A recent study claims that laughing gas may treat depression. Nitrous oxide or as it’s more commonly known, laughing gas may be used in the treatment of severe depression on people who do not respond to regular therapy.
As claimed by a study carried out at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, people suffering from depression who were given laughing gas showed promises of treating the depression in the end results. The current research claiming laughing gas may treat depression is believed to be the first of its kind.
In 20 patients who had depression that was reluctant to other means of treatment, the scientists discovered that two thirds showed improvements in symptoms after they were administered laughing gas. One third of them, in comparison also showed improvement after being treated with a placebo. The subjects of the study were examined on the day they received the treatment and a day after.
The patients received two treatments as part of the study, but the subjects and researchers were unaware of the order the two treatments were given. In one of the sessions of the treatment, the people were given a blend of gas that was half laughing gas and half oxygen. This mixture is the same as the one given by dentists to patients who undergo dental procedures. In the second session, the people involved in the study were given a placebo blend of nitrogen and oxygen, the two primary gases found in air.
The subjects were questioned about the degree of their symptoms, like insomnia, anxiety, feelings of guilt, suicidal thoughts and sadness. A day after the laughing gas treatment, seven patients claimed there was a slight improvement in their symptoms, while seven other patients claimed they were feeling substantial improvements. Three of the patients claimed that their symptoms had almost completely disappeared. None of the patients said their symptoms aggravated after the nitrous gas treatment.
Subsequently, after receiving the placebo treatment, one of the patients said the next day that the symptoms were worse, five of them claimed slight improvements and two claimed they felt considerably better.
Numerous patients have said they felt an important and fast progress. Even if some of the patients claimed they felt better after being given the placebo gas, it’s obvious that the general trend seen was that the laughing gas gave better results regarding the improvement on depression than the placebo gas. The majority of people who felt the gas improved their condition reported so just two hours after going through the treatment, associate professor of psychiatry and co-investigator Charles R. Conway MD said.