Happy New Year!! The big silver ball falls tonight to celebrate the birth of 2019.
Let’s celebrate the unprecedented, transforming, and ever-accelerating advances in psychiatric treatment this year and the neuroscience that backs it up.
Celebrate is the word. Because we’re so grateful to the courageous researchers around the beginning of the 21st century who dared to test new ideas and compounds to treat psychiatric disorders.
This testing, and subsequent investigation, snowballed into a field of life-changing breakthroughs and developments like ketamine treatment, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and other “outside the box” novel treatments.
We’ve watched TMS press forward from an almost incredulous idea to its more prestigious position as a very effective non-drug treatment for patients with major depression and OCD who have not responded to traditional treatments.
True advancement risks misunderstanding, distrust, and adjustment before it’s accepted, and the breakthroughs in psychiatry are no different. There have been skeptics and naysayers, and those who prefer to “wait and see.” But tireless researchers press on.
Psychiatric Treatments Are Improving
Ketamine treatment has, in a relatively short time, emerged from being a who? kid on the block to a blockbuster this year. We know it as possibly the most rapid, robust, and effective treatment for patients with treatment-resistant depression and for depressed patients with suicidal thoughts.
The discovery of its hidden talents and the explosion of research publications testing at its effectiveness for PTSD, OCD, addictions, and anorexia (actually one of the first published studies on IV ketamine!) has inspired numerous investigations into other rapid-acting medicines by demonstrating its widespread and neuroplastic actions in the brain.
Across the fields of psychiatry and neuroscience, 2018 has been a very good year, with breakthrough research published all year long.
Let’s look at some of the 21st century discoveries that have been rising to new heights in 2018.
Outside The Box
Schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorder
In 2018, the ballooning mental health crisis drove researchers to find more biological causes for these illnesses, and more ways to treat them effectively.
For instance, researchers identified master keys (neat name!) in terms of genetic markers that identify complex disorders like schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
And after studying the genetic connections, they found that too much of a specific master key: MIR-137, can result in symptoms of schizophrenia … and too little of it can result in symptoms of ASD.
How’s that for a startling connection?
Just knowing this can potentially pave the way for development of treatments for these disorders — using MIR-137, for example.
Better Therapy for PTSD
Since treatment for PTSD has traditionally been burdensome for both therapist and patient, treatments are being sought that are effective but more practical. Research supported by NIMH produced a new psychotherapy approach, called written exposure therapy, or WET.
By writing about the specific traumatic event, patients were found to improve as much in only 5 sessions as they improved in 12 sessions with cognitive processing therapy, or CPT.
5 sessions are better than 12, wouldn’t you say? For patients tormented by severe PTSD symptoms, 5 sessions are far better than 12. Just ask them.
Better Suicide Prevention..?
Since there are 45,000 suicides in the U.S. every year, it’s essential to develop ways to predict and prevent suicide in individuals that don’t rely on that individual telling someone. Because, many of those who succeed in ending their lives never tell anyone, so it behooves us to find more effective ways of predicting … and preventing.
Researchers tackled electronic medical records and found that half of those who commit suicide and 2/3 of those who try but fail, have had a mental health evaluation in the last year.
Using these records, they leverage things like diagnosis, substance abuse, use of mental health emergency treatment and in-patient hospitalizations, self harm, and scores on Patient Health Evaluations, to predict those patients at risk for suicidal intent and death.
It’s not enough … but it’s just one more way to try to reach and help some people before it’s too late.
Social Media Surprise
We think of social media in the “fun” category, don’t we? Or do we? If you’re like me, you know more people than you want to admit who have sworn off social media. But why? Isn’t it all about the fun? …or is it?
The first study ever to examine the link between social media usage and mental health issues found that there’s an undeniable link between the amount of time you use social media and the intensity of the loneliness you feel.
Or, put another way, if you’re depressed to start with, the less time you spend on social media the less depressed and lonely you’ll feel.
These researchers only included Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat in the study.
Ketamine Treatment Continues to Demonstrate Its Prowess
There are so many more breakthroughs and advancements we could talk about that they would fill a book…and it’s just too much for one blog.
But it’s an exciting time in the world of mental health disorders as neuroscience researchers continue to delve into and investigate the causes, mechanisms, treatments, and prevention of these disorders.
