I underwent my second ketamine infusion on Monday and listened to 90s alt rock. That…was different. I have discovered that recreational drugs would not be a thing for me. Thank goodness this is all under a controlled environment and I’m being monitored by a nurse and a doctor.
On Tuesday, I ended up being grumpy and irritable again. I can’t say for certain whether I was irritable due to the treatment or my kids just being assholes. I suspect it was a combination of both. Regardless, I felt okay on Wednesday.
I underwent my third infusion Wednesday afternoon and I feel okay still. It’s Wednesday evening and my brain is firing on all cylinders, I’m not sleepy, but I am very “out of it.” I don’t feel “all here.” I know sleep will help rectify it but it will be interesting to discover whether I am irritable again tomorrow (a snowstorm that will keep my kid home is likely to do it) or if my mood is somewhat better. My mood rating according to my rating scale is a 7. My guess is that my doctor would like me to shoot for a 9 by my last infusion (happy) but I’m content to just be “okay.” I’m always “here.” I’m never doing great or feeling fantastic unless I’m manic. Is it possible to get the euphoria of mania without the downside of the crash? It would be nice to know. Although I do have more energy and motivation for things than I did before the infusions.
Most importantly, my baseline is whether I’m dealing with suicidal thoughts. I did suffer from a little depression 2 days after my first infusion but since then, I’ve been okay. Before my first infusion, I took the PHQ-9, and I scored a 17. Today, before my third infusion, I scored a 6. I’m not sure what the hell happened but I’ll take it.
I think my pain points will be trouble falling asleep and staying asleep and overeating. I’ve been having difficulty concentrating lately so that might also be a factor that may keep my PHQ-9 from dropping much more. And I’m also super restless. Like I have too much energy that I need to burn off. I’ll use my son’s words: “fizzy feet.”
I’m undergoing a series of ketamine infusions for treatment-resistant depression. It’s a series of 6 sessions over the course of several weeks. 1-2 sessions per week.
I had my first infusion on Wednesday for an hour and it was certainly trippy. I listened to soft rock in a completely new way.
I was kind of hoping that effects would begin to take place soon after the infusion. Relief can start to take place within an hour of the first treatment. While I was not depressed or suicidal, I was not happy. In fact, I was irritable. Angry. My doctor and I are on guard to ensure that the ketamine doesn’t trigger mania since I actually have bipolar disorder and not unipolar depression. At this point, I feel like mania would be an improvement.
I’m already pessimistic about the treatment even though my doctor says it can take 3-5 infusions for relief to kick in. My next infusion is Monday. Well, there’s one thing: If I ever wondered whether I’d like doing drugs recreationally, I’ve gotten my answer by getting it legally. (That’d be a no.)
Ebselen, an experimental bipolar disorder drug, has been found by British researchers to work like lithium but without lithium’s side effects. In mice. In testing, mice that were somehow made manic with “small doses of amphetamine” were placated with ebselen. Researchers are now moving on to testing on healthy human volunteers before studying those suffering with bipolar disorder.
A study, published in JAMA Neurology, discovered that retired NFL players were more likely to suffer from depression and brain impairment. The study comes on the heels of the suicides of Dave Duerson, Ray Easterling, and Junior Seau. Researchers suspect a link between “hard hits to the head and depression.” These problems have also been noted in NHL players and combat soldiers who have suffered a brain injury. Many of the retired NFL players developed a type of brain damage called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Duerson and Easterling were found to have CTE during autopsy. In related sports news, the UK’s Telegraph reports that depression is a problem for soccer players in England and Scotland.
According to Time magazine, ketamine—a drug that induces hallucinations and other trippy effects—may hold potential as an antidepressant.
And now scientists report on two formulations of drugs with ketamine’s benefits, but without its consciousness-altering risks, that could advance the drug even further toward a possible treatment for depression.
Ketamine is seen as a fast-acting antidepressant for those at high risk for suicide. GLYX-13, mentioned here previously
, is a ketamine-like antidepressant currently in clinical trials. AstraZeneca has AZD6765, a “ketamine mimic” that does not appear to be as effective as actual ketamine.
New research has discovered that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of domestic violence. Even though the study evaluated men and women, the results for women were overwhelmingly striking.
It finds that women with symptoms of depression were 2.5 times more likely to have experienced domestic violence over their lifetimes than those in the general population, while those with anxiety disorders were more than 3.5 times more likely to have suffered domestic abuse. The extra risk grew to seven times more likely among those with post-traumatic stress disorder.
An analysis of more than 1 million Scandinavian women has shown that taking SSRIs during pregnancy may not increase the risk of stillbirth. This study could help revolutionize treating depression in pregnant women.
“From our study, we don’t find any reason to stop taking your medication, because untreated depression may be harmful for the pregnancy and the baby,” [Dr. Olof Stephansson, the lead author of the new report] told Reuters Health.
Finally, “gender identity disorder” has been removed from the DSM-V and has been replaced by “gender dysphoria,” a condition in which people are concerned about their gender identity. “Gender identity disorder” seemed to stigmatize gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals. The continuing inclusion of “gender dysphoria,” however, ensures that people suffering with gender identity disorder still have access to health care treatment. (In my opinion, the renaming of “gender identity disorder” to “gender dysphoria” is really a politically correct change. Homosexuality was removed from the DSM back in 1973.)
According to the NIH, mothers can ward off postpartum depression by taking a prenatal vitamin to boost low iron levels. Mothers with iron deficiency were twice as likely to be at risk for PPD. Also, in case you didn’t know, counseling can help or stave off PPD as well.
Another NIH study has suggested that people who don’t respond to antidepressants could be aided by an injection of ketamine. Ketamine is primarily used for anesthesia. According to researchers, a dose of ketamine helped improve more than half of the participants’ mood in 2 hours (all 7 of them) while 71 percent felt better after 24 hours (all 13 of them). Supposedly, the effects lasted for a week for a third of the participants (all 4 of them). That’s very nice and all, but I’m looking forward to the follow-up study that analyzes ketamine’s long-term effects and safety.
A departure from news — are you bipolar? Take this quiz to figure it out! (P.S. Don’t take the quiz seriously.)
Dawdy over at Furious Seasons writes about a recent study that ties smoking with a “heightened risk of suicide in patients with bipolar disorder.” And an excerpt of his conversation with a DEA agent at the end of his post is awesome.
I’m also behind on reading many of the blogs on my blogroll so I’m doing my best to catch up – sorry for the delay…