Ketamine eases depression and suicidal thoughts according to Exeter University study

The study led by University of Exeter shows ketamine can soothe depression and bipolar disorder

The drug ketamine has been shown to improve mental health symptoms in the short term, according to a study by Exeter University.

In an analysis of 83 papers, the research concluded the Class B sedative can quickly ease depression and soothe suicidal thoughts.

The symptoms were shown in the research to have reduced within just one to four hours, and suicidal thoughts were relieved for an average of three days.

The lead author of the paper, Merve Mollaahmetoglu, said: "Our research is the most comprehensive review of the growing body of evidence on the therapeutic effects of ketamine to date.

"Our findings suggest that ketamine may be useful in providing rapid relief from depression and suicidal thoughts, creating a window of opportunity for further therapeutic interventions to be effective.

Ketamine is a Class B drug, often used as a sedative, and has recently been shown to curb symptoms of ill mental health Credit: Ketamine is used as a sedative and has recently been shown to curb symptoms of ill mental health

"It's important to note that this review examined ketamine administration in carefully controlled clinical settings where any risks of ketamine can be safely managed."

For other psychiatric disorders, including anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, there is early evidence to suggest the potential benefit of ketamine treatment.

For individuals with substance use disorders, ketamine treatment led to short-term reductions in craving, consumption, and withdrawal symptoms.

Senior author Professor Celia Morgan added: "We're finding that ketamine may have promising benefits for conditions that are notoriously hard to treat in clinic.

"We now need bigger and better-designed trials to test these benefits.

"For example, due to ketamine's unique subjective effects, participants may be able to tell whether they have been given ketamine or a saline solution as the placebo, potentially creating an expectation about the effects of the drug.

"This effect may be better controlled by having active placebo-controlled trials, where the control group receives another drug with psychoactive properties."

The study admits more clarity is needed over the optimal dose treatment and route of administration.

There is also a need for further research on the added and interactive benefit of psychotherapy alongside ketamine treatment.

Where to go to get support with your mental health

There are multiple charities, including Mind, who are here to help. Below is a list of a few websites along with phone numbers of different charities who you can talk to.

Mind: 0300 123 3393

Samaritans: 116 123

YoungMinds: 0808 802 5544

Calm: 0800 58 58 58