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    Distinguished Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    Default Psychedelics and alcoholism

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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 George’s 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 mescaline’s 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 Osmond’s interest for the next 2 decades and inspired him to embark on a variety of experiments.

    Osmond and Smythies’ colleagues at St George’s 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. Osmond’s 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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    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 Tófoli, 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," Flávia de Lima Osório and Rafael Guimarães 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 São Paulo (USP) Medical School in Ribeirão 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," Flávia wrote. "Many patients don't get an effective therapeutic response. New pharmaceuticals, that act faster and more efficiently with less side effects, are necessary."

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    Beneficial effect of LSD on alcoholism

    By Nick Collins

    In the 60s and 70s several clinics ran trials to determine whether lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, could help alcoholics overcome their dependence with varying degrees of success. The supervisors of one trial noted: "It was rather common for patients to claim significant insights into their problems, and to feel that they had been given a new lease on life, and to make a strong resolution to discontinue their drinking."

    None of the experiments featured enough patients to draw any firm conclusions, but now a reanalysis of all the data taken together, totalling 536 patients, suggests the treatment could have potential after all. The new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that LSD had a positive effect on alcohol misuse in each of the trials, with 59 per cent of patients who took the drug having improved at follow-up, compared with 38 per cent who took a placebo. A single dose of LSD produces benefits which last between six and 12 months, and repeated doses along with modern treatments could ensure longer term results, the researchers said.

    The drug, which causes hallucinations that make users experience the world in a distorted way, is not physically addictive but some experte believe users can become dependant on its effects, for example from a need to distance themselves from reality.

    Pål-Ørjan Johansen, Norwegian researcher and fellow of Harvard Medical School, who led the research, said: "Given the evidence for a beneficial effect of LSD on alcoholism, it is puzzling why this treatment approach has been largely overlooked."

    Dr David Nutt, former advisor on drugs to the government, said: "I think this study is very interesting and it is a shame the last of these studies were done in the 1960s. I think these drugs might help people switch out of a mindset which is locked into addiction or depression and be a way of helping the brain switch back to where it should be, in a similar way that Alcoholics Anonymous programs do."

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    PSILOCYBIN: 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 co-therapists, 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 six hours. It was a 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 eventually drank again, but moderately, with a conscientiousness he'd never experienced with alcohol before.

    Two years after completing the UNM study, Jason's drinking remains limited and under control. He may have a couple beers or glasses of wine after work, but, he says, "I'm 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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    Forever grateful

    By Daniel Wilby

    My first LSD trip pretty much cured my alcoholism. The second and third put me well on my way to working through my four year-long depression. I was utterly astounded by the miraculous effects, so of course I had to google it.

    A few clicks and I had, among other things, learned that:

    * LSD had, before being criminalized, been used with fantastic results to cure addiction problems, such as alcoholism, where it often took only one trip to cure the person.
    * One of the founders of AA was a strong advocate of LSD and was actually well on his way to start a program to distribute it throughout AA.
    * LSD had a far greater success rate in curing alcoholism, than the AA 12 step program has ever had.
    * LSD has also been used with great success to cure depression.
    * Albert Hofmann’s 100th birthday was right around the corner and he was alive and kicking.
    * In his honour there was a LSD conference being arranged in Basel, Switzerland, and everyone who was somebody in the psychedelic community would be there, along with the guest of honour, Albert Hofmann himself.

    I had to go.

    I was flat broke, but there are moments in life that are just too important to miss. This was one of them. I was probably the most inexperienced of the whole crowd, having taken LSD four or five times by then. The lectures were absolutely amazing and confirmed scientifically the effects and experiences that I was trying to describe to friends and family.

    On the final night, after listening to Albert Hofmann tell about his first experience, there was a wonderful party on a boat. It was full of psychedelic explorers, psychonauts of all generations. There were academics and hippies mixed up with ravers and artists. And of course the best LSD I have ever encountered.

    I had never been to a rave before. My first encounter was on two drops of LSD and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Everyone on the dance floor was dancing in the same direction and they were rediscovering and reinventing what dance, body language and social interaction was. It was as if they had taken out social programming A, and were busy programming social programming B. People were friendly and caring, not at all the type of interaction that I was used to from night clubs.

    Today is the 19th of April. It is Bicycle day. Today it is 71 years ago (1943) that Albert Hofmann first took his first intentional LSD trip to try to determine the effects of the peculiar substance that he had synthesized, while looking for a migraine cure. He took 250 micrograms, which he thought would be a threshold dose. It turned out that LSD was really potent. A threshold dose is approximately 20 micrograms. 250 micrograms is a powerful trip and feeling uneasy Hofmann early on decided to go home. Due to war time restrictions he took his bike and it was under that
    bike trip that the LSD really came to full effect.

    Thank you, Albert Hofmann, for this truly miraculous substance. And thank you, LSD, for saving my life. In honor of you, I have named my son Albert. I am forever grateful.

