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Thread: Treating alcohol addiction with psychedelics

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    #26
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    Alcoholism as a biochemical disease

    In the early 1950s, clinical researchers exploring the therapeutic value of the psychedelic drug d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) achieved intriguing results with subjects suffering from alcoholism. Spiritual or transcendental experiences produced by LSD were a powerful adjunct to rehabilitative psychotherapy for alcoholics. They provided a profound and chemically-induced awakening or enlightenment that often led to sobriety. This article investigates LSD as a treatment for alcoholism. The increased focus on drug therapies brought changes in treatment options and ushered in new theoretical explanations for the causation of alcohol abuse as a disease.

    The psychiatrist Humphry Osmond was one of the key figures in the development of LSD treatments for alcoholism. Osmond was a Senior Registrar at the psychiatric unit at St Georges Hospital in London, England in 1950, where he worked closely with his colleague John Smythies and cultivated a keen interest in chemically induced reactions in the human body. Smythies and Osmond examined the properties of mescaline, the active agent in the peyote cactus. Nearly 2 years of research led them to conclude that mescaline produced reactions in volunteers that resembled the symptoms of schizophrenia, including hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thoughts and behaviour.

    Further work suggested that mescalines chemical structure was remarkably similar to adrenaline. These findings led to the theory that schizophrenia resulted from a biochemical imbalance in the sufferer. These findings led to the theory that schizophrenia resulted from a biochemical imbalance in the sufferer. This tantalizing hypothesis captivated Osmonds interest for the next 2 decades and inspired him to embark on a variety of experiments.

    Osmond and Smythies colleagues at St Georges Hospital were not particularly interested in their biochemical research, but Osmond was intent on continuing the work. After responding to
    an advertisement for a deputy director of psychiatry at a Canadian Mental Hospital in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, he and his family moved to Canada in October 1951. In the prairie province of Saskatchewan he established a biochemical research programme. Within a year, Osmond met Abram Hoffer. Hoffer had graduated from the provincial university in Saskatoon with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in agricultural chemistry. He later graduated with a Ph.D. in agriculture before beginning a medical degree the following year. In medical school, Hoffer developed a particular interest in psychiatry. On 1 July 1950, the Saskatchewan Department of Public Health hired the recently graduated Hoffer to establish a provincial research programme in psychiatry.

    Hoffer and Osmond soon joined forces and began collaborating on their mutual research interests in biochemical experimentation. Osmonds curiosity about mescaline soon introduced him to d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), which, he discovered, produced similar reactions to those observed with mescaline. However, LSD was a much more powerful drug. As in the case of mescaline, early trials with LSD, too, seemed to substantiate their theory that mental illness had biochemical roots.

    During their initial LSD experiments, Hoffer and Osmond hypothesised that the drug might possess therapeutic benefits. In 1953 they began introducing the drug to a new set of subjects: diagnosed alcoholics. They wanted to test its curative effects on individuals for whom temperance reformers advocated the development of more will power and self-actualisation. Perhaps, they reasoned, the LSD reaction would cultivate precisely that kind of strength and insight. Early trials with LSD seemed to substantiate their theory that mental illness had biochemical roots. Osmond reasoned that it would not be difficult to convince lay people that excessive drinking or alcoholism, as a disease, constituted a meaningful concept.

    In Saskatchewan in the 1950s, LSD played a prominent role in reconstructing alcoholism as a disease. The growing public perception of drunkenness as a physiological condition reinforced the need for medical attention and, moreover, redefined problem drinking behaviour as something that could be cured.

    Condensed from the study found here: http://www.maps.org/research-archive...ck_22866_1.pdf
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    #27
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    04-12-2017

    Quote Originally Posted by get high View Post
    LSD works perfect;y with alcohol for me. Takes away all the anxiety, I can just have fun relax, and see the most beautful things. I love mixing it too bad You have to drink a ton to feel anything I drank about 24 beers on lsd last time


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    Ketamine for alcohol dependence

    While overall alcohol consumption is falling, alcohol abuse still represents the fifth biggest risk factor for illness, death and disability across all ages. With current treatments often failing to prevent relapse in the long term, researchers are investigating the possibility of using ketamine combined with psychological therapy to help people stay dry, and not just for January. Despite its often cited use as a recreational drug, Ketamine is also the most widely used anaesthetic in humans. Administered appropriately in a controlled and safe medical environment, Ketamine may also have benefits in the treatment of drug problems.

    Evidence for this originally came from a research group in Russia in the 1980s. In this study, patients who had alcohol problems were given three weekly Ketamine treatments in conjunction with psychological therapy. After one year, 66% of patients who underwent this treatment regime were abstinent, in comparison to 24% of patients who received treatment as usual, without any Ketamine. This abstinence rate is much greater than those documented with any other relapse prevention method.

    Inspired by the promising results seen in Russia, we are now conducting the KARE trial (Ketamine for reduction of Alcoholic Relapse) at the University of Exeter and University College London. In this trial participants who have made the decision to abstain are administered ketamine once a week for three weeks. Participants also receive seven sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy to aid their quit attempt and are followed up for six months. Unlike the earlier study, this trial is placebo controlled, thus participants have an equal chance of receiving either Ketamine or a matched placebo as well as either cognitive behavioral therapy or alcohol education as a placebo for therapy. It is also double-blind, meaning neither the participant nor the researcher know whether the active treatment or a placebo treatment are administered. This controls for placebo effects and bias due to expectations of the researcher, putting the original findings to the test with a more rigorous research design.

    Why might Ketamine help people stay sober? Recent studies have demonstrated that Ketamine has rapid and powerful anti-depressant properties, while people with alcohol problems often also experience symptoms of depression. The direction of the relationship between alcohol problems and depression is not clear, but depressive symptoms are thought to be a common trigger for relapse. Treating people who have alcohol problems with Ketamine, therefore, could help them to remain abstinent for longer by lifting their mood.

    Furthermore, laboratory research has demonstrated that Ketamine promotes the growth of new neurons and connections in the brain. These processes are essential to learning and memory, and are suggested to be impaired in both depression and problematic alcohol use. Thus Ketamine might make people more receptive to new information and able to plan effectively for the future, which in turn may enhance the effect of psychological therapy.

    We do not yet know how effective the Ketamine treatment will be. However, well-designed research studies, such as the KARE trial, could be critical in helping people achieve their abstinence goals.

    Beth Marsh, Meryem Grabski and Will Lawn are academic researchers based at University College London. Lilla Porffy is a MRC-DTP PhD Student at Kings College London. They are working on addiction and mental health research, including the KARE trial. You can hear Professor Celia Morgan, the principal investigator, talk about the trial in this episode of the ‘Say Why to Drugs’ podcast.

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/...hol-dependence
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    The Verve No Knock On My Door


    LSD for alcohol addiction

    The psychedelic drug LSD could help alcoholics give up drinking, according to studies performed in the 1960s. A study, presented in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, looked at data
    from six trials and more than 500 patients. It said there was a significant beneficial effect on alcohol abuse, which lasted several months after the drug was taken.

    At present LSD is a class A drug in the UK and is one of the most powerful hallucinogens ever identified. It appears to work by blocking a chemical in the brain, serotonin, which controls functions including perception, behavior, hunger and mood.

    For this new study researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology analyzed earlier studies on the drug between 1966 and 1970. A total of 536 patients were taking part
    in alcohol treatment programs, but some were given a single dose of LSD of between 210 and 800 micrograms.

    For the group of patients taking LSD, 59% showed reduced levels of alcohol misuse compared with 38% in the other group. This effect was maintained 6 months after taking the hallucinogen, but it disappeared after a year. Those taking LSD also reported higher levels of abstinence.

