Updated 8:47 AM EST, Fri, Mar 05, 2021

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Laughing Gas is Successful in Treating Severe Depression


(Photo : Creative Commons: Flickr)

Laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide, has high potential of relieving severe depression, according to a recent clinical study. Laughter could be the best medicine, after all.

A new study by Washington University in St. Louis was the first time researchers used nitrous oxide in a study related to depression. Washington University is also the first to consider using laughing gas to treat patients with chronic depression.

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Reports suggest nitrous oxide could be a good alternative for those who don't respond to traditional therapies.

During a pilot study, 20 patients with TRD or treatment-resistant clinical depression were asked to inhale laughing gas twice within a period of 24 hours.

During the first session, patients had to inhale a gas mixture that was half nitrous oxide and half oxygen. They received a placebo mixture of nitrogen and oxygen on the second session, said ZME Science.

Researchers claim their findings are encouraging and promising. The patients' moods and symptoms such as anxiety, suicidal thoughts, feeling of guilt, insomnia and sadness were examined after the laughing gas was administered.

About two-thirds of patients, who received laughing gas experienced improvement in symptoms; compared to one-third experienced who improvements with the placebo.

"Our findings need to be replicated, but we think this is a good starting point, and we believe therapy with nitrous oxide eventually could help many people with depression," said Peter Nagele, principal investigator and assistant professor of anesthesiology.

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