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    LSD as a treatment for alcoholism

    By Arran Frood

    The powerful hallucinogen LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) has potential as a treatment for alcoholism, according to a retrospective analysis of studies published in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    The study, by neuroscientist Teri Krebs and clinical psychologist Pål-Ørjan Johansen of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, is the first-ever quantitative meta-analysis of LSD-alcoholism clinical trials. The researchers sifted through thousands of records to collect data from randomized, double-blind trials that compared one dose of LSD to a placebo.

    Of 536 participants in six trials, 59% of people receiving LSD reported lower levels of alcohol misuse, compared to 38% of people who received a placebo. "We were surprised that the effect was so clear and consistent," says Krebs. She says 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 says. In general, the reported benefits lasted three to six months. Their findings are published today in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

    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 Pass It On: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the AA Message Reached the World.

    In the last decade or so, however, a new generation of researchers have been interested in harnessing the therapeutic benefits of illicit drugs -- such as 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy) for post-traumatic stress disorder, ayahuasca for drug and alcohol dependency, and psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms, for smoking cessation.

    How psychedelics exert such effects, especially after a single dose, remains unclear. LSD and its chemical cousins share structural similarities with the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is linked to many aspects of mood, memory and pleasure. These psychedelics also bind the same receptor sites in the brain as serotonin, but there the similarity may end -- studies have shown that the hallucinogens elicit chemical cascades different from other compounds that bind at the same receptor. To complicate matters further, LSD also acts at other receptors.

    For the moment, studying human behavioural responses rather than brain chemistry may be more helpful in understanding how the drugs work. 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 probably work in addiction 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.

    Roland Griffiths, a behavioural biologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, is investigating the influence of psilocybin on smoking cessation, and says that psychedelics sometimes give rise to distinctive, insightful experiences that can produce enduring positive changes in attitude, mood and behaviour.

    "This is impressive and important work," says Matthew Johnson, a psychiatrist also at Johns Hopkins University who is now 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 behaviour therapy," he says.

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    How ibogaine reverses alcohol addiction

    By Biotech Daily

    Researchers using rodent models have found that the controversial drug ibogaine reverses alcohol addiction by increasing the level of the protein GDNF (glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor) in the ventral tegmental area of the brain.

    Ibogaine, which is extracted from a West African shrub, has been shown to reverse addiction to alcohol and some drugs, but potentially serious side effects have prevented its widespread acceptance.

    In a paper published in The Journal of Neuroscience, investigators at UCSF showed that ibogaine acted specifically on the ventral tegmental area of the brain. After injecting the drug into the brains of rats, the investigators found that loss of craving for alcohol was accompanied by an increase in the level of GDNF expressed by cells in the ventral tegmental area. Treating the animals with specific antibodies to prevent GDNF expression reversed the anti-addictive action of ibogaine, and direct injection of GDNF prevented addiction in the same manner as injection of ibogaine.

    "By identifying the brain protein that ibogaine regulates to reduce alcohol consumption in rats, we have established a link between GDNF and reversal of addiction--knowledge of a molecular mechanism that should allow development of a new class of drugs to treat addiction without ibogaine's side effects,” said senior author Dr. Dorit Ron, associate professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. "If we can alter the GDNF pathway, we may well have a new treatment against alcohol and drug addiction without the unwanted side effects of ibogaine.”

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    Depression, Alcoholism and Ayahuasca

    By Erica Baran Fasano

    The day of my ayahuasca ceremony finally arrived. I’d never been so excited to get there, get started, and get it over with. The two months leading up to this day had been like the 12 days of Christmas. I was dying to open up my beautifully wrapped presents under the tree. Except, this was a different type of unwrapping altogether. As my friends and I arrived to the ceremonial space, we were greeted by other participants sitting on their beds on the floor alongside their buckets facing the shaman’s alter. My friends and I turned towards each other as I said, “What the hell did I get us into?” But, there was no turning back now. It was go time. We set up our beds and buckets at our assigned seats. The ceremony started promptly at 5pm.

    The shaman sat down, welcomed the newcomers as there had been a ceremony the evening prior. He briefly explained how he was going to dose and serve the Ayahuasca over the course of the ceremony. We are asked to state our intentions before our first serving of the medicine. Then, we begin. I sat in between by friends as we prepare to to take our doses. I’ve never been so terrified. Little did I realize that this night was about to change the rest of my life forever. After everyone received their serving, we now wait for the medicine to take effect. The shaman begins chanting and singing Icaros. These are songs sung in Spanish to the spirits of plants to help them start taking effect.