    According to the study authors, Teri Krebs and Pal-Orjan Johansen, A single dose of LSD has a significant beneficial effect on alcohol misuse. Given the evidence for a beneficial effect of LSD on alcoholism, it is puzzling why this treatment approach has been largely overlooked. They suggested that more regular doses might lead to a sustained benefit.

    We were surprised that the effect was so clear and consistent, said Krebs. She said that the problem with most studies done at that time was that there were too few participants, which limited statistical power. But when you combine the data in a meta-analysis, we have more than 500 patients and there is definitely an effect, she said.

    Professor David Nutt, had earlier called on the government to allow more research on illegal drugs, and for this he was removed as the UK government's drugs adviser. He said, Curing alcohol dependency requires huge changes in the way you see yourself. That's what LSD does. This is as good as anything we've got for treating alcoholism.

    Psychedelics were promoted by psychiatrists in the 1950s as having a range of medical uses, to treat conditions such as schizophrenia, for example, before political pressures in the United States and elsewhere largely ended the work. Alcoholism was considered one of the most promising clinical applications for LSD, says Johansen. Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson
    is said to have espoused the benefits of LSD in the book: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the AA Message Reached the World.

    In the last decade, however, a new generation of researchers have been interested in harnessing the therapeutic benefits of illicit drugs, such as MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder, ayahuasca for drug and alcohol dependency, and psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms, for smoking cessation.

    Robin Carhart-Harris, a psychopharmacologist at Imperial College London who has researched how psilocybin could treat depression, says that psychedelics must work at both biological and psychological levels. Psychedelics work by making the brain function more chaotically for a period, a bit like shaking up a snow globe - weakening reinforced brain connections and dynamics, he says.

    This is important work, says Matthew Johnson, a psychiatrist also at Johns Hopkins who is running a small trial looking at the effectiveness of psilocybin to treat nicotine addiction. Although this meta-analysis does not replace the need to test the approach in new, well-designed and rigorous clinical trials, it puts some more muscle behind the interpretation that the older literature shows hints that psychedelic therapy might really help addiction.

    However, Ken Checinski, a consultant addiction psychiatrist and independent researcher based in London, says that although the results are exciting, no pharmacological treatment should be seen as a magic bullet and that modern therapeutic techniques have improved. The included LSD trials pre-date the use of psychological techniques such as motivational interviewing and cognitive behavior therapy, he says.

    https://www.news-medical.net/news/20...ion-Study.aspx
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    #30
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    Mercury


    I developed an ugly alcohol addiction. I didn't have illusions that I was drinking to party, because I didn't like to drink with others or party much; I was drinking or self-medicating to treat my depression and cope when nothing else seemed to be helping. I know this because I avoided getting drunk quickly: my goal was to stay intoxicated enough to keep the thoughts and feeling at bay. I quit lots of times but after long and somewhat futile journeys to get better, I found myself back to the bottle. It got harder and harder to quit because I saw that every journey I embarked on led me back to the same place. I'd drink in the morning a bit, then at lunch and then spend the rest of my day drinking light beer to maintain. Pretty soon an 18-pack wasn't enough to get me through the day.

    When I discovered dissociatives, namely MXE and DXM, I noticed my desire to drink vanished. I was able to completely substitute one for the other with little difficulty and found dissociatives to be far more effective as an anti-depressant than alcohol. Not everyone reacts this way. The problem was that my dosages were getting out of control and when I'd stop, my depression would eventually return and alcohol would creep its way back into my life. This was no cure, just something I found more benign than alcohol and a helpful tool to get to the next stage.

    On MXE I'd spend hours writing and exploring myself and have something to show for it at the end of the day. On alcohol, I'd waste away my free time until I couldn't stay awake anymore. Quitting dissociatives was easier than quitting alcohol, but quitting depression, that is another story. Then came the psychedelic phase. This was a real tool for self-exploration that produced lasting shifts when used properly. The privilege of self-facilitation as you described is hard earned. It's not for everyone and psychedelics in the hands of a misguided facilitation can do more harm than good. Taking a psychedelic to cure addictions needs quality facilitation and most people would be better served seeking out a qualified facilitator. I say it without ego though and having sought out the best help available to me: I was the best facilitator for myself. Ultimately, it was the realization that as a human being I am endowed with four types of perception I could identify: physical (object-relational), mental (conceptual), emotional (felt-perceptual) and spiritual (vibrational/etheric). I also saw the dynamic pattern. I'd focus on one of these at any given moment. For example, mentally I'd address my negative thoughts only to see my depression/addiction move to a different perceptual center like my emotional state. In other words, my depression couldn't be pinned down because I wasn't addressing it holistically.

    Psychedelics helped me immensely to see this pattern and learn to address my perceptual centers all at once so there was nowhere it could hide in present moment awareness. They opened the door but the path was still one I had to walk myself. No drug could do that for me. Depression/addiction can't be held at bay with force if you ask me. Just like an over-eater blinks and finds themselves raiding the fridge, eventually we succumb to the pattern hiding in plain view. When I speak of curing addiction I speak of alchemy. Turning the base into something refined and self-sustaining. I can pass the ultimate test: I can have a beer now and again without spiraling out of control (don't take this test, it's not recommended, and honestly I don't enjoy that beer except for knowing that real change is not only possible, it is necessary). The pattern I was covering up has been replaced with vigilance and wisdom. It's freed me up to address other things in my life without the need to constantly look back.

    -levels (Bluelight)



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    For the past nine years, my life has been ruled by alcoholism. I get the shakes in the morning without my first drink before 10, I hallucinate after about 36 hours without a drink, alcohol has consistently been all I can think about. I have taken LSD about a dozen times. This past weekend, I had the most eye opening trip that I have ever experienced. I woke up the next day not wanting a drink. A drink was put in front of me and I couldn't even finish it. I feel my body detoxing and have absolutely no desire to stop it from doing so. I have attempted to get sober from alcohol several times over the past few years. All attempts have been met with extreme cravings to the point of relapse. All of a sudden, I feel free.

    -throwaway921105

    -----

    I have found both psilocybe semilanceatta and cyanescens to be extremely effective in treating alcoholism. I was a hard core drunk for the better part of 15 years. Low doses, .5gm per day,
    of mushrooms on a daily basis for 30 days saved my life. They helped me get through the DT's, both mentally and physically. I have been sober now for almost two years.

    -Ice House

    -----

    I've noticed that the more frequently I trip (I try to do so once every 2-3 weeks and generally in the 3.5-5g range), the less I drink on a daily basis. I used to drink (this is totally true) a handle of vodka or whiskey EVERY DAY. My body was totally fucked. I'm now down to three or four beers per day and I think I can thank my resurgence in use of psychedelics a year and a half ago to this. Both LSD and specifically mushrooms make me realize how precious life is and how lucky I am to be alive at all, considering I have had problems with heroin and speed in the past, as well. Now I have a strong desire to take much better care of myself. I love myself, now, and I have these little miracles to thank.

    -SunshineDaydream

    -----

    After suffering for years from alcohol addiction, I forced myself to seek ibogaine treatment. Ibogaine's healing properties are unbelievable. I was stunned at how great I felt after the treatment. Cravings and withdrawal were virtually non-existent.

    -Joshua V.




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    Is cannabis the answer to older people’s alchohol problems?

    I wasn’t surprised to read the report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists warning that baby boomers and Gen X-ers need to get a grip on their alcohol intake. The number of deaths caused
    by drug or alcohol poisoning among the 50-to-69 age group shot up to 39.4 per million in 2016, from 16.5 in 2006.

    Generation X is the first that has refused to grow up. The fact that Xers wish to remain eternally young is ironic since the cool new high is one that makes you feel like you’re on drugs when you’re actually not on drugs. It’s the lure at the heart of the “mindful drinking” movement.

