Laughing Your Way Out of Depression

Depression can hit you hard. It can make you sad, miserable or grumpy most of the time. Your energy levels may hit rock bottom and you may find yourself not wanting to do activities you used to enjoy, or spend time with people you care about.

It can sneak up on you so stealthily that you might not notice how much you are affected by it until a good friend has a quiet word with you or your response to a significant event makes you realize just how out-of-sorts you have been.

Many different types of medicines are available for the treatment of depression; however, one in three adults with depression has trouble finding the right treatment that works for them. Scientists from the Washington University of Psychiatry investigated the use of nitrous oxide – a gas more commonly known as “laughing gas” – in 20 patients with depression that had not responded to at least two different types of antidepressants.

60 minutes of nitrous oxide quickly and remarkably improved depressive symptoms. Improvements were sustained for at least 24 hours, and in some patients, for one week. The investigators declared this pilot study a success and hope to conduct larger, more long-term trials to determine the feasibility of administering nitrous oxide as a recognised form of treatment for treatment-resistant depression.

Nagele P, Duma A, Kopec M et al. Nitrous Oxide for Treatment-Resistant Major Depression: a Proof-of-Concept Trial. Biological Psychiatry. Published Online: December 08, 2014

Topics: Brain Health, Mental Health, All Blog Articles

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