Researcher investigates hallucinogen as potential OCD treatment
A Stanford psychiatrist is researching the effects of ketamine on the brains of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoping to determine why, in studies, the drug has provided relief from symptoms
The first time psychiatrist Carolyn Rodriguez gave an infusion of ketamine to a patient with obsessive-compulsive disorder, she was nervous. After all, while ketamine is approved by the Federal Drug Administration as an anesthetic, it is also an illicit party drug known as “Special K,” with hallucinogenic effects and the potential for abuse.
“As a physician, you take an oath to do no harm,” said Rodriguez, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the School of Medicine. “There are caveats with ketamine. People can feel disassociated, like they are floating; some feel nauseated.”