Everybody is probably familiar by now with the trope according to which depression leads to overeating. Whether it’s the cliché of eating ice cream in front of the TV after a break-up, or a more modern take, the trope has been overdone in the media. And because it’s a real, serious issue, scientists working on alleviating those feelings discovered Ketamine to be helpful in depression and overeating.
Stress, depression, and overeating
It has been known for decades that chronic stress, unless properly managed, can lead to overeating, anxiety and depression.
When a person is under very high amounts of stress, they tend to overeat. Depression and anxiety also lead to overeating. Stress and depression are known to inhibit the synthesis of proteins involved in the creation of synaptic connections in the brain.
Those connections are also involved in cellular responses related to a person’s energy and metabolism, so people with metabolic disorders like diabetes are also at a much higher risk of depression.
Wanting to explore how diets might influence the behavior of rats, the researchers fed the animals six times the normal amount of fat to which they were used.
The effects of Ketamine on depressed rats
After four months of feeding the rats highly fattening foods, the scientists found that the synaptic plasticity and metabolism of the affected animals were affected, and the rats showed signs of depression and anxiety.
They were ready to begin their tests.
The Yale researchers proceeded to apply a single low dose of ketamine to the depressed rats, and their symptoms quickly disappeared.
Following multiple analyses of the data, the scientists came up with what they were looking for.
Ketamine, or ‘Special K’, commonly used anesthetic and recreational drug, can very rapidly and drastically reduce symptoms of chronic depression and anxiety, even in patients usually resistant to an antidepressants treatment.
It turns out that ketamine activates the mTORC pathway, known to direct the synthesis of proteins involved in the creation of synaptic connections in the brain, the exact pathway that tends to be blocked by depression.
The effects of ketamine on human brains still have to be further examined, but the researchers are sure they are on to something, possibly a very quick fix for depression and anxiety, or if not, at least a different treatment that works better for chronic depression cases.
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