Anne McNealis tried at least a dozen medications to manage her depression before turning to ketamine. Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Cymbalta – you name it, she’s used it. But McNealis couldn’t tolerate those conventional treatments, she says. She has struggled with severe depression for about 20 years and even on medication, she still woke up every morning wishing she hadn’t.
Two years ago, McNealis decided to enroll in a ketamine clinic at a Kaiser Permanente facility in San Francisco to see if the experimental treatment could achieve something conventional medicine could not. The national healthcare network launched one of the first pilot programs to use the street drug ketamine to help people with severe treatment-resistant depression. McNealis attributes ketamine with saving her life.
“It’s been a return to some normalcy,” she tells Rolling Stone. “I feel like a normal person again.”
Last Thursday, McNealis joined Dr. Mason Turner, Kaiser Permanente’s chief of the Department of Psychiatry, at the Mental Health America Conference in Washington, D.C., to discuss the organization’s success with ketamine treatment. According to Turner, data has shown that about 65 to 75 percent of the clinic’s patients with severe depression are improving on ketamine, which he says is “much higher than typical, traditional antidepressants” in the treatment-resistant population.
“We really believe that ketamine has saved lives because a lot of patients have had unrelenting, chronic suicidal thoughts for most of their lives,” Turner says.
But what does ketamine exactly mean for people diagnosed with depression? Here’s everything you need to know…
Read the entire article on RollingStone.com here.