Ketamine therapy is shaping up to be one of the best legally available treatments to relieve a wide range of mental health issues such as PTSD, addiction, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Ketamine’s origin story begins in the 1960s, where it was first synthesized as an anaesthetic for animals. A decade later, the FDA approved the drug as a method of anesthesia for people. Ever since, it has been used for a multitude of different purposes. Ketamine has proven its usefulness during the Vietnam War, where it was used to treat wounded soldiers. Skipping forward by another decade, the drug finds its popularity in clubs, but under another name: Special K.

Today, ketamine has a newfound purpose in clinics all around North America: treating patients suffering from a variety of mental illnesses ranging from depression, to anxiety, to obsessive disorder, addiction and PTSD. Yet, this multi-purpose drug is not yet approved as a treatment for any of the aforementioned diseases of the mind. However, it’s more expensive cousin, esketamine, has in fact obtained this approval.

In early 2019, Spravato, Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ ketamine-derivative “esketamine”, was approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration ( FDA) to treat treatment-resistant depression (TRD), becoming the first alternative treatment for depression that is not an antidepressant. Later the same year, Spravato achieved a second approval, which allowed it to be prescribed to patients suffering from acute suicidal ideation.

In 2021, a systematic review of 83 published research papers, led by the University of Exeter and funded by the United Kingdom’s Medical Research Council, found ketamine therapy rapidly reduced symptoms of depression one to four hours after a single treatment, and the effect lasted up to two weeks.

Additionally, suicidal thoughts in patients reduced moderately to largely as early as four hours after treatment, and lasted on average between three and seven days.

Dr. Zinia Thomas at Radiance Wellness, St. Louis MO is a psychiatrist whose interest in utilizing the power of psychedelics to promote mental wellness and recovery in her patients with treatment-resistant depression and substance use disorder was peaked long before she began to utilize IV Ketamine as a therapeutic in her own clinic.

In this segment of Spotlight in Focus, Dr. Thomas shares her holistic approach and examples of what’s gotten amazing results for her patients.

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