    About 30-40 minutes into the ceremony, I feel the presence of the Mother inside of every cell of my body. She has come to sit with me. I felt her gently coursing through my veins, my stomach, and my mind. I felt an ultimate surrender and laid down on my bed. Then, I felt the most intense wave of nausea hit me and began to purge into my bucket. It felt amazing to throw up and I continued to do so for about an hour. I felt all of my fears, insecurities, traumas, depression, doubts, anxieties, and addictions being flung out of my body mercilessly into the bottom my bucket. I felt freedom from it all! I looked at all of the demons in my bucket and said goodbye forever. After my hour of purging came to end, I began to sob uncontrollably for another hour. I had been filled with intense gratitude, compassion and love. I felt myself as a child being held in my mothers arms rocking me back and forth hearing the words, “It’s ok. I’m with you and I’m not leaving your side. You take as much time as you need to cry. You need this.”

    The Mother was consoling me as I was being shown my life in chronological order, it’s geneaology, down to the roots of each generation. I was shown the pain and it’s origins in my family tree and kept saying “Thank you” repeatedly. I felt like I was wrapped in a blanket of unconditional love, so safe, so grateful. I clung to my blanket and pillow like they were my only possessions and felt immense gratitude for having them to hold. I felt myself going from repeatedly saying thank you to “I’m sorry”. I felt all the pain inside of myself, my family, my past choices and the pain they caused others, and the pain that my family carries unknowingly. I felt one with it all. I was seeing it through compassionate, loving, and truthful eyes for the first time in my life.

    I finally understood the root cause of it all. I suddenly felt touched by a blissful feeling I had never experienced but always knew existed. I tuned back into the beautiful Icaros permeating the room, connecting me deeper to my Mother. I sat up and began to rock back and forth in delight. The sun was setting and the fire was radiating a glowing warmth throughout the room. I felt in love. I felt loved. I felt safe. I felt free. I felt so grateful. I felt forgiven. I felt whole again. For the next several hours of the ceremony, I was in conversation with the Mother. It was like a Q & A session, hearing her give me answers to questions I’ve been seeking out for what felt like an eternity. It was like I was being rewarded for all the hard work and preparation leading up to this moment. I continued to unwrap my gifts one at a time slowly, savoring each second. I was so in each moment that it was almost impossible to think of anything else. She wouldn’t allow for it. She had my commanded my undivided attention in such a seductive way, like a snake slithering rhythmically through the jungle that resides inside my body.

    I felt her presence starting to fade slowly, not wanting to part with her yet. I could’ve stayed there with her forever. Before she slipped away for the evening, I heard her say to me, “We are just getting started. I’ll be here when you are ready to come back. We have more to do.” I felt like I was just made love to and couldn’t wait for it to happen again. It was the most amazing and most profound experience of my life. It was difficult to sleep that night as I was overloaded on processing all the new information I had just been gifted. I went outside and looked up at the stars in the night sky and cried. I felt overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment. That I had just done something so important and life changing. My life was forever changed this night. I looked up, understanding everything, but not sure how to use this new set of vocabulary and context. I knew I had my work cut out for me in the life that was waiting for me back home.

    The next 3 months ahead of me, post-ceremony, packed a brutal punch. It was the transition and integration that proved to be the toughest part of it all. The ceremony seemed like a walk in the park in hindsight. I found that the plant medicine was continuing its work within the real world. I had some hard times, profound shifts, hard conversations, and found myself retreating inward to make sense of what I just did to my life. I turned it completely upside down, inside out, sideways and every which way. I felt alive again. I felt in love again with myself and my life. My consciousness was completely shifted. I was able to see all the same things with a new set of eyes, perspective and a whole new vocabulary to describe them. My depression was non-existent. I had developed a physical aversion to alcohol anytime I saw it. Remembering the part of the ceremony where the Mother showed why I do not need alcohol anymore. She explained that I used it as a coping method as well as self-medication for a very long time. I no longer needed that as I’m entering a new frontier of my life that doesn’t have room for that.

    It’s been 13 months since to took my last drink as well as being off anti-depressants. And, I’ve lost over 30 pounds. Talk about a snake shedding it’s old skin! My love affair with alcohol, deep in the throes of depression, seems like a lifetime ago. I’ve been given a true gift of living a life in transformation. I have absolutely no cravings for alcohol. My creativity is off the charts. I’ve been gifted with a profound and prolific time of creativity in my life. It’s bubbling over with a new joy, meaning, and application. I’ve found a new love for my life, my art, my music, my wife, my family, and my friends. I’m in love again for the first time as I found a new relationship in my life. This new relationship has removed the veil that was once shrouded with guilt, unworthiness, self- loathing, suffering and death. I have a new life filled with unconditional love, endless support, prolific creativity, deeper meaning and purpose in my relationships and a new found self-love and a relentless self-worth. I am truly grateful for having been given another chance at my life. I’m beyond humbled to share my story with others in that it may reach those who are in need of a new perspective on how to live again. You are not limited to your diagnosis. You can see it as a life sentence as I once did. Or, you can see it as a shiny new gift placed at the center of your heart, awaiting it’s opening.

