Over the last decade, Yale University and the national institutes of health identified additional benefits of Ketamine in the treatment of mood disorders and chronic pain. The use of Ketamine for depression has been named "the biggest discovery in mental health in decades."
Ketamine is an anesthetic medication that has been used since the 1960s with an excellent safety profile. In the last two decades this medication has been increasingly studied for its ability in alleviating symptoms related to depression, mood disorders, and chronic pain.
Ketamine is known as an NMDA receptor antagonist. Researchers are still searching for exactly how the drug can affect mood so rapidly and effectively, but what we do know is that Ketamine works on glutamate, one of the most numerous neurotransmitters in the body. This increase in glutamate can cause a cascade effect of increased neural activity and communication in the brain. The areas of the brain which have shutdown due to over anxiety and depression are suddenly awakened. Ketamine causes neuroplasticity, or new neural grown, a "rewiring" of the brain believed to plan a part in the lasting antidepressant effects.
There are other receptors that Ketamine is working on as well. These include GABA receptors, G-protein coupled receptors, and a small effect on cholinergic Mu receptors. Along with reversing neuronal atrophy, Ketamine also has an anti-inflammatory effect. Interestingly, the dissociative effects of Ketamine are believed to play a part in the healing process.