Can Club Drug Ketamine Cure Depression?

Oh my name is Steven grizzy born and raised in New Jersey growing up I was chubby deaf kid and short shortest of the bunch my dad you know he wasn't around my mom was a single mom she had two or three jobs at some points and you know I couldn't hear a lot of the conversations growing up because I'm deaf so it kind of kept me on the outer skirts of social circles or whatever all that stuff it really affects you going out and you know keeping it in was probably my worst mistake I I wish now that I would have talked about any of the stuff I don't know why they eats you alive it's just you feel like there's no other option but to say this is it I can't take it no more I try to go into doctor they've tried to describe me some killers and it just wasn't doing anything so I just said forget it and now I'm doing enemy treatments millions of Americans suffer from depression and many of them don't respond to traditional treatments like antidepressants what was once known as an animal tranquilizer and even a party drug is now proving to be an effective treatment Steven grid C is 28 and he's been suffering from depression for most of his life hey what's up man good to see you thanks man thanks man in your head is there a phase of your life before ketamine treatment and a phase after I tried traditional doctor you know you know going on like a couple pills from my anxiety and stuff I didn't like it I just didn't like what it did and how it made me felt wow what did it do how did it make you just felt sick to my stomach all the time it was just like yeah no I'm not gonna do this and there's got to be some other way to do it a year ago what was an average day like for you dealing with depression it's normal for someone to be depressed but it's it's how deep that depression goes and and where that depression came from for me it's come from my childhood I mean you know who how do you tell your parents that you were raped you know me I'm 12 13 years old what am I gonna do shut down everything from that moment on we sucked away from me so yeah everyday everyday I wake up and something's wrong something's gonna go wrong this is gonna happen that you know every single day but the difference now is I don't let it overtake me I don't shut down anymore instead of me being suicidal or thinking of suicidal I have the strength to deal with it in some shape or form once I had the first three or four or five treatments that motivation to stay alive that motivation to move and do things to get things done came to life I'm here at the ketamine treatment center of Princeton New Jersey and this is where psychiatrist dr. Steven Levine has been treating patients since 2011 he typically sees 10 to 12 patients today and today Steven is going to be receiving a ketamine infusion what exactly is ketamine doing in your brain in your body so most of the focus has been on its effects on what's called the glutamate system ketamine can produce these proteins that repair connections help form new ones reroute around areas of damage it's a process called synaptic plasticity so that's one thing that ketamine does and that's part perhaps of of how it treats depression there's also the experience during ketamine and I think we generally devalue experiential treatments or how experiences change us and for some people that may be very important so how you doing doing good doing good little over do you know the last couple days definitely good to be back here and to get my infusion you know other thoughts on your mind right now or questions as far as looking forward I think the only concern is just how long you know well I do two treatments I think we're on 1415 though I think that is number fourteen fourteen today so I thought I was gonna be done in like five or eight you know so I guess I get fearful that you know if they decide that ketamine is destroying the world one day that your practices would go out then what do I do you know I mean because it's helped me so I obviously want to continue yes so I guess there's two domains with that right there's the course of your own treatment in the near term and more distant term and then there's what's going to be the ultimate fate of the use of ketamine for depression this type of use of ketamine for you and of course one of the things that we're trying to do over the near term is is to have you kind of feel like you're sailing on your own that this treatment is there for you as a backup if you need it right yeah ketamine like anything else isn't a magic bullet I never think of cutting right the answer right it's a tool right absolutely well not one tool works for everybody so exactly so Steven would you say that you actually enjoy undergoing the treatments not when you're getting stuck in it I do enjoy it it's like it's not frightening like I said it's it's pure solitude I'm able to analyze my thoughts I'm going to let go um yeah I do enjoy it you know I think that's why I keep coming back because the Riu believe that it does get me it's slowly seeping in farther and farther so I might start off my speech my speech might just be a little weird so I'll go let me know what you want me to leave you no no no you're cool you're cool you're cool what's your feeling now as compared to the first couple times you got Academy an infusion their first couple of treatments I had where yeah I'm not I don't think I won't be able to answer that yeah it's there yeah yeah I'm here guys all right cool I'll leave you to it then man and yeah I'll catch up with you after the treatment yeah okay cool face like there's a number of existing treatments for depression for chronic depression what are those exactly and how effective are they so most currently available treatments for depression if we're thinking about medications they're mostly based upon what's called the serotonin hypothesis of depression