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Last updated: 10 days ago

Elon Musk Uses Prescription Ketamine to Manage his Depression

X owner, Elon Musk, has been very open about his past health struggles, including depression, anxiety, and stress. In a recent interview, Musk revealed he uses ketamine to treat his depression. He stated, “ketamine helps him get out of a negative frame of mind.” He is hoping his openness about his use of ketamine will help other people. His public statements certainly have raised the notoriety of ketamine and its usefulness in treating of depression.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine hydrochloride was developed 50 years ago. It is not yet FDA approved for anything other than use as an anesthetic. It is classified as a dissociative anesthetic, meaning it can cause a sense of detachment from reality. It is used for inducing and maintaining anesthesia. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, it is a Schedule II, non-narcotic substance.

Ketamine is currently being studied for its potential in treating some mental health conditions including depression (especially treatment-resistant depression), anxiety, PTSD, and substance use disorder. When treating depression, it is applied in a lower dose than when used for anesthesia, and is administered through an IV or nasal spray. There is no predetermined dosage or schedule. Protocols differ between clinics and patients.

Elon Musk Uses Prescription Ketamine to Manage his Depression

The History of Ketamine Use

Ketamine was developed as an anesthetic at the Parke Davis Pharmaceutical Company. In 1964, it was tested on prisoners at Jackson Prison in Michigan. Research found that it worked fast and had few side-effects. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a general anesthetic in 1970. Researchers began to study ketamine for possible alleviation of depression symptoms in 1994, when after surgery, patients who’d been anesthetized with ketamine reported improved depression symptoms.

In 2000, the first trial results were published. Seven people were given either ketamine or a salt solution through an IV over two days. It was found that when given ketamine, depression symptoms were reduced within hours, and the effects lasted up to a week. For the last 20 years, researchers have continued to study which mental health issues could be improved with ketamine. Those studies have included:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • PTSD
  • Reducing substance use
  • Treatment-resistant depression

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Why Ketamine over Other Anti-Depressants?

Ketamine is known for treating depression a lot quicker than conventional anti-depressants. With conventional anti-depression medications, you might not feel a difference for weeks or even months. Ketamine, however, can take effect in as little as hours to days after it is administered.

Is Ketamine Safe?

When administered once, ketamine is totally safe. This is known from using it in operating rooms over 50 years. More research is needed to know that it is safe for long-term use. As such, ketamine must be administered under qualified medical supervision in a medical setting because of the risk of side-effects such as high blood pressure, hallucinations, and dissociation.

Elon Musk Uses Prescription Ketamine to Manage his Depression

Does ketamine pose any health risks?

Yes. Ketamine can pose short-term and long-term risks. Short-term risk include:

  • Feeling inebriated
  • Becoming disoriented
  • Hallucinations
  • Sedation
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Disorientation
  • If too much is taken, breathing can slow down or you could fall unconscious.

Long-term risks include:

  • Psychiatric events
  • High blood pressure
  • Bladder and urinary issues
  • Misuse or abuse

Is Ketamine Right for You?

While Elon Musk’s openness about his mental health has helped to further destigmatize mental health issues, it has also led to increased interest in ketamine use. Is it right for you? You need to talk to your doctor and/or your mental health provider to see.

It is important to understand that you cannot self-medicate with ketamine. Ketamine must be administered in a medically supervised setting. People have abused ketamine since the 1970s for its euphoric high, but this requires much higher amounts than are safely prescribed for treating depression. Although there have been no deaths reported in medical treatment settings, there have been reports of deaths from illicit use, especially when combined with other drugs.

Sanctuary Clinics and many other treatment programs have found ketamine treatment to be especially helpful for patients struggling with treatment-resistant forms of depression and anxiety. If you think that you or someone you love might benefit from ketamine treatment, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or mental health professional about the possibility.

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We are here to help you through every aspect of recovery.
Let us call you to learn more about our treatment options.

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