Depression is a leading mental health condition globally. The World Health Organization estimates 350 million people are affected by depression. Depression is more than the average case of sadness or even grief. Enduring symptoms of low emotional states can lead to health problems, substance abuse, and in extreme cases, suicide. 800,000 people die from suicide worldwide each year. Depression is a leading cause.
In some countries, WHO reports, less than 10% of those affected by Depression receive any treatment for it. Many cases of depression are treated with a combination of psychotherapy and pharmaceutical treatment. SSRIs and antidepressants are leading methods for pharmaceutical treatment of depression. However, each case of depression is incredibly unique. So far there is not one pill to cure all depression.
Depression could be seen as a worldwide public mental health epidemic. For the hundreds of millions suffering around the world there are only few treatment methods available. In response, the scientific community is dedicated to finding new and effective methods for treating depression- some of which might seem out of the box.
Recent years have seen claims for using psychoactive drugs to treat depression. MDMA, also known as ecstasy, is a club drug known for heightening sensations, creating a state of euphoria, and enhancing feelings of happiness as well as love. The FDA has hinted at a prescription grade MDMA to be available for public use in the near future, but developments have not been reported to have continued thus far. When psychedelic drugs were taking the world by storm in the 1960’s, doctors saw positive results in the use of psilocybin, also known as “magic mushrooms”. In controlled doses and under controlled conditions, doctors can use the “mind opening” drugs to help depressed patients experience the world in a different way.
Most recently, doctors are claiming that Ketamine might be an effective treatment for depression. Popular in asian countries, especially in the nightclub scene, ketamine is a dissociative drug. Falling into the “k-hole”, recreational users of the drugs experience a detachment from their physical and psychological selves. Ketamine has “basically revolutionized how we think about depression,” claims Christine Denny, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in an interview with Business Insider. Rather than using ketamine to directly treat depression, it is being used as a preventative treatment. States the article, “protecting against depression or potentially stopping other stress-related disorders in the first place is a whole new thing and could have profound, long-lasting effects.”
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