and the idea that you don't have enough serotonin you don't have enough of these feel-good hormones in the brain and if you replace them with medicines that increase those levels you feel better and they work moderately well but when I read the early papers on ketamine there would only been a few studies at that point back in 2010 when I read those studies they spun my head around because they were unique in some very important ways and the results were dramatic that made me wonder why are we using this we wanted to get an alternative opinion on the effectiveness of ketamine infusion treatments so we're here at Yale University to meet with dr. Santa Cora he's been working in psychiatry for 26 years and is knowledgeable on treatments for depression including ketamine generally speaking how safe is ketamine we know as an anesthetic it's considered to be one of the safest in fact there's been hundreds of thousands millions of people that have been treated however in those cases it's usually only a single dose given one time here it's a little different for depression because we're giving it repeatedly over and over and over or at least it looks like that's the way it's gonna be going if we want to maintain the response we don't have very good what we would call prospective studies where we actually image somebody's brain before they use ketamine for long periods of time and then image it again after and with that in mind what is the biggest red flag to yourself and other people in your profession when it comes to ketamine infusion treatments so I think the biggest concern that remains is we still don't have great evidence that we can get somebody better and keep them better but also in terms of the danger of it so we know that people with substance abuse disorders or substance use disorders that abuse ketamine at high levels there are several studies suggesting that high level use of ketamine is associated with cognitive deficits actually with changes in the brain structure some reduction in some of the frontal cortical mass and volume so your brain would actually deteriorate over well in rodent studies we do see that it can cause some toxic effects on the brain and even at relatively modest doses even what we call sub anesthetic doses with repeated dosing there is some evidence that it could cause some unwanted changes in brain structure from what we've learned so far the dosage is prescribed based on a person's body weight and on not much else there's not many other metrics that decide the amount of dosage that's gonna go into a person we really don't have idea of what is the optimal dose or even how to decide on what those to give patients so that to me is probably the biggest concern is how do we know you know what is the right amount to give what is too much to give is there any right amount that's safe and those are those are my biggest concerns when I'm treating patients and that's what I always want to move out is we really don't know how safe this is long term and we really don't know how effective this will be long term over the last decade Stephens mother witnessed her son's multiple suicide attempts but she has only recently learned about Stephens experimental treatment since he chose to keep it a secret due to the stigma around ketamine how did you feel when you first heard that Stephen was undergoing these treatments and then again you know when you found out that they were somewhat effective for him it's scary I'm concerned it's a drug that it's addicting but if it's helping him anything that's gonna help my son is gonna it's gonna be the best thing for him does it still scare you at all or you know after undergoing some treatments does it seem more like a treatment for what you have after the treatments my life kind of slows down I get to think about things a little bit more I don't have to be so hyper about things and it definitely without a doubt keeps the chatter the flashbacks just the morbid thoughts that I had away and that's why I think I am more supportive of it because it helps me have a little bit more of a comfort knowing that that's helping you function better as a person in society in terms of the other people in your family what do they know about Stephens depression and about the ketamine infusions even family members or judgmental and he's my son and I wanna do anything anything that if it helps my son I'm for it I may not understand it fully and I don't care that I don't I see the results and that's what counts although ketamine is fda-approved as an anesthetic it's not approved as a psychiatric treatment which means that ketamine infusion therapy is not covered by most insurance companies so these ketamine treatments that you do here are not something that can be covered by most people's insurance right yes so most people do assume that they would not be able to get any insurance coverage for having ketamine treatment our patients who see us because all of our centers are run by psychiatrists people meet with psychiatrists before and after every treatment we are able to give people bills that reflect the psychiatry office visit component of their visit so while the ketamine infusion itself is not covered our care is and so it's not a completely uncovered service each infusion costs even four hundred and fifty dollars he spent over six thousand dollars on treatment so far and doesn't know how many more he'll need how do you feel after that treatment a huge difference yeah huge difference do you feel like you're getting progressively better or is it like kind of but you're now you're anticipating your next treatment it's getting better if I can do one infusion every thirty days instead of every three weeks I take that as an improvement and so what are you gonna do now I mean that you weren't able to do before you know on a Wednesday well whatever I want that's the beauty of it I'm not