A Better Cure for Depression?
Ketamine analogs are getting a very close look
After nearly four decades of dispensing the same mediocre medications to patients with depression, pharmaceutical companies are jazzed about several new drug candidates inspired by the club drug ketamine. __ Source
Psychedelics — including ketamine — have been studied as a treatment for depression for many years.
The anaesthetic ketamine has been found useful in the treatment of resistant depression which does not respond well to conventional antidepressant treatments. But ketamine is given by injection and is often associated with distressing hallucinations, so drug companies are working on ketamine-analog drugs that do not induce hallucinations and that can be more easily administered by individuals at home.
Johnson & Johnson is pursuing esketamine, the chemical mirror image of the drug, in a nasal spray formula.
… Allergan’s new oral pill depression drug candidate is known only as AGN-241751.
… In the past, the drugmaker [Allergan] has worked on medications designed to treat migraines, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s; depression is the latest arm of that research focus.
Nicholson also believes that the interest he’s seeing in ketamine-inspired drugs could be the breakthrough needed to stir-up renewed interest among drugmakers in the neuroscience field… __ http://www.businessinsider.com/depression-medication-treatment-ketamine-like-drugs-2018-5
The Broader Field of Psychedelic Therapy
In contrast to conventional psychiatric medication which is taken by the patient regularly or as-needed, in psychedelic therapy, patients remain in an extended psychotherapy session during the acute activity of the drug and spend the night at the facility. In the sessions with the drug, therapists are nondirective and support the patient in exploring their inner experience. Patients participate in psychotherapy before the drug psychotherapy sessions to prepare them and after the drug psychotherapy to help them integrate their experiences with the drug.
According to one Canadian study conducted in the early years of the 1960s, the greatest interest to the psychiatrist was the fact that LSD allowed for the “illusional perception (‘reperception’) of the patient’s original family figures (e.g. father, mother, parent surrogates and helpers, older siblings, grandparents and the like)”, typically experienced as distortions of the psychiatrist’s face, body or activity. In technical terms, this was called “perceptualizing the transference”. __ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychedelic_therapy
Use of broad spectrum psychedelics — such as psilocybin, LSD, and mescaline — is a more profound approach to psychotherapy than the use of ketamine or ketamine analogs for depression. It is also more dangerous, and requires a higher level of caution and care by therapists before, during, and after the therapy itself. In my opinion such therapy is most useful for people with terminal cancer, or others who are experiencing existential crises of various types.
The main benefits from psychedelic therapy are the various insights into new ways of viewing the person’s reality. Such insights can be liberating from many of the painful mental limitations and endless loops of psychic torture that persons in existential crisis commonly experience.
Ultimately, it may be necessary to give psychedelic therapies to the government officials who are in charge of drug policy, in order for them to achieve the insights they need to administer their responsibilities more wisely. 😉