Articles about Depression by Lori Calabrese, MD | The Ketamine Blog

The World Health Organization asserts that depression causes more disability worldwide than any other illness. In addition to standing alone as a disabling disorder, it also worsens other illnesses from diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, and brain injuries. We present these articles about depression to show the many ways this disorder is expressed, ways to treat it, and to dispel stigma caused by lack of information.


Depression and stress create a self-defeating cycle. Prolonged stress prunes the synapses, the dendrites attached to them, and the dendritic spines, reducing the network necessary for optimal signaling in the brain. Consequently, thinking slows and outlook darkens. In addition, creativity all but disappears. Depression follows this process, imposing yet more stress on the these all-important signaling structures.

Other structures in the brain enter the process. These structures in turn malfunction and make the symptoms worse. The lateral habenula, the amygdala, the thalamus, and the hippocampus each play a role in depression. By the same token, depression impacts them, too.


Only about a third of people who suffer with depression find relief with traditional antidepressants. These medicines increase neurotransmitters in the brain and eventually increase neuron growth. But the actions of these medicines delay the process and these patients improve slowly. Sometimes, if the first trial with a medication doesn’t help, a different one or combination can help another one third or so of those who didn’t feel better after the first trial. Unfortunately, 33% of people suffering from depression find no relief from these medications. Until recently, they were left with little or no hope of relief for the rest of their lives.

Benefits of Ketamine Treatment

However, ketamine treatment is a novel and advanced treatment that has changed the prognosis for those treatment-resistant patients. Ketamine switches the mRNA to “On” which turns on the DNA to turboboost the brain-derived-neurotrophic-factor (BDNF) that proliferates neuronal growth along with synapses, dendrites, and dendritic spines which play such a vital role in improving signaling throughout the brain.

Another benefit of ketamine is how rapidly it causes the G proteins to slide off the lipid rafts in the cell membrane. This allows them to get back to work enhancing signals. It also causes the cell bursting in the lateral habenula to be dampened. Another process that allows you to experience a sense of reward – and feel better – when something good happens. Basically, ketamine treatment goes to work to help you feel better fast.

Then you enjoy clearer thinking and more creativity. Also a rewarding and upbeat outlook filled with light and joy. Add to that the improved initiative, increased motivation, and hope that makes life worth living again. This remarkable outcome occurs in 65-70% of treatment-resistant patients in general, and much more than that when the treatment is highly personalized. And the results are rapid and robust. Extraordinary.

As you read these articles about depression, keep in mind that there is always hope. Researchers continue to work to find more aspects ketamine’s effects on the brain that can impact the outcome.

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