    Ruby Warrington, the author of Material Girl, Mystical World, has coined the clever phrase “sober curious”. Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, you don’t have to give up totally, but you tackle what might be causes of heavy drinking – fear, loneliness, chronic pain – with lots of social events, such as alcohol-free dance parties, sound baths and meditations. The New York-based Warrington says that younger generations drink less because “wellness is now seen as an aspirational lifestyle as opposed to hedonism”.

    Yet it’s questionable if a GP is going to feel comfortable telling this to the 59-year-old dad slumped in front of him wearing a Ramones T-shirt and lying about his weekly units intake.

    Indeed, according to Laura Willoughby, the co-founder of Club Soda UK, which launched the country’s first mindful drinking festival last year, doctors are part of the problem. She says that 55-year-old men are some of the biggest drinkers, and “a lot of those are doctors. They don’t know how to talk about alcohol.”

    Club Soda UK, founded in 2015, has 15,000 members, 20% over 55. This suggests that some oldies are trying to learn old tricks. The company offers online courses and “mindful pub crawls” in which non-alcoholic drinks are encouraged.

    It’s a shame, though, that the Royal College of Psychiatrists report lumps cannabis in with prescription drugs as an evil to be combated. In America, for example, the liberal new weed laws seem to be making a change in drinking habits. My friends in California, where it became recreational last month, tell stories of how they’re now smoking instead of drinking, or how their mothers are happily using CBD (weed with the trippy bits taken out) creams and drinks for help with chronic pain or anxiety (a factor the report mentions as a reason for excessive drinking).

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/09/older-people-alcohol-cannabis-emma-thompson-gen-x-mindful-drinking

    -----

    Psychedelic Therapy for Alcohol Addiction

    Millions of people are battling addiction and alcoholism with little success as traditional methods fail. Psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, can help treat those who are battling addiction and alcoholism; this treatment can be a beneficial option because, psychedelic drugs can have positive impact on mood and depression which can, therefore, greatly impact treatment success.

    In one of the most famous studies on the subject, published by Yale University and titled, “The use of LSD-25 in the treatment of alcoholism and other psychiatric problems” from 1961, 100 patients were picked from Hollywood Hospital in British Columbia, Canada, treated with LSD and made vast improvements. The results showed that 81 percent of patients were improved by the end of the study.One of the patients, a 44 year old salesman, comment on the experience stating, "This experience has given me quite a bit of awakening and a real good look at myself. It seemed to clear a lot of garbage away; I can see and appreciate things about myself that I never knew existed before. Although it’s not a ‘cure-all’, it does make you see new ways to enjoying life and accepting the idea that alcohol isn’t a necessity.”

    https://www.learning-mind.com/psyche...tal-disorders/



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    #33
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    Neptune


    Ayahuasca, a cure for alcoholism


    By Pablo Noguiera

    Jorge* is around 60 years old, works a white collar job, has gray hair, married children, and grown grandchildren. People who work with him would never imagine that he participates in religious rituals using a mind altering tea. Yet thanks to ayahuasca, Jorge renounced his alcoholism, a big change for someone who, when he was younger, would buy a few cases of whiskey at once. I opened the boxes and started emptying the bottles in the kitchen sink. My wife was shocked, he told me.

    He's not the only alcoholic to renounce booze after an experience with ayahuasca. In 2010, after a decade of failed treatments, Robert Rhatigan took a trip to the Peruvian Amazon, where he participated in 4 rituals conducted by a shaman. During a speech at a TEDx event, he recounted how he saw several components from his mind floating in space, as if they were pieces of a puzzle while under the effects of ayahuasca. The experience lasted two hours and by the end of the ceremony, he saw the pieces returning to his head. The one that corresponded to his alcohol addiction no longer fit in. There he knew that he was cured. My transformation is something far from understood in Western medicine, he says.

    There are some hospitals, universities, and research institutes around the world that are experimenting with powerful psychoactive substances, such as psilocybin, ibogaine and even LSD are being analyzed in hospitals and research institutes all around the world.

    Regarding ayahuasca studies, Brazil is at the forefront of research, said Luis Fernando Tfoli, professor of the medical psychology and psychiatry department of Unicamp and coordinator of the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Studies of psychoactive drugs, in Portuguese.

    This year, a study conducted by Brazilian researchers was published in Nature. The piece examined the effects of the drink on two men and four women who showed symptoms of depression, ranging from moderate to severe. The participants consumed ayahuasca only once in doses that ranged between 120ml to 200ml prepared by a church of Santo Daime. They then had their mental health monitored through three questionnaires repeated eight times, the first one 40 minutes after intake and the last one three weeks later.

    The results showed that there were improvements shown by every participant, disregarding the levels of depression they displayed. According to one of the surveys, one day after the experiment, there had been a reduction of 62 percent in symptoms. One week later, the efficacy kept going up, getting up to 72 percent. According to another survey, depression symptoms such as sadness, difficulty concentrating, suicidal and negative thoughts, had been reduced by 82 percent. Side effects were not detected, although half of the subjects had vomited under influence of the tea.

    The results impressed the researchers. We observed antidepressant effects the first hours after administering ayahuasca, and they remained significant for two to three weeks,
    Flavia de Lima Osrio and Rafael Guimares dos Santos, two of the authors, said in an email in Portuguese. She's a lecturer in the department of neurosciences and behavioral sciences of the Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP) Medical School in Ribeiro Preto and he is a postdoctoral researcher in the same department. Besides, ayahuasca was tolerated quite well by the patients. The majority described the experience as positive, even if there was vomiting and nausea.

    The results are good news for those needing quick-acting treatments. Antidepressants that are currently available take weeks to produce therapeutic effects, in addition to having significant side effects, such as sexual dysfunction and weight gain, Flavia wrote. Many patients don't get an effective therapeutic response. New pharmaceuticals, that act faster and more efficiently with less side effects, are necessary.



    Jupiter's clouds from spacecraft Juno


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    Only A Northern Song


    New Study: Ibogaine in the treatment of alcoholism


    ICEERS is collaborating with researchers from the University of Sao Paulo, to carry out a clinical trial studying the tolerability and efficacy of ibogaine in the treatment of alcoholism. Starting in early 2018, this study will be the first in a series of clinical trials by the team that aim to study the efficacy of ibogaine in the treatment of different types of addictions. The study is being led by principal investigator Dr. Rafael Guimaraes dos Santos, along with senior investigator and study co-supervisor Dr. Jaime Hallak, and collaborator Dr. Jose Carlos Bouso, from ICEERS.

    Approximately 5% of the world’s adult population has some type of alcohol-related disorder, which are associated with 3% of all deaths in the world. Currently available medications have some efficacy for treatment, but the adverse effects and relatively long length of treatment are factors that may reduce patients’ motivation to continue taking the medication correctly. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct research with new drugs for the treatment of alcoholism.

    Animal studies suggest that one or a few doses of ibogaine significantly reduce withdrawal symptoms and the intensity of use of various drugs, including opioids, psychostimulants, and alcohol. However, there are no controlled clinical studies that have explored these effects, since all studies published until the present are case reports, case series, and open-label (no use of placebo) studies. Previous reports describing the use of ibogaine in non-medical settings were often vague, thus seriously limiting the generalization of the results.

    This new study was designed to overcome these limitations. It will evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of increasing doses of ibogaine in 12 alcoholic patients after they have passed their abstinence syndrome in a controlled hospital setting. The setting is the Psychiatric Unit of the Clinics Hospital of the Ribeirao Preto Medical School (HCFMRP), in the University of Sao Paulo (USP), Ribeirao Preto, Brazil. USP is the largest Brazilian public university and one of Latin America’s most prestigious. Furthermore, our study is receiving financial support by some of the most important Brazilian agencies supporting education and research, such as CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development) and and FAPESP (the Sao Paulo Research Foundation).

