The use of ketamine to cope with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder: A qualitative analysis of the discourses posted on a popular online forum

Tharcila V. Chaves*, Bob Wilffert, Zila M. Sanchez

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

3 Citaten (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Background Because of the shortcomings of traditional pharmacotherapy for major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), there has been growing interest in the rapid mood-enhancing effect of ketamine. Objectives To analyze what has been posted about ketamine use for dealing with self-reported depression and/or PTSD on one of the biggest international message boards on the internet. Methods Qualitative study with online observation of threaded discussions on Bluelight. In-depth online searches were conducted in 2018. Twenty-nine threads, with a total of 708 units of analysis, were selected and subjected to content analysis, where, via a coding process, the units of analysis were organized into nodes. Results Despite having several negative effects (e.g. dizziness, nausea and inability to talk), the examined discourses suggested that the use of ketamine to elevate mood was both efficient and worthwhile. Intranasal use was the most common route of administration mentioned. We traced how the mood enhancement caused by ketamine is perceived: the loss of pleasure disappears, as well as the depressed mood; the markedly diminished interest in activities vanishes and motivation comes back. From all the posts analyzed, only two reported negative outcomes (i.e. no mood-enhancing effect). The most mentioned adverse event was damage to the urinary bladder and the kidneys in cases of misuse. Conclusion Although online research of user-generated content has its limitations in terms of reliability and validity, the present study adds relevant information on the use of ketamine for managing depression and PTSD, whether this use is done legally or not.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1-12
Aantal pagina's12
TijdschriftAmerican journal of drug and alcohol abuse
StatusPublished - 5-jun-2020

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