Alan Ferguson had been battling severe depression since he was 18 years old and in 2014 he attempted suicide twice. He had been prescribed over a dozen different types of pharmaceutical drugs, but none of them ever worked. With suicidal thoughts racing through his head, Ferguson was preparing to take his life for a third time at the age of 54 years old. However, as he stopped taking all of his prescriptions and had what he knew would be his last conversation with his sister, luck stepped in, and his psychiatrist called wanting to refer him to a Ketamine Clinic in Milwaukee.
Ketamine is a potent medication that’s used in hospitals as an anesthetic, and it’s also used illegally for its euphoric effects. However, in recent studies, it’s been shown to have promise for people who are resistant to regular depression and suicidal ideation treatments.
“I knew of the drug from having been a police officer, so I knew of its street use — illicit use — but I’m a pretty open-minded person too, and after all the traditional medications I’ve been on with no success, I thought, ‘Well, maybe they’re on to something here with this,’ ” Ferguson said. “I wasn’t worried about trying something I had never tried before. I was worried about trying something else that wasn’t going to work.”
After the call, Alan Ferguson made his way to Ketamine Milwaukee, where he met Dr. Kevin Kane, an anesthesiologist and the director of the clinic. Kane believes that the application of Ketmanine to treat depression is “the biggest breakthrough in mental health in the last 50 years.” and in his estimation, it’s 70% effective for patients with treatment-resistant depression.
After being treated with Ketamine intravenously, Alan Ferguson woke up the next day, and to his surprise, his negative thoughts were gone. “My problems still existed … but things were different. My most faithful, lifelong companion was gone!”
After all these years, Alan Ferguson now believes the use of Ketamine is a medical marvel in the fight against depression. However, the treatments do not come cheap at $495 per booster shot, and it’s also not covered by health insurance. The price adds up as Dr. Kane says you need 5-6 initial infusions and then one booster every 4-6 weeks.
There’s still much work to be done on the long-term effects of using Ketamine, but as of right now, for people like Alan Ferguson, it’s providing a window to find other ways for his ongoing care if Ketamine stops being effective as a solution. So far though, after two months of treatment, Ferguson hasn’t had one single suicidal thought and is now living a life he never thought was possible. “It really is remarkable for me to be able to wake up and not be sorry I woke up in the morning.”
* If you’re suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, please go to our resources page and contact the suicide hotline for your specific country.
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Photo Credit: AP