    Importantly, previous reports used doses ranging from 6 to 29 mg/kg. In our study each patient will be hospitalized for 20 days for safety and tolerability evaluation, and will receive 3 increasing doses of ibogaine. The first 3 of the 12 patients will receive oral doses of 20 to 400 mg of ibogaine in an open-label design. If the 3 higher doses (240, 320 and 400 mg) are well tolerated, the next 9 volunteers will randomly be provided either these doses or placebos in a double-blind design. With this design we will observe the safety and tolerability of increasing doses of ibogaine and its possible efficacy. Volunteers will also be evaluated 7, 14 and 21 days and 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after leaving the hospital to monitor their consumption of alcohol and other drugs. Furthermore, this study will be the first to explore the possible effects of ibogaine on endocannabinoid, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and interleukin plasma levels.

    This is the only ibogaine study using the most rigorous methodology. If we find that ibogaine administered in these doses is safe and effective in reducing alcohol consumption, we are planning further trials with larger sample sizes. Moreover, in parallel to this alcoholism study in Brazil, we are preparing an additional clinical trial that will study ibogaine for the treatment of methadone dependence in Spain. Together, we hope these studies may answer our questions regarding the safety and efficacy of ibogaine to treat drug dependence.

    http://news.iceers.org/2018/03/new-r...of-alcoholism/
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    Jimi Hendrix Pali Gap


    A radical new approach to beating alcohol addiction


    By Jennifer Bleyer

    Jason didn't fit the stereotype of an alcoholic. A 39-year-old marketing executive with a master's degree, he never blacked out or erupted in a stormy rage. His family's home in Albuquerque wasn't strewn with empty liquor bottles. He had never crashed his car. Yet Jason had been drawn to alcohol ever since his first sip of beer at age 8, and it was typical for him to have half a dozen drinks after work. He was crushed but not entirely shocked on the spring afternoon in 2015 when his wife announced that she couldn't tolerate his inebriation anymore, packed up their kids, and moved out.

    The next day Jason saw a notice in the alternative weekly newspaper: "Concerned about your drinking? Interested in alternatives to the treatments that are currently available?" The ad announced that University of New Mexico researchers were seeking participants for a new trial involving an experimental medication that might help curb alcohol abuse. Jason dialed the phone number on the ad and was surprised to learn that the experimental medicine was psilocybin.

    Jason was accepted into the second trial, which included 12 weeks of psychotherapy. After four weeks of psychotherapy, he arrived in a clinical room that had been appointed with art, homey furniture, and soft lighting and was given a pill of synthetic psilocybin. He lay down on a couch and donned eyeshades and headphones that piped in a programmed selection of music. Sitting nearby throughout the session were male and female cotherapists, who did little more than direct Jason to focus his attention internally and go where his mind took him. Within minutes, he burst into tears.

    "I wept for almost 6 hours, really heavy purging, as if I had just needed an excuse to stop the world and take this emotional ride. He saw that his alcoholism was a major stressor in his family's life and gazed with unalloyed clarity at his own lack of commitment to the most important thing in his life—his marriage and kids. I believed that I had screwed up in every way, he says. There was so much internal guilt bottled up. After several hours, the emotional tempest settled, and Jason was left with an incandescent feeling of love for his family, and forgiveness of himself.

    Four weeks later, he arrived for the second psilocybin session, which he described afterward in a journal. The initial fall was swift and intense, he wrote. I wanted to immerse myself in the sounds from every corner and crevice of the room. Fully aware that I had no control over any circumstance or train of thought, I simply took the ride. There came a point where I realized
    I could in fact navigate.

    With a greater sense of control this time, he focused his attention again on his life and aspects of himself that felt broken. He saw himself and his wife far in the future, happy and profoundly connected, and envisioned his stepdaughter and the couple's then 4-year-old daughter both as strong women that he and his wife had lovingly guided into adulthood. Jason's attention barely drifted toward his relationship with alcohol. It was all about his relationship to himself and his loved ones.

    Even though there was little explicit content about drinking in his two psilocybin sessions, Jason was effortlessly abstinent after their completion. He did eventually drink again, but moderately, with a conscientiousness hed never experienced with alcohol before.

    2 years after completing the UNM study, Jasons drinking remains limited and under control. He may have a couple beers or glasses of wine after work, but, he says, Im not using it to medicate myself anymore. I've come to see drinking as an individual decision—one I can decide against.

    His wife took him back and moved home with their kids. They entered marriage counseling, and Jason credits the inner peace he found in the sessions as one of the most important factors in his success. The couple strengthened their communication and renewed their bond. Their family life now feels harmonious and connected. And although the psilocybin trial seldom crosses his mind, the insights it catalyzed reverberate in his life daily.

    I think alcohol was a way for me to disassociate from the here and now, he says. The sessions taught me to hit the Pause button and take time for things that actually matter. I learned the importance of really being present.


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    The Doors You're Lost Little Girl


    The Rebirth of Psychedelic Treatment for Alcoholism

    Using psychedelics as a treatment for alcoholism is nothing new. Since the 1950’s scientists have put their time and effort into researching how psychedelics work and finding their practical applications in modern medicine.

    However, because of legal issues and government regulations, our knowledge of psychedelics, including their potential in treating drug and alcohol addiction, is limited.

    With recent FDA approval for clinical trials on MDMA as a form of psychiatric therapy, the conversation surrounding psychedelic drugs as medicine has once again taken the spotlight.

    The return of research into psychedelics is moving slowly, with many new drugs showing potential in treating alcoholism. These new findings expand on historical research that was once considered novel.

    The Advent of LSD for Alcoholism: Humphry Osmond was the first major psychiatric pioneer in the field of psychedelic treatment for alcoholism. During the 1950’s and 1960’s, Osmond conducted experiments treating alcoholics with LSD a potent psychedelic discovered in 1938.

    By the late 1960’s Osmond, along with his colleague Abram Hoffer, had treated over 2,000 individuals with LSD to see how it would affect their alcohol addiction.

    The results were very promising. 40-45 percent of their patients were still sober after a one-year period—great results for any alcohol rehabilitation study.

    Why were the results so promising? LSD and other psychedelics work differently than other drug and alcohol treatments. Rather than addressing the addiction on a mostly physical level, psychedelics deal with the underlying causes of the addiction.

    Often, addiction stems from underlying trauma that an addict is trying to avoid or numb. Sometimes the addict isn’t even aware of this trauma.

    Psychedelics put the brain in a much more accepting state. Many addicts are able to come to terms with their past and present and learn to deal with their addictions, and the reason for their addictions, in a much more positive way.

    This gives addicts and alcoholics the ability to move forward in a new way, something that is often not dealt with through traditional drug rehabilitation programs.

    Osmond’s findings and the potential implications for psychedelics were part of a rising tide of research at the time. But just as LSD was gaining traction in the medical field, it was also becoming a massive part of the hippy movement.

    The associations with psychedelic drugs led to a backlash against their use. And, by 1968, LSD and many other psychedelic drugs were made illegal. The FDA labeled them as having no medicinal value and research into LSD as a treatment for disease and addiction came to an abrupt end.

    And with that, significant research into any psychedelic medicines was put on a shelf for almost 50 years.

    A New Wave of Psychedelic Study: A resurgence of psychedelic medicine for treating mental disorders has been underway since early this decade. This is mostly due to funding and scientific education led by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS.

    Although their biggest breakthrough has been in the use of MDMA (street name “Ecstasy”) in treating those suffering from PTSD, this may push open the doorway into more clinical uses for psychedelic medicines in drug and alcohol addiction.

    There are many psychedelic drugs that have shown promise over the years—including LSD. However, let’s take a brief look at some of the other psychedelic drugs that have the potential to treat alcoholism.

