There are many treatments used to help those suffering from addictions such as alcoholism, and detoxification is one of them. For most people with a severe addiction to a chemical substance such as alcohol, detoxification is the first step towards achieving long-term sobriety. However, a new study is looking at different methods for the treatment of this often-deadly illness.
A new trial known as KARE (Ketamine for Reduction of Alcoholic Relapse) is currently underway, and one man from Exmouth who admits to drinking up to seven bottles of wine every night is seeing the benefits. Marcus is forty-seven and has struggled with alcoholism for the past thirty years, yet thanks to this cutting-edge trial, he has managed to get through the tough Christmas and New Year period without reaching for the bottle.
He joined KARE in early December and began taking a low dose of ketamine, along with rehabilitation therapy. The trial is funded by the Medical Research Council and aims to use this new approach to helping alcoholics overcome their addictions once and for all.
The trial seeks to halve the number of alcoholics who suffer a relapse and has followed preliminary evidence that showed the ketamine with therapy approach could work. Marcus definitely believes in the programme, as he said, “I’ve taken part in therapy so many times before, and I’ve always relapsed. It’s never felt like it would stick. This time, there seems to be something about the combination of factors that is really helping.”
He spoke about the times when he relapsed in the past, saying, “Often, it starts with just one or two drinks when I’m feeling low, and then I feel guilty, so I drink more, and before you know it, it’s a full binge. I know it’s early days, but this feels different. I’m confident I’m going to remain sober for the rest of my life.”
How Addiction Develops
For most people, alcoholism begins with increased consumption, and for Marcus, it was no different. He described how he started as a social drinker during his twenties, but when he and his friends could not afford to go out to drink, they drank at home.
As often happens, Marcus built up a tolerance to alcohol, before this progressed to a physical dependence and then addiction. It was not long before his alcohol abuse led to the breakdown of his marriage and began having an impact on his work.
His payday bingeing often resulted in him losing jobs, and at his lowest, he was living on the streets as he struggled to make ends meet. He said, “I’ve sold possessions to buy alcohol; I’ve cashed in TVs so I can get drunk, and I’ve been in prison three times for drink driving. I’m not proud of it.”
Marcus admits there were many times when he suffered blackouts because of his drinking. He even drove to Wales while drunk and has no memory of it. He said, “I came to in custody, and the police could have told me I’d stolen a Jumbo jet and I’ve had had to accept it. I have no recollection whatsoever.”
He knows that his actions could have led to disastrous consequences for himself and others and says he is relieved that nobody was hurt during one of his drinking episodes. He is now working to get his life back on track and has lodgings in a bed and breakfast owned by a couple he befriended while placed there by social services.
He is giving back to society now, and with his girlfriend Sharon, he helps to feed the homeless on the streets of Exeter. Sharon spoke of Marcus and said, “He’s such a lovely guy with a huge heart. On one trip, a young homeless woman was asking for a hoody, but we didn’t have one in our bag. Marcus took his off and gave it to her. I could really see the potential in him.”
The KARE trial is being run by scientists and researchers at University College London and Imperial College London. They are working with experts from the University of Exeter, including Professor Celia Morgan, who said, “Marcus’s story shows how social drinking can escalate to an addiction that can ruin lives. As many people give up alcohol for January, it is an ideal time to raise awareness of these issues. We hope this trial will allow us to examine whether ketamine, combined with therapy, can indeed help people stay abstinent from alcohol”.
Those on the trial are given a low ketamine dose once every week for three weeks as well as seven psychological therapy sessions. A control group is also taking part and will be given the same psychotherapy sessions but instead of ketamine, they will receive a saline injection instead.
The study will run until April 2018 and is currently recruiting participants. Researchers are looking for volunteers who have severe alcohol use disorder but are recently abstinent. Those who use illegal drugs will not be accepted. Alcohol intake will be measured by a device that participants will wear on their ankle. This device will measure the amount of alcohol in the sweat of the partaker.
The KARE trial could be another weapon in the arsenal of therapists and counsellors and could help with the treatment of alcoholism. