A team of researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has revealed that the use of nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, has been found helpful at treating depression patients that would not normally respond to conventional therapies.

Nitrous oxide is usually used as an anesthetic by surgeons and dentists while patients are undergoing procedures and it is often inhaled as gas. However, its use as an anti-depressant is gaining wide attention following successful trials that have been run on patients with severe depression.

It proved effective at alleviating depression symptoms in patients with treatment-resistant clinical depression – and most patients reported significant improvements within a day or two of receiving nitrous oxide for depressions.

Within 24-hours of receiving nitrous oxide treatment, two-thirds of 20 tested patients confirmed health improvements, and one-third that was administered with placebo did not notice any particular difference in their conditions.

Another set of patients were tested with laughing gas to gauge its accuracy, and they were divided into two groups: the first group had half oxygen and half nitrous oxide – and they eventually reported that tendencies to suicidal thoughts, anxiety, sadness, and insomnia became considerably reduced; but the second group that was treated with placebo mixture of oxygen and nitrogen reported that no significant difference nor side effects in their conditions.

Published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, Dr. Charles R. Conway admits that “most patients that received nitrous oxide reported rapid and significant improvements in their health conditions.” And to this end, more research is being carried out with nitrous oxide or laughing gas to enable scientists know how it works or proves effective for other kinds of depressions.

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