    Psilocybin: Found in “magic mushrooms” all around the world, psilocybin is the active alkaloid that causes psychedelic experiences in the brain. There is a little scientific study to support psilocybin as a treatment for alcoholism. However, there have been studies very recently showing psilocybin and its positive effects on helping treat those addicted to smoking tobacco.

    Often, if a drug has a positive effect on one addiction, it may be suitable for others. Utilizing psilocybin for treating alcoholism may not be around the corner, but it has been building attention and more scientific studies are likely to occur in the future.

    Ayahuasca: Mostly promoted by breakthrough addiction scientist Dr Gabor Mata, ayahuasca is a native Peruvian plant with strong psychoactive properties. Dr. Mata believes that the ayahuasca vine, along with its psychedelic element, can help those struggling with addiction find their past trauma and deal with it effectively.

    Once again, scientific study and scope have been very limited. However, modern scientists are beginning to show how ayahuasca might be able to heal, repair, and protect brain cells. This makes ayahuasca a likely candidate for treating serious addiction while also healing damage to the brain caused by past abuse.

    Ibogaine: Ibogaine is known as the “waking dream.” Found in western Africa, Ibogaine is an alkaloid extracted from the root bark of the Tabernanthe Iboga plant. Ibogaine is a powerful psychedelic that has been mostly recognized for its potential to eliminate heroin and opiate withdrawals. Many addicts and alcoholics have sought treatment for their addictions by traveling to Ibogaine clinics outside of the United States.

    However, like other psychedelics, little US-based research has been done on Ibogaine as a treatment for alcoholism. And, although many claim to have benefited from Ibogaine treatment, the future legality for Ibogaine and other psychedelics in modern US medicine is still unlikely.

    The hope is that psychedelic medicine can find its proper place. Through rigorous scientific study and clinical testing, we may finally determine if these psychedelic compounds actually fit into the category of “medicine.”

    The truth is that many are struggling with alcoholism. These individuals want to find peace, they want to find success in life, and they want to find freedom in sobriety.

    However, the USA offers very little variety by way of drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

    What works for one person may not work for another. We should be continuing to explore new, effective ways to treat alcoholism based on scientific results, and not shy away from possibilities that could save lives.

    https://www.alcoholfreesociallife.co...or-alcoholism/
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    Alcoholics in Bristol are trialing MDMA therapy


    Approval for world-first trial marks massive step forward for research into psychedelics as medicine.

    The UK’s first ever clinical study using MDMA has started in Bristol, in a landmark moment for the use of psychedelic drugs in psychotherapy.

    After years of work to get the go-ahead, the trial is offering a small group of alcoholics from Bristol an eight-week therapy course including small doses of MDMA.

    Research has already been done in the US into using MDMA to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with the aim to get the drug licensed as therapeutic medicine by 2021.

    But this is the world’s first ever study looking at whether the drug is similarly beneficial for treating addiction. Candidates in contact with Bristol’s drug services are going on a detox and receiving a course of MDMA-assisted therapy.

    Dr Ben Sessa, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist and senior research fellow at Imperial College London, who specializes in mental health and addiction, is leading the study.

    “MDMA represents the greatest, most innovative advance in psychiatric prescribing in the last 75 years, and it’s an opportunity not be missed in terms of developing this as a clinical tool,”
    he tells the Cable.

    MDMA has successfully been tested to treat PTSD, because the drug removes the patient’s fear response while leaving other faculties intact. This enables the patient to talk to a therapist about their trauma without fear, for possibly the first time in their life.

    “If you are carrying around memories of painful trauma that goes back to childhood, you often spend your whole life going there and avoiding it at all costs, whether that means becoming
    a heroin addict or an alcoholic or self-harming,”
    Sessa says. “The rationale behind this study is that we know MDMA works with trauma and that people with alcohol dependence have high levels of trauma in almost all cases, so we’re putting two and two together here.”

    The study, sponsored by Imperial College London and being run at a facility in the University of Bristol, has recruited daily dependent drinkers from Bristol drug services, who experience withdrawal when they stop drinking. After a detox of seven to ten days, instead of going into typical treatment like individual therapy or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), they start an 8-week MDMA therapy course.

    Eligible participants receive weekly sessions of psychotherapy, including two day-long sessions with MDMA, after which they stay in the treatment centre overnight and are closely monitored. Follow-ups at three, six and nine months will continue to assess the safety and tolerability of the drug, but also if the patients have relapsed or stayed dry.

    If this initial ‘open-label’ study goes well, the next stage will be a further ‘double-blind’ study alongside placebos in a few years.

    Addiction treatment ‘crying out for something new’

    Sessa says he was driven towards studying MDMA after seeing how ineffective traditional psychiatric methods are for a large group of people and “particularly those whose mental health problems are due to trauma or childhood abuse”.

    Currently, the rate of success for alcohol addiction treatment is extremely low. “We chose alcohol addiction because the current treatments for alcohol misuse disorder are very poor – the four-year relapse rate post detox is 80-90%, which is awful. After 100 years of modern psychiatry, is that the best we can do?” he asks. “People stay in treatment for years and it papers over the cracks by treating the symptoms but doesn’t get to the heart of the patients’ problem, which is often trauma. This diagnosis is crying out for something new.”

    But therapeutic MDMA use isn’t totally new. In fact, its history goes as far back as the mid-70s, as therapists who had been using LSD in psychiatry moved onto MDMA, which, unlike LSD,
    was still legal.

    “Some interesting research was done on trauma therapy in the early 80s, but then MDMA was banned,” Sessa says. “Of course banning drugs is a terrible way of managing them. The whole rave thing happened, MDMA became a recreational drug. All research stopped for 30 years.”

    Only recently has research recommenced. “There really has been a reawakening in the last 10 years. People are calling it the psychedelic renaissance,” he says.

    Examples of this renaissance are studies at Imperial looking at treating depression with psilocybin, which is found in magic mushrooms, and US scientists considering future research into using MDMA to treat eating disorders.

    Even with this renewed momentum, the legal status of MDMA in the UK has made it difficult to get the study approved, which has taken three years.

    “This is the UK’s first ever clinical study using MDMA. It’s been incredibly difficult, very expensive and has taken a lot of time and effort,” Sessa says. “We had delays when having the drug manufactured and adequately tested to meet all the right standards, as well as in getting the necessary regulatory approval and getting a Home Office license.”

    MDMA is a ‘schedule one’ drug – a regulatory category for substances that aren’t used as medicines – so it has to be tracked by the Home Office. Each site has to be inspected to acquire a license – from where it’s made, analysed and tested to where it’s encapsulated, administered and stored.

    Sessa describes MDMA as a “staggeringly safe” clinical medicine as opposed to the ecstasy tablets that are taken recreationally. Even the concerns about that are overplayed, Sessa says, because the number of deaths is very low considering the huge amount of use – 750,000 doses every weekend.

    Difficulties in getting this study up and running now mean future studies won’t have to jump through all the same hoops: “We’re trailblazing here and setting things up. I hope future studies
    will be much easier than this one.”


    US researchers from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) are aiming to get MDMA licensed for psychotherapy for PTSD by 2021. The drug is currently in the final stages of trials and was recently granted ‘breakthrough therapy designation’, by the U.S. Federal Drug Agency (FDA), meaning it has an advantage over existing treatments for PTSD.

    If a license is awarded for PTSD, MDMA could be used ‘off-license’ to treat other diagnoses in the UK, including addiction.

    Sessa is optimistic. “Once all the data is in, it will be impossible not to license this drug, because the medical profession won’t stand for it not to be.”

    https://thebristolcable.org/2018/04/...-mdma-therapy/
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    Ketamine therapy could treat alcohol addiction

    A one-off dose of the drug could help alcohol addicts reduce their intake by ‘erasing’ drink-related memories, say psychologists testing treatment.