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    Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for alcoholism

    Ketamine is a prescription drug used for general anesthesia. In subanesthetic doses, it induces profound psychedelic experiences and hallucinations. The subanesthetic effect of ketamine was the hypothesized therapeutic mechanism in the authors' use of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for alcoholism. The results of a controlled clinical trial demonstrated a considerable increase in efficacy of the authors' standard alcoholism treatment when supplemented by ketamine psychedelic therapy (KPT). Total abstinence for more than one year was observed in 65.8 percent of alcoholic patients in the KPT group, as compared to 24 percent of the conventional treatment control group (p<0.01). The authors' studies of the underlying psychological mechanisms of KPT have indicated that ketamine-assisted psychedelic therapy of alcoholic patients induces a harmonization of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) personality profile, positive transformation of nonverbalized (mostly unconscious) self-concept and emotional attitudes to various aspects of self and other people, positive changes in life values and purposes. important insights into the meaning of life and anincrease in the level of spiritual development. Most importantly, these psychological changes were shown to favor a sober lifestyle. The data from biochemical investigations showed that the phannacological action of KPT affects both monoaminergic and opioidergic neurotransmitter metabolism, i.e., those neurochemical systems which are involved in the pathogenesis of alcohol dependence. The data from EEG computer-assisted analysis demonstrated that ketamine increases theta activity in cerebrocortical regions of alcoholic patients. This is evidence of the reinforcement of limbic cortex interaction during the KPT session.

    -Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

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    Ketamine for the treatment of alcoholism

    Evgeny Krupitsky, MD, PhD, chief of the research laboratory at St. Petersburg Regional Center of Addictions and Psychopharmacology, has been researching the treatment of alcoholism and addiction with ketamine since the 1980s and hopes to extend his research to encompass post-traumatic stress disorder in the near future. In 1985, he developed ketamine psychedelic therapy - which was initially merely a method for increasing suggestibility and enhancing aversive treatment for alcoholism - publishing his first report on the method in 1992.

    He found that ketamine induced total abstinence in 66 percent of his alcoholic patients (versus 24 percent of the non-psychedelic control group) for as long as a year. He observed improvement in personality profile, positive transformation of self-concept and emotional attitudes to various aspects of self, positive changes in life values, and improved spiritual development in the ketamine group. What is the contribution of the psychedelic experience to this improvement? Krupitsky posited nine factors:

    1. Stable, positive psychological changes.

    2. Personality growth and self-cognition.

    3. Important insights into existential problems and the meaning of life.

    4. Transformation of one’s “life value system.”

    5. A change of view of one’s self and the world around.

    6. Insight into life and death.

    7. A rise of creative energies.

    8. Broadening of spiritual horizons.

    9. Harmonization of a person’s relationships with the world and with other people.

    In 1991, another Soviet psychiatrist, Igor Kungurtsev MD, who initially worked with Krupitsky and later immigrated to the United States, published a summary of his own experiences treating alcoholism with ketamine.

    Although, like Krupitsky, he initially felt that ketamine simply made alcohol aversive in a purely behavioral way, he radically changed his approach following a series of ketamine self-administrations and instead It is gratifying to see that NIMH is following MAPS’ lead in supporting the treatment of psychiatric disorders with psychedelic drugs adopted a transpersonal model for therapy in order to better utilize the profound mystical experiences induced by ketamine. He found that successful treatment of alcoholism with ketamine was correlated with a changed spiritual outlook.

    -ABSC
    Last edited by Sherman Peabody; 09-24-2017 at 10:54 AM. Reason: Links led to 404 error pages. Please check links before posting.

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    Distinguished Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    How LSD cured my alcoholism

    The only thing holding me back all these years was the classic text book answer, DENIAL. I spent years ridiculing AA, and basically the system in general. Sure I played it a couple times, but I was never there on my own. Lies were the foundation of my addiction. You know the old saying you can't love anyone until you love yourself, well I believe the same holds true for lying. I lied to myself for years and didn't know it, just because of that famous word DENIAL. I knew I was different or rather thought, I had all the answers.

    I drank because I loved to get ****ed up, without even knowing I was lying to myself, and I never found the root cause to my addiction. For years it was band aid fixes and destruction compounding over the years. I was unwilling pretty much is what it was. I wanted to go outside the norm and prove I wasn't an alcoholic, when deep down inside I knew I had a problem, and little lies to myself started it all. I would wake up shaking, feeling sick, and usually in secret I would have morning drinks, to knock off the edge. This pattern would set the foundation up until the final days of my drinking career.

    I could ramble on and list all the cliche things I did, hiding drinks, taking extra shots in the morning, and the funny thing is for years I was convinced it was because I wanted to keep the party going, never once sitting back and looking at the big picture to see the underlying cause of my drinking, I was blinded by Denial, and I did your typical alcoholic things - I lied, I stole, I hurt my spouse, and I always promised to change. I'm not saying I didn't mean it, I truly did. But I didn't know the cause of my addiction.