Your hope for recovery… and remission… is more warranted than it’s ever been. You really can get better…even well.
During 2018, physicians and researchers have collaborated, exchanged, and built upon the information that’s accumulating to support the rapid and robust antidepressant treatment of more and more disorders.
We’re Learning about Doses
A study published in October 2018, led by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers, tested four ketamine infusion doses against each other to determine the more effective dose.
Their trial tested 0.1mg/kg, 0.2mg/kg, 0.5mg/kg, and 1.0mg/kg of ketamine in a single 40 minute infusion. The results showed that the two smallest doses weren’t very effective at all for depression, but the two largest were.
And that’s the range that we usually use at Innovative Psychiatry. It’s a very small dose…smaller than the dose typically used for anesthesia.
More study is needed, testing these two against some slightly higher doses. And also more testing with these two doses measuring the most effective dose against bipolar disorder, social anxiety, PTSD, OCD, general anxiety, panic attacks, addictions, and eating disorders.
The more we learn, the more we need to know!
And We’re Learning What Doses Halt Suicidal Thinking in Outpatients
I presented my work using ketamine infusions on an outpatient basis with suicidal patients, and reported how quickly it works to halt suicidal thinking, and the doses required in Oxford, England at the First International Conference on Ketamine and Related Compounds and again at KRIYA Conference 2018 in San Francisco.
Ketamine’s Impact on G Proteins Transforms Depression Treatment
Extensive work on ketamine’s antidepressant actions with G proteins shows these actions are independent of the NMDA receptors… and that it relieves depression faster than SSRIs can by quickly sliding the G proteins off the lipid rafts. Plus…and this is a big plus…it also lasts longer than the half life of ketamine itself because the Gs are much slower to return to the rafts.
A November 2018 study demonstrated that removal of G proteins from the lipid rafts was not only rapid…beginning within 15 minutes…but that returning to the lipid rafts was much slower after ketamine treatment than after SSRI’s.
All of this knowledge lights the path to more research as well as customizing personalized treatment for major depression … and soon, for other psychiatric disorders.
Advances in Psychiatry Treatment
Ketamine treatment is quickly becoming more sophisticated. The more we learn, the more effective your treatments will become.
Those naysayers who scoffed in the early years of ketamine development, who said ketamine will never see the light of day, have reason to rethink their stance now about this tide-turning treatment for those afflicted with disorders like major depression or anxiety.
The snowball is rolling down the hill and is quickly becoming gargantuan. It’s exciting to consider…at this rate… the wonders we’ll learn about ketamine and all the other new insights into psychiatric treatment this coming year in 2019.
It just keeps getting better. And more hopeful.
Restoration is Available for You
So before you look forward, take a quick look back. If you face your own daily battle with symptoms of mood disorders. If you have sought treatment for severe depression, bipolar depression, social anxiety, PTSD, OCD, substance use disorder, and even suicidal thinking… and if that treatment hasn’t relieved your symptoms, perhaps you should consider ketamine treatment.
We encourage you or your doctor to contact us and discuss this extraordinary treatment that’s taking psychiatry by storm.
Not for any other reason than the hope of getting you better and getting your life back. Reclaiming your joy, your relationships, your work satisfaction, and overall fulfillment in life.
We love collaborating with your healthcare team to help you reach the best health and wellbeing you possibly can.
Ketamine treatment won’t make you someone you’re not. But it can restore you to the very best version of yourself. A version you may not remember right now, but the one who’s buried inside you underneath the difficult symptoms that can seem to dominate everything.
Ketamine, like any other medicine, isn’t for everyone…but if you’ve suffered without relief from numerous other medicines, it may be just right for you. Ketamine struts its best stuff in those who are the most severely ill.
This treatment has nothing to do with the world of “getting high…” It just works in your brain in interesting ways to get a lot done fast. It works on your mRNA, your BDNF, your lateral habenula, in your synapses and signaling systems, and in your cell walls with the G proteins and lipid rafts. So much happens so fast. And day by day, the symptoms of disorders fade away.
Start your New Year 2019 on the path to wellbeing and feeling whole. Call us.
We’re eager to help you find the life you were meant to live without symptoms blocking the way.
To the restoration of your best self in 2019,