    Scientists believe that a radical treatment involving the tranquilizer Ketamine could help overcome alcohol addiction by “erasing” drink-related memories.

    Psychologists based at University College London are testing whether a one-off dose of the drug could help hazardous drinkers who are trying to reduce their alcohol intake. Alcohol addiction is notoriously difficult to treat, and there are few effective therapies available.

    Using a recreational drug to treat addiction may sound counterintuitive, but the researchers say there is a growing body of research suggesting that ketamine can be used to disrupt harmful patterns of behaviour.

    Ravi Das, one of the lead researchers, said: “There is evidence that it could be useful as a treatment for alcoholism.”

    Crucially, ketamine can disrupt the formation of memories, and scientists believe that this property could be harnessed to over-write the memories that drive addiction and harmful patterns of behavior.

    “Memories that you form can be hijacked by drugs in some people,” said Das. “If you were an alcoholic you might have a strong memory of being in a certain place and wanting to drink. Those memories get continuously triggered by things in the environment that you can’t avoid.”

    For instance, seeing a glass of beer, hearing the clinking of glasses or even arriving home from work may trigger memories of the rewarding sensation of taking a drink – and might prompt a person to follow this urge.

    “The main problem is the really high relapse rate after treatment,” said Das. “People can successfully quit using over the short term while they’re being monitored in the hospital ... but when they return home they’re exposed to those environmental triggers again.”

    There is increasing evidence, however, that memories are less stable than once assumed and may be open to manipulation.

    Each time our brain accesses a memory, the neural connections that encode it are temporarily destabilized, meaning that our recollection can be slightly altered before it goes back into storage. This is one reason why, in everyday life, people can recall wildly different versions of the same events.

    In the clinic, scientists believe this short period of instability, represents a window of opportunity. Ketamine blocks a brain receptor called NMDA, which is required for the formation of memories. So the logic is that giving someone the drug just as a memory has been destabilized could help weaken the memory, or even erase it.

    A similar approach with a different drug was shown to eradicate people’s phobia of spiders. And research in rats that were made to be addicted to cocaine showed that the memories underpinning their addiction could be completely wiped out using a similar strategy (although this involved injecting a chemical into the brain).

    In the UCL trial, the scientists will intentionally trigger alcohol-related memories by placing a glass of beer in front of the participants, who are all heavy drinkers. They will then disrupt the memory, by surprising the participant (the team is not disclosing the exact details as this could bias the results).

    Participants will then be given either a ketamine infusion, with a concentration equivalent to a high recreational dose, or a placebo. The team will follow up the people for a year and monitor whether their drinking has changed and by how much.

    In total the scientists are aiming to include 90 people in the trial and more than 50 have already taken part. It involves people who drink harmful quantities of alcohol, but excludes anyone who meets the clinical criteria for alcoholism. The participants were drinking at least 40 units a week for men (equivalent to four bottles of strong wine) and 28 units for women, and drinking on at least four days.

    Nikki, 31, who works as a consultant in London said she decided to take part in the study when she had some time off between jobs and realised she was drinking more than she wanted to. “It’s just in the culture, that’s what all my friends are like. Everyone drinks to excess,” she said.

    She described the experience of being given the ketamine as “overwhelming and intense”, but not unpleasant. “My body felt like it was melting away,” she said. “It was quite psychedelic, I felt untethered from my body.”

    In the week after the session, she said, she felt in an “incredibly positive mood” and that since taking part she has been more conscious about deciding whether to have a drink, although said this could also be linked to starting a new job and taking up meditation. “In the past, there were occasions where I would be drinking and I’d be on autopilot ‘Let’s get another drink’,” she said.

    If the trial yields promising results, the team hope that the approach could form the basis for therapy sessions targeted at alcoholics and people who are drinking unhealthily. However, they acknowledge that there may be resistance to the use of a recreational drug to treat people with addiction.

    “There’s just the general social attitude that everything that’s illegal is terrible. There will obviously be that kind of narrow-sighted pushback,” said Das. “But if it’s safe and effective enough it should be recommended.”

    Andrew Misell, a spokesman for Alcohol Concern, said: “The researchers have quite rightly highlighted what a lot of people in recovery from alcohol problems know from experience, namely that cues or triggers like the smell of beer can cause a relapse even after long periods of abstinence. Any work looking at how people can overcome these pitfalls is going to be useful.”

    However, he added, no drug-based therapy is risk-free “and that certainly includes ketamine”.

    Professor Michael Saladin, of the Medical University of South Carolina, is looking at similar approaches to help people quit smoking. “There is a vast animal research literature that suggests memories can be manipulated following reactivation,” he said. “I am convinced that there is sufficient evidence to believe that memory reconsolidation can be harnessed for clinical purposes.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/...erase-memories



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    It's All Too Much


    Treating alcohol addiction with psychedelics

    Alcoholism is a terrible disease that can be destructive to health, career, and family; it can also be fatal. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year, making it the 3rd-highest preventable cause of death in the US. Traditional alcohol recovery programs can help, but alcohol addiction remains a serious issue spanning various age groups and income brackets.

    Treating alcoholism through psychedelic therapy has been studied since the 1950s, and research continues today into the treatment potential of substances like LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and ibogaine. The findings are encouraging and potentially life-changing for those who haven’t found relief through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or traditional rehab programs.

    Can LSD help reduce alcohol misuse?

    Some of the first major LSD studies and experiments occurred during the rowdy and revolutionary 60s, when young people were tuning in, turning on, and dropping out. Scientists conducted randomized clinical trials on the effects of LSD treatment for alcoholism, but the results of those studies were largely ignored or forgotten following the post-60s psychedelics backlash.

    Recently, Norwegian scientists Teri Krebs and Pal-Orjan Johansen decided to take a close look at this wealth of past data, and they conducted a meta-analysis of over 500 participants within six different clinical trials. Their findings, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2012, suggested that LSD could have a measurable positive effect on reducing alcohol misuse, even after a single dose.

    More support for LSD in the treatment of alcoholism comes from Bill Wilson, the founder of AA. In his biography, Pass It On, Wilson talks about his experimentation with LSD and likens its transformational power to the spiritual awakening he had (that convinced him to stop drinking). He communicates in the book that LSD poses little risk for the majority of people, and that it can play an important role in breaking down one’s ego and allowing a lasting inner transformation to occur.

    The power to create a peak experience that dissolves egoic patterns is certainly present in LSD, but it is also a common trait of many other psychedelic substances. In other words, there is an array of hallucinogens that may offer hope to those struggling with alcoholism.

    Other psychedelic options for treating alcoholism

    “These are unusual models in that it’s not like you take a pill every day for months or a year…You take a pill, you have an experience. The experience is powerful and insightful and rich.”

    -Dr. Stephen Ross, director of the alcohol and drug abuse program at Bellevue Hospital Center and lead psychedelics researcher at NYU Medical School.

    Another recent study carried out by the University of New Mexico explored how psilocybin-based “magic mushrooms” could be used to treat alcohol addiction. The findings showed that, like LSD, psilocybin showed promise for patients wanting to reduce or eliminate their dependency on alcohol. Psilocybin may even offer advantages as a treatment option; it doesn’t share LSD’s social stigma, and the trip duration is shorter.

    As a result of these encouraging studies, scientists, advocates, and organizations are pushing for more psychedelics research, to better understand the immense potential of psychedelic therapy in addiction recovery. Thanks to psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin, we are witnessing the dawn of an exciting new era in addiction treatment for alcoholism.

    https://psychedelictimes.com/psilocy...delic-therapy/

    -----

    LSD treatment for alcoholism gets new look

    For the past five years, Dr. Erika Dyck has been unearthing some intriguing facts related to a group of pioneering psychiatrists who worked in Saskatchewan, Canada in the '50s and '60s.

