Awakn has been making national headlines with the opening this week of our flagship Bristol, UK clinic.
One of the first to get the guided tour was Alexandra Jones from The Guardian whose six-page Saturday supplement feature asks, “Can psychedelics cure depression?”
The answer in many persistent cases, says Professor Celia Morgan, is “Yes.”“The drugs alone might prompt big epiphanies, but the therapy helps you to learn from them and create lasting change,” our Head of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy for Alcohol Use Disorder Practice expands.
Professor Morgan recounts the story of one of the participants in the Ketamine for Reduction of Alcoholic Relapse (KARE) study, which she was the principal of. “He’d been drinking seven bottles of wine a day and had seen his life crumble,” she continues. “His wife left, his daughter stopped speaking to him. He had a very strong reaction to the ketamine infusion. He said he felt a kind of love and safety that he hadn’t felt in a long time. At one point he felt like he was back in his mum’s tummy.”
Elsewhere in the piece, Awakn CEO, Anthony Tennyson, notes that, “Twenty per cent of the population have a mental health issue on an annual basis. The industry that is meant to be fixing this is significantly underperforming.” Alexandra Jones seemed rather taken with the 19th-century building that’s home to our clinic and its dove grey, with exposed brickwork and wooden floors.
Another of the KARE study patients, Grant, was the focus for the “How ketamine helped me kick my alcohol addiction” piece in Monday March 15’s The Telegraph here (paywall). “The ketamine was such a profound experience,” says Grant who since participating has been sober for two years. “It was as if my ego dropped away and I felt I was able to access a part of my unconscious where I hadn’t gone before. The therapy allowed me to look at issues from my youth. I wasn’t abused, but I had some issues that were damaging my relationships. I just came away thinking, ‘You’ve got to look after yourself,’ and haven’t drunk since. I don’t even think about it. There’s none of that nagging temptation. It’s given me a path back to how I was before I started drinking.”
Grant featured again alongside Awakn’s Lead Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Laurie Higbed, on the ITV News “UK’s first ketamine-assisted psychotherapy clinic opens in Bristol” report here. "What we understand about how it works in the brain is it increases plasticity, that means the brain is more responsive to change,” Laurie explains in the piece, which also includes footage of one our patient treatment rooms. "So combine that with psychotherapy, people can start to think about old problems in new ways."
Monday March 15 also found BBC News reporting that, “The UK’s first ketamine-assisted psychotherapy clinic has been opened.” “Current psychiatric treatments are not adequate for a significant proportion of patients,” proffers the Chief of the Awakn Life Sciences Board, Professor David Nutt. “Psychedelics are ushering in a whole new paradigm for psychiatry with other countries moving very fast and we don't want to be left behind.”
BBC News also carried a “Psychedelic therapy could ‘reset’ depressed brain” report over the weekend here. Professor Celia Murphy was quoted again as saying, “These drugs allow you to approach difficult experiences in your life, sit with that distress and process them. Through that we can get much more long-lasting change.”
Listen here at 3:43 to the Breakfast On BBC Radio Bristol coverage of the clinic launch.
“ALCHOL STUDY: Research finds MDMA can help with drinking issues” was emblazoned across the screen as Awakn’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ben Sessa, talked evidence-based science on the Euronews Tonight bulletin.
Yahoo! Finance were among those reporting on the announcement of Awakn’s Phase III trial for Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy for Alcohol Use Disorder. "Psychotherapy forms the bedrock of the way we use ketamine at Awakn,” Dr. Sessa reflects. “Celia Morgan's cutting-edge research is the world's first evidence-based approach combining ketamine with psychotherapy to treat Alcohol Use Disorder. In this post-COVID era there is no better time to be bringing this effective treatment approach to our patients struggling with alcohol use disorder."
“Ketamine on prescription at first psychedelic psychotherapy clinic in Britain” was the headline as The Times spoke to Professor David Nutt in an interview that subscribers to the paper can read here (paywall). “While you’re under the influence of the drug, you escape from that depressive thinking process, and potentially you can maintain that different kind of thinking,” he tells their Science Correspondent Rhys Blakely.
Professor Nutt’s busy media month continued when word of the Awakn clinic opening made it over the Irish Sea. Appearing on the Newstalk 106-108 radio breakfast show, he said “These drugs have enormous medical value and when they are used in medicine their safety is fantastic.”
David’s Newstalk interview piqued the interest of Ireland’s best-selling tabloid The Sunday World whose “Drug therapy: UK’s former drug advisor on benefits of MDMA, ketamine and magic mushroom for depression” story generated huge social media interest.