incapacitated anymore well I'm really happy you're getting better man you know you've been through a lot of stuff you know really difficult times in your life and you found something that works for you and congrats on that man I'm really happy that we got to after talking to Stephen and hearing about his issues and how ketamine infusion treatments have helped them I also discovered that there's a number of depression and anxiety related illnesses that come from PTSD I actually myself was diagnosed with PTSD about ten years ago so I thought maybe I'll try one of these ketamine infusion treatments here at dr. Levine's office so dr. Levine this is the consultation you typically have with your patients when you're assessing whether or not they should receive ketamine infusion treatments that right that's right and so essentially I want to get a sense of you your story of you know why you might be coming in for treatment whether there's appropriate indications to have this there's any contraindications that would say we shouldn't do this so in terms of considering having this treatment today can you tell me a bit about your experience um you know I wouldn't consider myself to be a depressed guy you know overall I think my moods are generally positive however I about ten years ago I was diagnosed with PTSD because of an incident where a mugger stabbed me in the throat my arm was paralyzed for a while and it's something that I think I still feel anxious from at times if this is something that can help me dissociate from that post-traumatic stress I think that would be really helpful something I hear commonly from people who have trauma who have this treatment is that often times they're able to step apart from themselves in a way that they're able to look at their trauma in a more objective less emotional way which in some sense is like in advanced exposure therapy okay cool I think I'm ready all right do it all right good all right now I'm gonna put the ketamine in so you are often running here it usually takes about 20 minutes or so before you start feeling it okay all right yeah I'm good a little relaxed first or we'll see we'll see what happens so I'm definitely starting to feel some of the effects of the ketamine it's making me a little bit drowsy and I feel kind of like a warm sensation you know behind my ears Wow dude yeah no it's like it's like a pretty pretty strong like psychoactive effect I would say yeah well I'm pretty fucked up usually at the 40 minute mark is when he's at the height of his indecision the peak of it so you still have a little more yeah go up the best thing to do is probably just keep your eyes closed and just try to relax and not talk through it oh no if that might help that feels feels good now it feels like it's like we just like some kind of like Plateau and the interesting thing is the uniformity between like the mental effect on the body effect of this stuff right this effect is actually doing something to your brain chemistry or to your body and that can actually help you to cope with the realities of life or whatever right the realization I'm having on this is that like the emotion doesn't have like this like physicality right in the world but there is a distinct difference between what's tangible what's intangible it lets you kind of encapsulate all those things in your life right all your feelings your you know your relationships your upbringing all those other things like sort of all into one thing and you sort of set it over there and you're just walking around you're just looking at them and you don't have an emotional reaction or attachment or something to each image or each experience that you see imagine your life as a movie if you're in that movie you're just having the experience the whole time you're that character who's just like you know being swayed left and right by all the things that are happening in that story right but if you're in the audience if you could watch your own movie right if you can watch the movie of your life and judge every aspect of it right without any sort of emotional reaction that's what this is like if I had gone through what Stephen had gone through I can imagine that going through something like this just removing yourself from the perspective that's so so damaged you know at some point can probably be really helpful I think I'm beginning to perhaps understand you know what this does for your patients men that really is an incredible experience have you tried this just in general for like just for that it's the experience you know I like her just to look at my thoughts in a different way like that was so incredibly therapeutic men [Laughter] I'm pretty confident that ketamine treatments have contributed to me being here today a mass majority of it because even though you grow older and you get wiser there's still that deep emptiness inside that like I couldn't explain that bothers you and ruins you from inside and it just shuts you down and I think because I've been able to subdue a lot of that and kill the chatter per se it's allowed me to function and be more happy and not have to think like that actually patients suffering from depression or an extrude pain and unfortunately many of our treatments right now Wow quite effective for many people leaves about a third of the patients that really aren't experiencing tremendous benefit so there really is what we would call great on the need for new medications ketamine offers that hope to people and I've seen my own patients several of them that said it has changed their life it's been life saving so I don't think it's fair not to make this treatment available to people on the flip side if we are gonna offer this let's offer it in the safest setting you can do it in the most responsible way of developing it and in a way where we're learning from we're collecting data and sharing right there you you


