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Doctors Say 'Club Drug' Ketamine Rescues Suicidal Patients

CNN’s Sanjay Gupta reports that Ketamine can potentially treat major depression and patients with thoughts of suicide effectively and immediately. He refers to Ketamine as “the SAVE SHOT”

Calls to the national suicide hotline has doubled in the last year.  The reasons are not clear, but attention to individuals in need of help has appropriately gotten more attention of late.  Individuals consider suicide for many reasons.  These can include severe anxiety, major depressive disorder, or post traumatic stress syndrome.  These conditions are not only extremely hard to treat, but even if they are treatable, the treatments take a long time to work.  For example, most antidepressants take weeks to work if they are going to work at all.  

Attention to suicide has increased even more recently after both Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade took their own lives in 2018.  Both celebrities had suffered from depression for years.  After the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade this year, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta produced a video segment on a new potential treatment for patients with severe depression called Ketamine Infusion Therapy.  Ketamine treatment for major depression may be revolutionary in both its effectiveness as well as the speed in which it seems to work.  Unlike traditional treatments such as antidepressant medications like prozac, wellbutrin, or zoloft, or talk therapy, or lifestyle changes which may take weeks to work if at all, Ketamine seems to be effective almost immediately in 70 percent of patients that have been tested.  

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Calls to the national suicide hotline has doubled in the last year.

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What is “the save shot”?

The speed and efficacy of the drug have given Ketamine, the nickname… “the save shot” because it has the potential to save a person’s life if they are indeed in crisis.  Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s news segment highlights a patient named Allen Fergusen, a man with both major depressive disorder and post traumatic stress syndrome – or PTSD.  He had suffered from the condition for over 30 years and had been treated with all the traditional methods for severe depression.  In the segment, he reports that he seriously considered suicide before his psychiatrist suggested Ketamine.

For Allen Fergusen, his depression reportedly went from severe to mild after just one treatment.  After his second treatment a few days later, his depression all but disappeared.  He states that after starting treatments with Ketamine, he has not had a single thought about committing suicide;  in his words, he has had not even one thought of suicide. 

Dr. Jay Kugler, who recently started the first Ketamine infusion clinic in Loudoun County, Virginia with his partners Drs. Marwan Jaber, Pranav Virmani, and Phillip Chang, state there is no doubt that Ketamine seems to be effective in the majority of patients.  They caution that not all patients show improvement but the patients that see a benefit often state that “they have just gotten their lives back”.  

How does Ketamine work?

Researchers aren’t exactly sure how Ketamine infusions works, however it has been shown to help regenerate synaptic connections between brain cells that are damaged by stress, after even a single administration.  It is believed that at lower doses, Ketamine acts as a neurotransmitter antagonist in the brain.  Interestingly it appears to target an area of the brain that has been the focus of treatment for depression, anxiety, PTSD and chronic pain conditions.  

Reach out if you are having suicidal thoughts

If you are having suicidal thoughts, reach out to a loved  one or give us a call at Virginia Infusion Therapies. Our direct number is (571)577-9048 and website is virginiainfusiontherapies.com.   If you are having active thoughts of suicide, call 911 immediately.  

Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN reports that Ketamine can help patients with suicidal thoughts

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