    Among other things, the University of Alberta history of medicine professor has found records of the psychiatrists' research that indicate a single dose of the hallucinogenic drug LSD, provided in a clinical, nurturing environment, can be an effective treatment for alcoholism.

    Her findings are published this month in the journal Social History of Medicine.

    After perceiving similarities in the experiences of people on LSD and people going through delirium tremens, the psychiatrists undertook a series of experiments. They noted that delirium tremens, also know as DTs, often marked a "rock bottom" or turning point in the behavior of alcoholics, and they felt LSD may be able to trigger such a turnaround without engendering the painful physical effects associated with DTs.

    As it turns out, they were largely correct.

    "The LSD somehow gave these people experiences that psychologically took them outside of themselves and allowed them to see their own unhealthy behavior more objectively, and then determine to change it," said Dyck, who read the researchers' published and private papers and recently interviewed some of the patients involved in the original studies--many of whom had not had a sip of alcohol since their single LSD experience 40 years earlier.

    According to one study conducted in 1962, 65 per cent of the alcoholics in the experiment stopped drinking for at least a year-and-a-half (the duration of the study) after taking one dose of LSD. The controlled trial also concluded that less than 25 per cent of alcoholics quit drinking for the same period after receiving group therapy, and less than 12 per cent quit in response to traditional psychotherapy techniques commonly used at that time.

    Published in the Quarterly Journal for Studies on Alcohol, the 1962 study was received with much skepticism. One research group in Toronto tried to replicate the results of the study, but wanted to observe the effect of LSD on the patients in isolation, so they blindfolded or tied up the patients before giving them the drug. Under such circumstances, the Toronto researchers determined LSD was not effective in treating alcoholism.

    The Saskatchewan group argued that the drug needed to be provided in a nurturing environment to be effective. However, the Toronto researchers held more credibility than the Saskatchewan researchers--who were led by a controversial, British psychiatrist, Dr. Humphry Osmond--and the Saskatchewan group's research was essentially buried.

    But Dyck believes there is value in the Saskatchewan group's experiments.

    "The LSD experience appeared to allow the patients to go through a spiritual journey that ultimately empowered them to heal themselves, and that's really quite an amazing therapy regimen," Dyck said. "Even interviewing the patients 40 years after their experience, I was surprised at how loyal they were to the doctors who treated them, and how powerful they said the experience was for them--some even felt the experience saved their lives."

    In spite of the promise LSD showed as psychotherapy tool, its subsequent popularity as a street drug, and the perception of it as a threat to public safety, triggered a worldwide ban in the late 1960s--including its use in medical experiments. However, the ban on its use in medical experiments appears to be lifting, Dyck noted. A few groups of researchers in the U.S., including a team at Harvard, have recently been granted permission to conduct experiments with LSD.

    "We accept all sorts of drugs, but I think LSD's 'street' popularity ultimately led to its demise," Dyck said. "And that's too bad, because I think the researchers in Saskatchewan, among others, showed the drug is unique and has some intriguing properties that need to be explored further."

    https://www.brightsurf.com/news/arti...-new-look.html
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    LSD therapy for alcohol dependence

    Here we take a look at a meta-analysis of using LSD therapy to treat alcoholism. Meta-analysis means that the study pools together data derived from multiple trials and re-analyses the combined evidence. The advantage is that the combined evidence reduces the statistical uncertainties, and permits more robust conclusions than any of the individual studies in isolation.

    To study the effectiveness of LSD therapy for alcohol dependence, the authors had to first find the records of the relevant clinical trials. Most of the trials were either non-randomised or
    open label (patients knew whether they are in the control group or not). The standards for clinical trials have been raised since the sixties, and these practices are nowadays considered serious methodological flaws. Thus, the authors excluded these papers from their meta-analysis, and only included studies with randomised controlled trials, where the control group received some form of active treatment. Six eligible trials have been identified. Among these trials, several studies lacked a detailed description of how the patients were recruited, so selection bias could not be completely eliminated. Two of the trials, moreover, have a risk of bias as treatment allocation was only concealed until the end of the LSD session (before the follow-up sessions, patients knew whether they were in the treatment or control group). These are legitimate concerns, and they weaken the conclusion of the meta-analysis.

    536 patients participated in the trials, with 325 (61 percent) randomly assigned to LSD treatment, and the remainder assigned to the control groups. In all of the trials, a single oral dose of LSD was administered. The median dose was 500ug, an extremely high dose in terms of recreational use (a typical blotter paper contains 120ug, although there are wide variations). The control conditions included active placebo, for example d-amphetamine, and very low doses of LSD (up to 50ug). Each of the trials had multiple follow-up sessions, where it was assessed whether the patient's alcohol problem had improved or not. The follow-up sessions were pooled together to form three time-categories: short (2-3 months), medium (6 months) and long term (12 months) follow-ups .

    To summarise the effectiveness of the LSD treatment and the control groups, the odds ratio was calculated (at each follow-up session). Without getting too technical, the odds ratio is the quotient of the odds that a patient has improved in the treatment group and the probability that a patient has improved in the control group. If the odds ratio is > 1 then the treatment is favoured over the control and the higher its value is, the more effective is the treatment compared to control.

    The difference between the LSD and control groups was statistically significant at the short- and medium-term, but not at the long-term follow-up. Looking at the odds ratios for different follow-up times, two observations should be made. The odds ratio suggests that LSD treatment is effective, but with its benefit diminishing with time. To account for the success, one study was quoted as saying that, it was rather common for patients to claim significant insight into their problems, to feel that they had been given a new lease on life, and to make a strong resolution to discontinue their drinking. This statement seems to reinforce the hypothesis behind LSD therapy. As for the diminishing benefits, one of the papers commented that most alcoholics report a waning of the initial inspiration, euphoria, and good intentions gleaned from the LSD experience when they are again confronted with the former stress and difficulties of their lives. To transfer the benefits to the long term, researchers have suggested extending the LSD treatment to multiple sessions, where each session is separated by a few months. In theory, the repeated LSD experiences could reinforce the will to quit. One could also, however, argue that the repeated LSD sessions would not be as motivating as the first one, as the patient gradually becomes more familiar with the experience.

    An important question to ask is how the results of LSD therapy compared to the results of other treatments? To address this question, the authors compared the effectiveness of LSD with Naltrexone, Acamprosate and Disulfiram treatments, all of which are common prescription medicines to help with alcohol addiction. The full statistical analysis would require much more technical detail, but in summary, it can be said that LSD compared favourably against all of these alternative drug treatments.

    Most trials made little effort to prepare the patients for the psychedelic experience. Typically, there was a brief orientation session, but there was rarely an in-depth discussion of LSDs effects. The authors point out that 8 patients (out of the 325, 2 percent experienced temporary adverse reaction to LSD (e.g. anxiety). Given the very high dosages and the lack of preparation, this is a somewhat surprisingly low number.

    Conclusion

    LSD would appear to be an effective treatment for alcohol dependence in the short and medium term, but the positive effects are diminished after 12 months. Despite the weakening effect,
    and the legitimate criticisms over possible bias of the trials, this meta-analysis provides evidence that argues for further research. Future studies could address whether repeated doses might extend the initial euphoria to long-term change, and whether the combination of LSD therapy with more conventional approaches could lead to lasting benefits. Furthermore, the trials used different doses of LSD; more empirical data is needed, in order to refine the dosage that maximises the benefits and minimises the adverse reactions. It remains to be seen whether scientists will be allowed to investigate these questions.

    https://drogriporter.hu/en/dose-of-s...ol-dependence/



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    AA founder believed LSD could help alcoholics stop drinking

    The co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) believed LSD could be used to cure alcoholics and credited the drug with helping his own recovery from often debilitating depression, according
    to new research.