  1. I wish I would do anything to escape my depression at this point I contemplate suicide constantly I'm so depressed it is so severe that I don't even get out of bed anymore

  2. MDMA and LCD are great for depression. Gives you a reset.

  3. It's not meant to be a cure, it's meant to TREAT depression. I've been doing my first round of ketamine treatment, the nebulized version which is $600 less expensive than the infusion therapy version. It's been interesting to say the very least. My doctor checks with me every treatment and the depression is easing off, more and more with each round. It's pretty amazing!

  4. use marijuana and not chemicals

  5. Cure depression 🤨…….highly unlikely

  6. I think the interviewer asked great questions of both Steven and his mother. I'd like to see more of this interviewer in future videos. He made a pretty good explanation of what the treatment was like and how it might be beneficial.

  7. it does! i used to do it! it works folks

  8. repost

  9. Shouts out to Rude Jude and the All Out Show. I first heard about this drug about 10 years ago on his show because Jude does Ketamine pretty frequently. Not sure how much Jude uses Ketamine these days but he use to love doing that shit. Hope this guy is able to battle his depression successfully. I deal with depression myself but he has a much deeper depression issue than myself. My issue was worse in high-school than it is now as an adult but I still battle it.

  10. if ketamine can help build you back after being raped, i need to start this asap. Maybe id be able to function like a normal human again u . u

  11. Everyone PLEASE DONT TRY TO GET THE POSITIVE EFFECTS ON THE STREETS ITS MORE THAN GETTING HIGH. Ive had a lot on the streets many years ago it gave a very different feeling than having it in hospital

  12. “How do you tell your parents you were raped?” Steven has already begun the healing process by asking that question. That particular question is an inadvertent confession and admittance: which is the first step in addressing ANY trauma. Millions of us feel his pain. Millions.

  13. Don't do drugs, kids.
    Weed is the answer.

    Also try DMT.
    Just so you know.

  14. Acid does the same thing I swear it erases depression

  15. I used to sell K around the year 2k…used in the right dose, it's not bad.

  16. This is gold!

  17. Someone I know a male was raped at 13 he told his step dad his step dad bashed him for being gay. 😪 so fucked up

  18. I’m in Australia I get 20ml/h for 5-7 days straight ( as an in patient of course for pain relief and reduce my tolerance to opiates a side effect is anti depression it’s amazing

  19. Is this what VICE has become? Recycling content on different channels…

  20. I'd come back too

  21. Any drugs that shows you different perspectives can cure depression. LSD made me realized that I'm the one made myself depressed not nobody else. It also made me overcame my childhood trauma. Marijuana and Psychedelics should be legalized, especially in Singapore. Most drug users are addicted to meth and heroin, they're super bad.

    Even my psychiatrist thought that her stupid "anti depressants are working, but i stopped taking them for like months already lol"

    Bad trips are easy to avoid if they do research. And ofc get real LSD not Nbome

  22. First person to view yes!

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