Lamar Odom Discusses How Ketamine Saved His Mental Health

By Bryan Le 06/24/19

The basketball star spoke in an interview about how the notorious club drug helped him.

Lamar Odom at the Nickelodeon`s 2018 Kids` Choice Awards held at the Forum in Inglewood, USA on March 24, 2018.
Starstock |

Former NBA star Lamar Odom owes his mental health to ketamine, according to his interview on People’s Party with Talib Kweli.

Odom hit headlines after his close brush with death the night he visited a Nevada brothel and suffered 12 strokes and six heart attacks. Following the incident, the NBA player claimed that the brothel owner, Dennis Hof, was trying to kill him.

“I think Dennis Hof… I don’t know what he had against me, but I didn’t do drugs that night, to be honest with you,” Odom, 39, said on The View in May. “So I don’t know if he tried to poison me, or… I don’t know what he had against me. He tried to kill me.”

However Odom did own up to suffering from addiction and mental health issues, which he discussed on Talib Kweli’s show. He spoke on how these issues affected black men as well as how he himself has found help through the power of ketamine.

“It can help with addiction, any falsehoods you have that’s holding you back in life,” said Odom.

Many may know ketamine as the party drug called Special K, but the stuff has proven to be a mighty clinical tool in combating depression. Researchers have been able to detect changes in the brain circuitry of depressed mice in just three hours.

“It’s a remarkable engineering feat, where they were able to visualize changes in neural circuits over time, corresponding with behavioral effects of ketamine,” said Carlos Zarate of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

These antidepressant effects are observed at lower doses than in recreational use as well as the doses used for anesthetic purposes, ketamine’s original use. It also seems to be more effective than traditional depression medications.

“About 70 to 85 percent of patients with severe depression who try ketamine treatment say it’s effective, compared with 58 to 70 percent of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) patients,” said health journalist Alice Levitt.

The only downside researchers noted about ketamine is that its antidepressant effects are temporary, lasting just a few weeks or months. However, they noted that with more examination into the actual physical changes that ketamine induced in the brain, we may yet have a more permanent treatment for depression.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter