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Lately, Ketamine has circled news outlets, scientific reports, and scholarly journals for its revolutionary opportunities in helping mental health patients find new hope. Today, one of Ketamine’s most impressive uses is providing relief for treatment-resistant mental health struggles like depression, PTSD, bipolar, and more. Like most drugs, Ketamine’s potential for mental health struggles wasn’t immediately realized — in fact, Ketamine has had a long, fascinating journey over the past 100 years. Read below to find out more!

In 1962, American chemistry professor Calvin L. Stevens was studying alpha-hydroxyimine rearrangements at Wayne State University when he changed the medical world. Prof. Stevens synthesized Ketamine for the first time, marking the start of Ketamine’s long, colorful history. 

After its synthesis, Ketamine (then known as CI-581) was experimented on animals, where it showed promising medical potential. Because Ketamine’s preclinical trials were successful, scientists switched from testing animals to the controversial practice of human testing in 1964 on prisoners. While scientific testing on human prisoners still faces controversy, the ’64 testing yielded answers on how Ketamine could be harnessed. Ketamine’s brief action timeframe, reduction of behavioral toxicity, and anesthetic properties quickly proved Ketamine as the go-to dissociative anesthetic over phencyclidine.

In 1970, the FDA approved the use of Ketamine as an anesthetic agent for medical procedures and for diagnostic purposes. While medical and diagnostics are the only things the FDA explicitly approves, Ketamine is used for a wide-variety of reasons, most of which are beneifical, but not all of which are recommended. 

Ketamine In The Vietnam War

Combat Medic Tool of Choice in the Field

“In severely injured soldiers, like a double or even quadruple amputee, we use a large dose of ketamine to not only subdue the wounded and often distraught soldier in the field of fire, but to provide amnesia and pain relief. It also increases the soldier’s heart rate and blood pressure, which helps with blood loss. A ‘K-holed’ soldier is much easier to load and transfer away from danger.” – A Navy Seal medic who wishes to remain anonymous

After the FDA approved the use of Ketamine in 1970, Americans used the drug during the Vietnam war to treat deeply wounded soldiers. Intense injuries such as amputees, gashes, shock wounds, and others were very common on the battlefield. While treatable,  medical help for these injuries is incredibly painful (both physically and mentally). In addition to the patient’s pain, doctors must work quickly on frightened, dying soldiers. The introduction of Ketamine offered incredible help to the medical battlefield.

Not only is Ketamine easy to administer, but the affects provide help in blood loss, shock, and pain relief. Since Ketamine acts as a quick anesthetic and analgesic, the medical process was improved and soldiers received better pain relief and recovery. Because of Ketamine’s ease, efficiency, and incredible pain relief, America, and the rest of the world, saw Ketamine’s power firsthand.

Ketamine Abuse & Law Enforcement

While Ketamine has revolutionary medical properties, many in the 70s were quick to discover that Ketamine can be used recreationally too. Ketamine abuse quickly spiraled into the United States, starting at the West Coast and spreading. It became a popular rave and dance drug because of its anesthetic, hallucinatory, paranoia, and trace-like inducements. Ketamine gained the street names of “special K”, “super acid,” “cat valium”, and “vitamin K”. 

Like most drugs, without a doctor’s diagnosis and guidance, Ketamine is incredibly dangerous. It’s often fatal when mixed with other drugs, and overdose is common for those who aren’t educated on Ketamine usage. When not fatal, Ketamine abuse can cause a slew of problems from liver failure, urinary tract problems, and mental challenges. To learn more about the criminal side of Ketamine abuse, click here.

In recent decades, Ketamine has become a drug used at crime scenes to help police officers subdue violent, resisting, or high criminals. Because of its fast-acting and short-lived anesthetic properties, it can de-escalate subjects long enough for officers to them. However, this practice is highly controversial, since police officers are not given Ketamine training. There are multiple cases of officers accidentally overdosing subjects, killing them at the scene. Without proper training and identification, many say that officers are killing more people than subduing them by administering Ketamine. Currently, many stations are deciding whether they will rid of the practice.

Ketamine Use In Hospitals

Fortunately, Ketamine’s benefits are far more optimistic than its criminality. Currently, Ketamine is a Class III scheduled drug used in hospitals and medical settings for anesthetic purposes. Pets and other animals receive Ketamine for anesthesia when they are treated, spayed, or neutered. In fact, Ketamine is the most common veterinary drug administered. (To read more about Ketamine and veterinary practices, click here). For humans, Ketamine induces anesthesia during, before, and after surgery. It is one of the safest anesthetics, since it does not reduce heart rate, breathing rate, or blood pressure as many other anesthetics do. It is also commonly used an an analgesic to relieve pain. 

In hospital settings, Ketamine is commonly used during these procedures: 

  • Eye, ear, nose, and throat procedures. 
  • Orthopedic procedures. 
  • Amputee relief. 
  • Dental extractions, such as wisdom teeth removal. 
  • Skin grafts. 
  • Cardiac catheterization.
  • Help patients with seizures.
  • General pain relief.

These are only a few examples of how Ketamine is used daily in hospitals around the world. Since it does not need refrigeration, special preparation, oxygen, electricity, or an expert to administer, it is revolutionary help in 3rd world countries.

Ketamine is one of the most reliable, beneficial, and widely-used drugs in hospitals and medical offices. Ketamine is absolutely critical to modern day healthcare. In fact, most doctors claim that they cannot imagine how today’s medical world would look like without Ketamine.

Ketamine For Mental Health

Scientists and doctors are continually learning about Ketamine’s many benefits and properties. In 2014, Ketamine infusions were discovered to provide significant relief to patients who suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). In recent years, Ketamine infusions have been used to treat medically-resistant depression, improve anxiety, and greatly reduce suicidal thoughts. By interacting with brain receptors, Ketamine infusions may provide a new avenue for patients who suffer with intense mental health struggles. 

Today, Ketamine’s incredible benefits for mental health patients are making headlines. Ketamine infusions may help treat depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, and alcoholism. While this form of Ketamine use is rather new and not FDA approved yet, many studies have reported Ketamine’s successes and many patients report finding new hope in Ketamine infusions. 

To learn more about Ketamine infusions and whether they can help you, contact us! We would love to help you find new hope with this revolutionary and amazing treatment.

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Phone consultations only take about 15 minutes with a doctor from Virginia Infusion Therapies. Learn more about how ketamine solves for 70% of depression patients and can solve for you.