One of the less talked about, but more insidious effects of depression is anhedonia: the inability to feel pleasure. In addition to low overall mood, patients with depression no longer find joy in the activities that used to bring them fulfillment. Anhedonia is also one of the more difficult aspects of depression to treat, but as Douglas Main at Newsweek writes, ketamine can offer relief:
The researchers found that a single injection of ketamine led to a significant improvement in normal pleasure-seeking behavior in as little as 40 minutes, and this dramatic improvement lasted as long as two weeks for some of the 36 participants.
“There aren’t really any treatments for anhedonia, even in treatment-resistant depression,” so it’s a big deal to find something that acts in this way, said study author Dr. Carlos Zarate, chief of the experimental therapeutics and pathophysiology branch at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland.