The circle of life, or something like it, has come to the field of severe depression medicine.
You see, while ravers often complain of depression because they use up all their happy coupons every Saturday night (often in the form of serotonin-greedy ecstasy), physicians who treat hardcore cases of depression are finding that one club drug is, well, a serious happy coupon.
And perhaps it's a lifesaver:
The NeuroPsychiatric Center at Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston is experimenting with ketamine, a.k.a. Special K, and the results are fairly positive.
While antidepressants such as Prozac have a hit-or-miss record with serious depression, people who come in with suicidal thoughts are zapped with K and seem to come alive as if the clouds have parted.
Mental health researchers got interested in ketamine because of reports that it could make depression vanish almost instantly.
In contrast, drugs like Prozac take weeks or even months.
A study of the drug's effectiveness is ongoing and it's not yet conclusive. But Carlos Zarate of the National Institutes of Health says deeply depressive patients really do seem to see the light.
He describes to NPR a typical reaction:
I feel that something's lifted or feel that I've never been depressed in my life. I feel I can work. I feel I can contribute to society.' And it was a different experience from feeling high. This was feeling that something has been removed.
No wonder we self-medicate. Any raver could have told you this.
But, if you go too far, there is the specter of the “k hole,” which Wikipedia describes aptly:
This is a slang term for a subjective state of dissociation from the body which may mimic the phenomenology of schizophrenia, out-of-body experiences (OBEs) or near-death experiences (NDEs), and is often accompanied by feelings of extreme derealization, depersonalization and disorientation, as well as temporary memory loss and vivid hallucinations.
Way better than killing yourself, IMO.