Bad-Boy Club Drug Could Be the Answer to Depression

drugs istockWow, I never thought I'd see the day: Special K is about to get a makeover! Remember the drug's sleazy clubbing days in the '90s? The highly-addictive drug, called ketamine, started off as a humble animal tranquilizer but worked its ways into the hottest night spots, sending users into an ecstasy that made time stand still -- or, more accurately, into a "dissociative anesthesia" that could lead to a psychotic breakdown.

But here's the latest twist in ketamine's history: It could revolutionize the way depression is treated. I'm not talking your garden-variety blues. This is for real, serious, deep, clinical depression. How could something so toxic for club kids be so helpful for people who are ill?


Well, I guess kind of in the same way other prescription medications can be toxic to healthy people but helpful to sick people. It would be self-destructive and harmful to take any psychotropic drugs if you're not suffering from a mental illness. That's why they call it drug abuse.

You can read all about how dangerous K is for most of us in this Gawker post. Yeech, I get heart palpitations just reading that. Okay, okay, I get it! No K for me! Or you, or you, or you.

But researchers are experimenting with ketamine at the NeuroPsychiatric Center next to Ben Taub hospital in Houston, Texas, and they're optimistic about how it could change the way depression is treated. Long story short, traditional anti-depressants take weeks to take effect. But ketamine kicks in almost immediately. Obviously such a potentially dangerous drug would require a lot of careful study before it becomes a commonly-prescribed drug. But it's worth investigating if it could save lives.

Had you heard of ketamine before? Do you think it's worth studying?


Image via Creativeye99/iStockPhoto

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