Bipolar disorder is a serious and debilitating condition where individuals experience severe swings in mood between mania and depression. The episodes of low or elevated mood can last days or months, and the risk of suicide is high.
Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to treat or prevent the depressive episodes, but they are not universally effective. Many patients still continue to experience periods of depression even while being treated, and many patients must try several different types of antidepressants before finding one that works for them. In addition, it may take several weeks of treatment before a patient begins to feel relief from the drug's effects.
For these reasons, better treatments for depression are desperately needed. A new study in Biological Psychiatry this week confirms that scientists may have found one in a drug called ketamine.