    I disappointed many people including friends and family, and I was forgiven most of the time. I lost jobs for not showing up, and calling in “sick.” I look back after all this, and this was life's way of foreshadowing my realization this time around. The question was did my subconscious know I was ”sick”? Because I had no options on those famous sick days - be sick, or keep drinking and go in drunk. And that same concept held true for every event I was “sick” for. The answer was so close, yet so far away. I was blinded by addiction, a term I now believe exists. And the word denial means something a whole lot more now. I understand, and I am willing.

    So fast forward. I lost it all... I wasn't there for [my] kids..., I pretty much lost my job..., [and] the booze was part of it..., I had hit what addicts call “rock bottom.” I had tried rehab and AA, and nothing worked for me.

    In desperation and pretty much in secret I started looking up how psychedelic therapy worked in the past when LSD was readily available, I had heard [the] rumor that it was
    a cure, so to speak. It got rid of the compulsion. I heard psychiatrists used to give the “alcoholic” a high dose of LSD and during the peak when ego death occurred the family would come in and basically attack the patient and really let them know in a no holds barred environment how much alcohol was messing up the family. And after the supervised trip some counseling would be done, and the alcoholic appeared to be cured, never wanting to drink again.

    So I made a decision I was going to use LSD as a last ditch effort. I had to keep this all down low and not because LSD is illegal, procuring it is easy and was the least of my concerns. It was everything else, the logistics behind such a plan. The amounts of LSD they were giving back in the day was not what I wanted to do myself, especially “alone,” so I picked up one hit at 150ug (micrograms). I now needed a family, knowing mine wouldn't approve or want to [hear what] was on my mind. So in late spring after I saw my children I proceeded with trying to cut back [my] drinking. But when I did, I used my phone to document myself, not hours but moments here and there. And if I wasn't capable, I had a friend who would do it for me.

    So after several weeks and not watching these videos, I was sure I had horrible footage, disgusting footage. Words can't express what I knew those recordings would have. I saved texts, pretty much anything that could be told to me by family members, so after a couple weeks I had that part done. Now I was ready. I sat on these things for a few more weeks and then one day I knew it was time, I am not sure what it was but I just knew, I had blown through most of my paycheque, I lost personal items, and I was in bad shape. I knew at the end of that month I was ready. So on that evening I locked myself in my room and proceeded to take the LSD with all lights off, and recording I sat in the dark, with them on a loop and listened; I didn't know the person I came to know quite well.

    The LSD opened up a part of my brain that let me look from outside in and make an assessment as to how to change things. The trip last just over 5 hours at its peak and I rode it out for about 8. I watched, listened and looked for answers. And I am not sure what triggered it but I saw something in that drunken asshole. I didn't see someone who wanted to get “****ed up,” I saw a sick man, I saw someone who was sick without a drink, I looked sick. I could feel it just listening [to] the recordings. And the family has spoken and I listened, I started to think of other events in my life which led to this conclusion. I had an answer I was/am sick. And now that I knew the root cause I could proceed to fix it.

    I came to realize that I was using alcohol to medicate, and not emotionally, but physically. Somewhere along the way I had become physically addicted, where my body needed alcohol to feel normal. The when doesn't matter. What matters is I found an answer, I found out I was getting sick without it. The foreshadowing was right. I looked at everything, I would drink to feel normal, and side effects were getting drunk, and as I needed more and more I drank and drank. The intoxication wasn't what I was going for, it was feeling normal. But there is no balance, either you're normal or drunk. I also realized I hated drinking. I wanted to stop, I had the will. But I needed it.

    In an instant I had an answer and I knew it to be the one I was seeking, it made sense. Everything fell into place. So that year, I did my own solo LSD intervention, I wouldn't recommend [it] for all, but under [the] right circumstances there's a magic there. I was lucky it went the way it did. With no formal training I did psychedelic therapy on myself, and for the moment it seemed to work. I talked myself out of [the] trip and played all the roles in this therapy. The story doesn't end there. I was still sick, I still wanted to drink. It didn't cure me, it gave me the key to the end of alcohol. I had a few days I figured would be the worst of it, so I stayed home, I locked myself in room and detoxed, and never let the memory of that trip fade away.

    As the sickness went away and the compulsion left, the memory of that night never faded, and hasn't; I am constantly reminded why I did what I did. Crazy thing is it's working, I have no love affair with booze, I don't miss waking up confused, sometimes literally dumb, or wondering what I did, or checking my texts. All those side effects to alcohol aren't with me anymore. I do have another outlook on my addiction and how powerful addiction really can be. I don't believe that if a person is addicted to one they must be addicted to all. I realize alcohol is my poison, and I believe it was that first time I got physically addicted and I've been fighting it since, never knowing. Which led to all the failed attempts.

