There has been a significant development in the treatment of resistant depression.
Things have basically come to a stand-still in the treatment of people with deep depression that is resistant to drugs. As of right now, there are three options: drugs, ECT or other intra-cranial electrical stimulation, or cognitive behavioral therapy (or other forms of therapy that are coming into more common use). Drugs have a low efficacy rate, leaving a huge portion of patients to other options. ECT is considered dangerous and a lot of people opt-out of the treatment. Therapy alone can do a lot but cannot handle the severe and dangerous highs and lows.
So what next?
The new rage is Ketamine. Yes, Special K, the party drug.
The American Psychological Association is nearing the regulation phase and should soon be offered as a treatment. Unlike most medications, an IV drip of Ketamine can near instantly remove suicidal ideation, perfect for emergency room applications.
But it can also be used as a long term therapy, with several IV drip sessions over several weeks. The drug is showing itself to be 75% effective (when most drugs have efficacy rates around 30%)
Given the street drug nature of Ketamine, it is right to worry about addiction. However, the dosage is so low, it has not shown to be addictive in any studies.
There is one major flaw, it is extremely quick acting! But it is also extremely short acting. A return to a previously depressed state can occur within days. So it is likely that it would be used to treat the most severe phases of depression and some other treatment would be used for the rest of the time, including traditional medication and therapy.
Personally, I am all for this, and if it ever comes into my field of view, I will not hesitate to try this treatment. I believe that traditional medications have run their course. ECT and other transcranial stimulations can be used for maintaining a stable mood while ketamine, or drugs like it, can be used in times of desperation.
The future of the treatment of this disease is mind-blowing and I could not be more optimistic.
If you want to read more, basically a better worded version of what I just wrote, read below: