'Special K' May Ward Off Depression, Bipolar Disorder

First Posted: Apr 10, 2015 09:00 PM EDT

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire believe that the illegal substance sometimes referred to as "Special K" may hold the power to fight off depression.

Researchers reviewed data from 21 published studies and found that Ketamine significantly reduced depressive symptoms within four hours of administration. These findings were particularly important as no current drug held the same immediate impact in treating people who were suicidal.

"The prospect of using Ketamine as an antidepressant is a fascinating one, particularly in terms of its potential for rapidly alleviating depressive symptoms in individuals who haven't responded to more traditional treatments. While conventional antidepressants and psychotherapy may take weeks or months to produce any effect, Ketamine infusions produce benefits within hours," lead researcher Dr. Keith Laws, Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychology in the School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire, said in a news release. "More controlled longer-term follow-up studies are needed before Ketamine can be regarded as a viable intervention for depression, but this research suggests it has exciting potential."

As previous studies have examined how certain psychedelics could potentially aid severe mental health problems, some have even suggested that MDMA, psilocybin and other related substances in controlled clinical settings under close medical supervision could be used to treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cases of bipolar disorder, etc.

Of course, further studies will be needed to see just how these might potentially help out.

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the journal Human Psychopharmacology.

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