    I still use some intoxicants, mainly pot. Call it the lesser of two evils. My point is that alcohol is no longer there, and small changes are happening. I am writing this because I feel the need to document what could be the moment that saved and gave me my life back. I am grateful each day for not drinking. And I owe it to myself to keep up with it, but it was LSD that gave me the answer, and for that I will forever be grateful. It worked for me in the past and it sure as hell seems to be working now. The point is I am sober and happy and I have no intention of getting SICK again and letting DENIAL get the best of me.

    I will never forget the answer. It is my answer, and one day I'm sure others will share my gratitude. REMEMBER THE VALUE OF HAVING AN OPEN MIND AND BELIEVING IN POSSIBILITY. After all, it is only human.

    -somahaoma (Bluelight)

    -----

    How alcohol ruined my life and ibogaine changed it

    By Jessica L

    Alcohol ruined my life. Period. It’s like looking back, I know why I drank, knew of course, at least toward the end that I had a problem. My entire waking existence was governed by alcohol. If I wasn’t drunk, then I couldn’t do it. It was simple. In my mind, I lived better when I was drinking. I was a better friend, better mom, better daughter. I worked better when I was drunk, I mean who really wants a sober, quiet bartender, right? Was I an alcoholic before I started working at the bar? Probably not, but I definitely drank. Being a bartender just made it easier. Do I blame my former profession as a bartender for my road to alcoholism? Definitely not. I know plenty of people in the industry who are not raging alcoholics. I, it turned out, was just not one of them.

    Ironically, it was while working at the bar I first heard of ibogaine. I was loaded, or course, but loaded was like my sober. Without alcohol I was sick. I couldn’t function (I thought) without it. I was, by this time, drinking every morning, shaking and incoherent until I had those first few shots. For some reason, I listened to what this guy across the bar from me was telling me. It wasn’t him that had taken ibogaine, but one of his buddies that, according to him, had succumb to a pretty raw heroin addiction. I listened, hearing him talk about his friend’s addiction as if he were talking about me. All he needed to do was switch the person and the addiction, and me and this guy could have been the same person. I couldn’t get this conversation out of my mind for weeks so I decided to do my own research on ibogaine. I sat at the computer for hours that day, seriously feeling that the whole conversation with this guy was part of something so much bigger. The things I read spoke more clearly to me than anything else I’d ever known about addiction treatment before. You couldn’t get me near an AA meeting, and I had no idea there were really other options out there. I also, had no real desire to quit drinking before I read about ibogaine. I know I had ruined relationships, my girlfriend had left me months before, and my old friends wouldn’t really have anything to do with me, but none of that really seemed to matter to me. It was like, that was my fate, and I could really have cared less.

    Ibogaine changed all of this. All my research led to this incredible need within to see what this was all about. I can’t explain it more than some crazy act of divine intervention, and it seemed like from the moment I learned about what it was, I knew I had to know more. That need did not go away, and not even two weeks after I learned more about what it was, I was on a plane to Mexico. This, it turns out, has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

    From the time I arrived until the time I left, I knew I was supposed to be there no matter how surreal the whole experience was. I was sick. I am now well. I was scared. I have lost my fear. Now I see it changed everything, only when I first got to the clinic, I didn’t know why I was really there, only that I felt I needed to. Did I think I needed treatment? I must have, even if it wasn’t on a conscious level. I don’t remember thinking “oh I am an alcoholic that needs to get treatment.” Not at all. It was more like, I need to see what this is about. I need to know if this is real. There has been nothing more real in my life. Although I choose not to share what my visual experience was like (it is something I feel is sacred and meant only for me), I will say that what I saw during treatment, was everything connected and there was no other place I was supposed to be than in that clinic under the influence of this powerful African root. When it was over I knew I would never drink again. I also knew that I wasn’t losing anything and was gaining everything.

    https://www.netmums.com/coffeehouse/...n-support-462/

    -----

    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 six hours. It was a 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 eventually drank again, but moderately, with a conscientiousness he'd never experienced with alcohol before.

    Two years after completing the UNM study, Jason's drinking remains limited and under control. He may have a couple beers or glasses of wine after work, but, he says, "I'm 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."

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/arti...ting-addiction
    Last edited by Sherman Peabody; 10-06-2017 at 12:18 AM.

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    Distinguished Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    LSD for alcohol addiction: Study

    By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MD

    Hallucinogenic drug LSD could help alcoholics give up drinking, according to an analysis of 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 programmes, 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 six 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.

    Prof David Nutt, had earlier called on the government to allow more research on illegal drugs. 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. Overall there is a big effect, show me another treatment with results as good; we've missed a trick here. This is probably 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. AA co-founder Bill Wilson is said to have espoused the benefits of LSD in the book Pass It On: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the AA Message Reached the World.

