Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Case Report

Ketamine Self-Medication in a Patient with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Comorbid Therapy-Resistant Depression


Parnassia Addiction Research Centre (PARC), Parnassia Psychiatric Institute, The Hague, The Netherlands


Curium, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands


Amsterdam University Medical Centers, location Academic Medical Center, Bijlmer, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology 2022; 32: 268-272
DOI: 10.5152/pcp.2022.22037
Read: 90 Downloads: 24 Published: 20 September 2022

In this case report, we present an adult male patient with autism spectrum disorder and a comorbid (treatment-resistant) mood disorder with suicidality. He has been treated with numerous psychopharmaceuticals, most recently risperidone and valproic acid. He has been hospitalized several times and has attempted suicide. He displayed limited social functioning, repetitive behaviors, sensory hypersensitivity, anxiety, depressed mood, anhedonia, low energy, and chronic suicidality. Despite intensive treatment, he remained highly symptomatic and unable to work. After repeatedly selfmedicating with ketamine, the patient reported that his depression and suicidality disappeared and that his autism spectrum disorder symptoms were reduced. This case study – along with previous clinical studies – suggests that ketamine is likely to be effective against depression and suicidality and potentially effective against (certain) autism spectrum disorder symptoms. However, increasing public awareness of the beneficial effects of ketamine may lead to more unsupervised and thus risky use of ketamine for self-medication.

Cite this article as: Özgen MH, van den Brink W. Ketamine self-medication in a patient with autism spectrum disorder and comorbid therapy-resistant depression. Psychiatry Clin Psychopharmacol. 2022;32(3):268-272.

EISSN 2475-0581