    About 20 years after setting up the Ohio-based sobriety movement in 1935, Bill Wilson came to believe that LSD could help "cynical alcoholics" achieve a "spiritual awakening" and start on the path to recovery.

    The discovery that Wilson considered using the drug as an aid to recovery for addicts was made by Don Lattin, author of a book to be published in October by the University of California Press, entitled Distilled Spirits.

    Lattin found letters and documents revealing that Wilson at first struggled with the idea that one drug could be used to overcome addiction to another. LSD, which was first synthesised in 1938, is a non-addictive drug that alters thought processes and can inspire spiritual experiences. Wilson thought initially the substance could help others understand the alcohol-induced hallucinations experienced by addicts, and that it might terrify drinkers into changing their ways.

    But after his first acid trip, at the Veterans Administration (VA) hospital in Los Angeles on 29 August 1956, Wilson began to believe it was insight, not terror, that could help alcoholics recover.

    LSD, by mimicking insanity, could help alcoholics achieve a central tenet of the Twelve Step programme proposed by AA, he believed. It was a matter of finding "a power greater than ourselves" that "could restore us to sanity". He warned: "I don't believe [LSD] has any miraculous property of transforming spiritually and emotionally sick people into healthy ones overnight. It can set up a shining goal on the positive side, after all it is only a temporary ego-reducer."

    But Wilson added: "The vision and insights given by LSD could create a large incentive – at least in a considerable number of people."

    His words were found in a late 50s letter to Father Ed Dowling, a Catholic priest and member of an experimental group he had formed in New York to explore the spiritual potential of LSD.

    Wilson is known to have taken LSD in supervised experiments in the 1950s with Betty Eisner, an American psychologist known for pioneering use of LSD and other psychedelic drugs as adjuncts to psychotherapy, and Sidney Cohen, a psychiatrist in Los Angeles.

    Wilson also discussed, in great detail, taking LSD with the author Aldous Huxley, and it is likely, though not proven, that the pair experimented with the drug together.

    "I am certain that the LSD experiment has helped me very much," Wilson wrote in a 1957 letter to the science writer and philosopher Gerald Heard. "I find myself with a heightened color perception and an appreciation of beauty almost destroyed by my years of depression."

    In a talk given in 1976, Humphry Osmond, the British psychiatrist who coined the word "psychedelic", said he told Wilson in 1956 "that LSD was good news."

    Osmond said: "But Wilson was far from pleased with the idea of alcoholics being assailed by some strange chemical. Later on Bill got extremely interested and … he likened his LSD experience to his earlier vision of seeing this chain of drunks around the world, all helping each other. This caused various scandals in AA. They were very ambivalent about their great founder taking LSD, yet they wouldn't have existed if he hadn't been of an adventurous kind of mind."

    Lattin also found letters in which Eisner described Wilson's thoughts when attending the VA hospital in 1956 to take LSD in a controlled experiment with herself, Cohen and Wilson's wife, Lois. "Alcoholics Anonymous was actually considering using LSD," Eisner wrote. "Alcoholics get to a point in the program where they need a spiritual experience but not all of them are able to have one."

    In a letter to Heard in September 1956, shortly after his first LSD experience, Wilson admitted he was appreciating the drug's value. "I do feel a residue of assurance and a feeling of enhanced beauty that seems likely to stay by me."

    A few months on Wilson was yet more positive about the long-term benefits. "More and more it appears to me that the experience has done a sustained good," he wrote to Heard on 4 in December 1956. "My reactions to things totally, and in particular, have very definitely improved for no other reason that I can see."

    Lattin said Wilson was "so intrigued by the spiritual potential of LSD" he formed the experimental group that included Dowling, and Eugene Exman, Harper's religious book editor. Wilson, however, remained sensitive to the controversy of his experiments. In a letter to Cohen, written between 1956 and 1961, he reported hearing gossip about his LSD use in AA circles. He reminded Cohen about "the desirability" of omitting his name "when discussing LSD with AAs." Cohen reassured Wilson that his LSD trials did not include other active AA members.

    In 1958 Wilson defended his drug use in a long letter but soon afterwards removed himself from the AA governing body to be free to do his experiments.

    According to the anonymous author of his official biography, Wilson felt LSD "helped him eliminate many barriers erected by the self, or ego, that stand in the way of one's direct experiences of the cosmos and of god". He "thought he might have found something that could make a big difference to the lives of many who still suffered".

    But, according to Pass It On, published in 1984 by AA World Services in New York, the movement was totally against his suggestions. "As word of Bill's activities reached the fellowship there were inevitable repercussions. Most AAs were violently opposed to his experimenting with a mind-altering substance. LSD was then totally unfamiliar, poorly researched, and entirely experimental – and Bill was taking it."

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/...oholics-theory
    Last edited by mr peabody; 19-06-2018 at 23:29.
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    Ibogaine therapy for alcohol dependence

    In the case of alcohol it is essential to be thoroughly detoxified and finished with all withdrawal before initiating ibogaine treatment. Alcohol withdrawal induces heart rhythm irregularities and spikes in blood pressure which can be fatal in the presence of ibogaine. At least one week needs to elapse between the last drink and the initiation of ibogaine treatment – longer if possible. Ibogaine induced heart rhythm irregularities have been documented for up to five days after the ingestion of ibogaine, so it is essential to remain drug and alcohol free for at least a week following ibogaine treatment.

    https://www.rehabs.com/pro-talk-arti...effectiveness/

    -----

    In lab tests, alcohol-addicted mice drank less alcohol after being injected with ibogaine. Ibogaine also helped them stay "on the wagon" after being weaned off alcohol. After the ibogaine injection, alcohol consumption of the mice dropped sharply. The ibogaine injections also helped the mice resist the temptation to start drinking again after being deprived of alcohol for two weeks.

    "Interestingly, human anecdotal reports also suggest a decrease in craving and relapse to addictive drugs after ibogaine intake," say the researchers in The Journal of Neuroscience.

    The key to ibogaine's influence seems to be its ability to boost levels of Glial cell line-Deprived Neurotrophic Factor. It is found in reward regions of the brain linked to addiction. Evidence for that came by testing the brains of the mice for signs of ibogaine's impact on GDNF levels.

    https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/...lism-treatment

    -----

    Ibogaine increases electricity in the heart, which is one of the reasons reputable clinics do cardiac screenings – to assess how the heart conducts electricity. Ibogaine has some features that require vigilance, and most experts conclude that thorough pre-screening and medical monitoring during the experience is crucial to its safety as a treatment for detoxification.

    Ibogaine also induces bradycardia (it lowers heart rate, normally by about 10 beats per minute during a typical dose of 12–20mg/kg). The risk of bradycardia is that the heart rate can go very low. If the heart rate stays too low for too long of a period, this can require immediate administration of atropine. This is a serious life-threatening situation that requires medical intervention.

    QT prolongation is another major risk with ibogaine. The QT interval is a measure of the heart’s electrical cycle, or the time it takes for the ventricle to get ready from one contraction to the next. During this period, the heart is vulnerable to cardiac arrhythmias and other serious complications. Alcohol withdrawal results in QT prolongation as well, so combining ibogaine with alcohol detox can be extremely dangerous.

    https://www.psymposia.com/magazine/h...00-treatments/

    -----

    Ibogaine is an effective detox tool and technique for addiction interruption. It also offers profound insight and introspection that can be utilized to heal deep psychological and emotional wounds. Before doing Ibogaine though, it is absolutely necessary that the individual abstain from alcohol both for safety and for efficacy of the medication for a minimum of 3-5 days.

    -xyz clinic



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