    In the last decade or so, however, a new generation of researchers have been interested in harnessing the therapeutic benefits of illicit drugs — such as 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy) 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 probably work in addiction 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 impressive and important work,” says Matthew Johnson, a psychiatrist also at Johns Hopkins University who is now 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
    Last edited by Sherman Peabody; 10-09-2017 at 10:43 AM.

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    Distinguished Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    I used alcohol as an escape to a toxic relationship, both of which, the alcoholism and the relationship, lasted about 8 years (the relationship was about 10, but I didn't find I needed a drink during the honeymoon phase haha). Eventually the relationship came to an end and I wanted to quit drinking but it was now ingrained into my lifestyle as I was previously drinking
    up to 5 days a week (usually around 250 mg of alcohol a sitting - be it beer, wine or liquor). I cried quitting cold turkey and thankfully, I did not experience any symptoms of withdrawal. But these attempts would only last for a week (maybe two) before Id be back to drinking.

    Eventually, I realized if I created new positive habits I would be less likely to revert to drinking. I implemented a routine including a proper diet, exercise (cardio and strength and yoga), meditation and writing in a diary. And this was incredibly helpful. But then life came a knocking (be it the loss of a loved on or merely a crap mark on my midterm) and back to drinking I went.

    Pondering my situation one day I wondered why I hadnt considered psychedelics. They were ever so useful tools so long ago (haha + 10 years ago) but I moved away from them when I was drinking as I didnt like what they showed me - ME, as a drunkard. At first I was hesitant as I'd not quite processed some recent events (the loss of my mom and a good friend) but each time I reverted to drinking I thought 'well why not, at least they wont cause any physical harm' (likely), much unlike my drinking was doing.

    So in an attempt to change my brain (read habits) I came up with a plan that included weekly dosing of various psychedelics (my use of the term is not that of the classic serotonergic psychedelics but is more in line with Osmonds "To fathom Hell or soar angelic, just take a pinch of psychedelic" - and includes edible pot extracts and disassociates as well) such that cross tolerance would be minimized, so as to maximize the effects. It's been 6 weeks since I last had a drink, and although I still crave after stressful events I am happy to report that most days I am no longer interested in drinking.

    -tired of crap (Bluelight)
    Last edited by Sherman Peabody; 10-10-2017 at 03:40 PM.

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    Distinguished Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    Using Ketamine to treat alcohol addiction

    Stephen Buranyi
    Jul 21 2016

    People looking to quit problematic drinking could one day have access to a new, quick-acting treatment to help them cope with the difficult first few weeks of sobriety: Ketamine.

    In a new trial taking place at the University of Exeter and University College Hospital in London, researchers are using small shots of the tranquilizer alongside standard psychotherapy treatments to see if it can help treat alcoholism.

    "Current effects of treatments for alcoholism are at best modest, about three quarters of people return to drinking after 6 months, so there is a dire need for new treatments," said Celia Morgan, a professor of psychopharmacology at the University of Exeter, and one of the lead researchers on the study.

    Ketamine has already been shown to be an effective treatment for depression, something that's done a lot to rehabilitate its reputation. As an antidepressant it's unique in that it acts very quickly, with patients often reporting an improvement in their mood over just one or two days.

    That could make it ideal for treating recovering alcoholics, who often suffer from depression immediately after quitting.

    "We know that in alcohol dependence, depression is a predictor of relapse in the first couple of weeks. So we're able to give people the ketamine package in the time at which they might be particularly susceptible to relapse," said Morgan.

    The trial, which is funded by the UK government's medical research charity, will have participants take part in seven therapy sessions, three with shots of ketamine. Control groups will receive no drug and no therapy conditions. Ideally, the ketamine will act as a sort of stabiliser for depression, and possibly increase the power of the therapy.

    Morgan said experiments with animals show that ketamine may help form neuronal connections in the brain, and that could mean that in humans the therapy will be more effective or more likely to "stick."

    "There's new scientific evidence in animal models suggesting that their brains might be primed to learn more [after taking ketamine,]" she said. "So it could help people who are stuck in a rut with alcoholism. It may prime your brain to take on new experiences from the world."

    Morgan is not the only one pursuing this theory. Elias Dakwar, a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University in New York, is currently recruiting patients for a similar trial that will use ketamine treatment alongside motivational therapy for alcoholism. He says that the way people's brains adapt to addiction is similar to that of depression.

    "People sort of forswear their own agency and self-efficacy, and there's a sense of resignation," he said. "The thinking on ketamine's effect on depression is that it reverses depression-related adaptation through neuroplasticity."

    In other words, it could make the brain more ready to create new connections and move away from old patterns of behaviour, making it an ideal companion for therapy that's meant to help people re-evaluate and change their lives.

    The ketamine doses Morgan plans to use are higher than those used in standard depression treatment, but they're not quite enough to cause the sort of total dissociation that has led some scientists to class ketamine as a psychedelic drug, and far less than the maximum safe dose as an anaesthetic.

