments that are rapidly effective in reducing suicidal thoughts when they are at highest risk.”
There still is a lot of research to be done to see how ketamine helps with suicidal thoughts.
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