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The Story of Modern Psychiatry's Most Fascinating Molecule

Keith G. Rasmussen, M.D.

  • 2025
  • 304 Pages
  • ISBN 978-1-61537-544-8
  • Item #37544

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Few substances are as enigmatic as ketamine. Is it an effective anesthetic? A useful tool for the psychiatrist? A doorway to transcendence and spiritual awakening? A dangerously addictive drug? The opinions are as plentiful as the individuals who encounter it.

As its use in the psychiatric setting expands, however, it's important for clinicians and patients alike to move past preconceived notions and misconceptions and truly understand ketamine: its history, its uses, its effects, and what the future might hold.

They'll find no better resource than Ketamine: The Story of Modern Psychiatry's Most Fascinating Molecule. Meticulously researched, engagingly written, and comprehensive in scope, this book traces ketamine's history, examining:

  • Its origins as an alternative to PCP as an analgesic and anesthetic
  • The consequences of its widespread use as a recreational drug
  • Its complex pharmacology
  • Its role in understanding and treating schizophrenia
  • Its use to manage chronic pain, depression, anxiety disorders, and other conditions

Each chapter beings with key points that frame the discussion and synthesize the information that follows. The guide concludes with hundreds of references that invite the reader to further study. Far from simply a dry chronology of ketamine, this book is a well-rounded exploration of a substance of tremendous consequence to psychiatry and neurology alike.


  • Chapter 1. The Discovery of PCP
  • Chapter 2. The Birth of Ketamine
  • Chapter 3. Recreational Use of Ketamine: The World Discovers the K-Hole
  • Chapter 4. Pharmacology of Ketamine
  • Chapter 5. The Ketamine Model of Schizophrenia
  • Chapter 6. Ketamine for Chronic Pain
  • Chapter 7. Ketamine for Depression
  • Chapter 8. Other Uses of Ketamine in Psychiatry: Anxiety Disorders, Substance Use, and Psychotherapy Augmentation
  • Chapter 9. Is Ketamine a Neuroprotectant or Neurotoxin?

About the Authors

Keith G. Rasmussen, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

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