    "We're not going for the full-blown mystical experience," Morgan said. "We're looking at treatment we can do within the National Health Service as well; this is something that is funded by the government, so we are looking at things that are acceptable in that context."

    Both trials are still in the early stages: Morgan's started in June and is set to run until 2017, and Dakwar's should wrap up next year. But if the results are positive, ketamine's use could expand quickly. Alcoholism, like most addictions, is notoriously difficult to treat, with few effective drugs available. And according to the NHS, nine percent of men and four percent of women in the UK show signs of alcohol dependence.

    "It's one of those really intractable disorders that people have been trying to find a drug therapy for some time," said Dr Dakwar.

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/a...ohol-addiction
    Last edited by Sherman Peabody; 10-18-2017 at 04:41 PM.

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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    Unfortunately the link you give leads to a 404 error message. This might be the link you want:

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/a...ohol-addiction
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

  7. The following 2 users say "thanks"


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    Distinguished Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    ^^
    Thanks! I've fixed that now.

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    Distinguished Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    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 Maté, ayahuasca is a native Peruvian plant with strong psychoactive properties. Dr. Maté 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 benefitted from Ibogaine treatment, the future legality for Ibogaine and other psychedelics in modern US medicine is still unlikely.

    The Future of Psychedelic Medicine: 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 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 little variety in is the approach to 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.com/blog/blog/2017/10/on-the-horizon-the-rebirth-of-psychedelic-treatment-for-alcoholism/"

    -----

    Treating alcohol addiction with psilocybin

    The future of psychedelic medicine draws ever closer as research finds magic mushroom effectively treat alcohol addiction.

    The possibility of psychedelic medicine as a form of treatment is a movement gaining a lot of rapid momentum in the West. This is no more prevalent than for the treatment of addiction. It is an area of medical research that is spearheading the psychedelic movement, and bringing some of our favorite drugs directly into the mainstream.

    A new study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, has just taken this movement a mile down the road. This research shows that psilocybin (the hallucinogenic compound of magic mushrooms), significantly increases abstinence in those suffering alcohol addiction.

    Now as always, it is important to understand that we are not talking wonder cure. Simply popping a few mushrooms in your mouth is not going to necessarily help you beat addiction. It all comes down to context, and here, psilocybin is used as part of a psychosocial therapy.

    Researching mushrooms and addiction

    Within the research, participants underwent 4 weeks of counseling and assessment before being introduced to psychedelic based therapies. It was found that during the initial four weeks without psychedelics, there was no significant drop in alcohol abuse. However, as soon as participants underwent psychedelic based therapy, there was an immediate and significant increase in abstinence; as well as there being a reported attitude change towards alcohol in general. Furthermore, none of the participants suffered debilitating adverse side effects (although there were a few upset stomachs), and as a result no additional medication was required.

    What is also interesting was that researchers found a correlation between the reported intensity of the trip and the level of abstinence from alcohol. Suggesting the more profound or significant a trip was, the greater impact it had on the self being.

    As usual, more research is currently required, but for something that has been outlawed for so long, baby steps are needed when it comes to legitimate science. This study didn’t have a control group to test against, neither was the sample size particularly big. But the fact they got positive results here justifies and warrants them taking experimentation further, in much more detail next time.

    "https://www.zamnesia.com/blog-treating-alcohol-addiction-with-psilocybin-new-potential-therapies-n517"
    Last edited by Sherman Peabody; 10-28-2017 at 12:54 AM.

  10. #9
    Distinguished Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    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. Here's how my journey cured me of that:

    I found psychedelics to be helpful allies in getting in touch with myself but pretty lousy at stopping the physical symptoms of addiction. I'd stay away from psychedelic therapy personally until the physical symptoms of addiction are gone (about 1 week to a month depending on the level of addiction). 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)

  11. #10
    Distinguished Community Member houghchrst's Avatar
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    Hi I have been reading bits and pieces of your posting and I wanted to say congratulations on your sobriety. My mother drank herself to death. She knew what she was doing. Suicide by alcohol. She had tried, two failed attempts one of which I was an unwitting accomplice, at 10yrs old Christina go get me a razor blade from...Suicide is considered a sin so she thought with alcohol she'd found a loophole. I didn't realize how bad things were until she passed in 2010 and I was left with her little purse calendar books that showed where she kept track of her drinking as far back as the early 80s.

    I did my own stint in rehab. two years outpatient until I finally "got it". I went for crack. Thought I could quit crack yet keep doing the drugs and drinking. everything led to my doing crack so I quit it all, the drinking, LSD, pot everything. New Years day 2000 until early fall 2012 when I started using MMJ for pain. I have guilt for using it because my higher power helped me get clean and sober and I made a promise that I am breaking. Rehab can do this, the guilt. I am dealing with it, sort of. Though I have stopped going to church, I miss it. It fills me.

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