Promising depression drug could help Oregon residents

Oregon residents who’ve suffered from depression in the past, continue to struggle with it or are close to a person who suffers from it understand how debilitating the illness can be.

The Social Security Administration understands too and has included depression in its listings of psychological disorders that can qualify a person for disability benefits. Each year, in fact, a statistically significant percentage of approved Social Security Disability claims include depression in combination with other impairments as the reason for disability.

Several studies currently underway on the drug ketamine suggest that it could be the depression solution researchers have been seeking for decades. For readers not familiar with the history of ketamine, it was discovered in the 1960s and has been used primarily as an anesthetic on both humans and animals. The drug also contains hallucinogenic properties and is referred to as “Special K” by people who take it for that purpose.

While more study is needed, the early indications offer hope for relief to millions of Americans affected by depression.

Our question is: what would happen if we could replace the anti-depressants currently used to treat depression (which don’t work or don’t help most people for very long) with a medication that actually worked?

For starters, many people (perhaps even most) could overcome their depression and begin to lead healthier, more productive and more rewarding lives. That alone would be a huge, positive development.

From a Social Security Disability perspective, a truly effective long-term treatment for depression would likely mean significant reductions in the number of applications for benefits, in the backlog of cases waiting for a hearing and in the number of people receiving benefits.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, “Special K for Depression Renews Hope in Hallucinogens,” Jason Gale, Makiko Kitamura and Allison Connolly, July 9, 2012

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