Postvention Veteran Suicide Services Expanding Rapidly
With 17 active duty and Veteran suicides every day, that leaves 17 families to deal with the emotional damage. As the VA continues to fumble for ways to prevent Veteran suicide, our nonprofit is moving forward with our postvention services. Older research suggested that only 6 people were affected by a suicide. This number hasn’t resonated with some researchers, however, who felt it underestimated the true burden of suicide grief. Thanks to Julie Cerel and her team of researchers have found that up to 135 people are affected to some degree by every person lost to suicide. That number includes all people who have known the deceased. More info on that can be found here. With that in mind, our Ketamine IV-drip therapy support is only going to rise in the years and decades to come.
What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic used in human anesthesia and veterinary medicine. Dissociative drugs are hallucinogens that cause a person to feel detached from reality. Much of the ketamine sold on the street has been diverted from veterinarians’ offices. Ketamine’s chemical structure and mechanism of action are similar to those of PCP.
Also known as special K, super K and vitamin k, among other slang terms, ketamine is manufactured as an injectable liquid. In illicit use ketamine is swallowed or evaporated to form a snortable powder. It is odorless and tasteless, so it can be added to beverages without being detected, and it induces amnesia. Because it has been used to commit sexual assaults due to its ability to sedate and incapacitate unsuspecting victims, ketamine is also considered to be a “date rape” drug.
Ketamine can cause dream-like states and hallucinations. People who use the drug report sensations ranging from a pleasant feeling of floating to being separated from their bodies.
How Does Ketamine Work?
It’s not entirely clear how ketamine works, according to Harvard Medical College. Because it exerts an antidepressant effect through a new mechanism, ketamine may be able to help people successfully manage depression when other treatments have not worked.
One likely target for ketamine is NMDA receptors in the brain. By binding to these receptors, ketamine appears to increase the amount of a neurotransmitter called glutamate in the spaces between neurons. Glutamate then activates connections in another receptor, called the AMPA receptor. Together, the initial blockade of NMDA receptors and activation of AMPA receptors lead to the release of other molecules that help neurons communicate with each other along new pathways. Known as synaptogenesis, this process likely affects mood, thought patterns, and cognition.
Ketamine also may influence depression in other ways. For example, it might reduce signals involved in inflammation, which has been linked to mood disorders, or facilitate communication within specific areas in the brain. Most likely, ketamine works in several ways at the same time, many of which are being studied.
What Types Of Ketamine Are In Use?
Two main types of ketamine are used to treat major depression that hasn’t responded to two or more medications (treatment-resistant depression).
Racemic ketamine, which is most often given as an infusion into the bloodstream. This is sometimes called intravenous, or IV, ketamine. It is a mixture of two mirror-image molecules: “R” and “S” ketamine. While it was approved decades ago as an anesthetic by the FDA, it is used off-label to treat depression.
Esketamine (Spravato), which the FDA approved in March, is given as a nasal spray. It uses only the “S” molecule.
Thus far, most research has been on ketamine infusions.
The two forms of ketamine interact differently with receptors in the brain. The delivery of ketamine and the type given affect drug effectiveness and side effects. We don’t yet know which type is more effective or how much side effects may differ. Further research comparing effectiveness and side effects is needed.
ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER
Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.
Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.
We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.
Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.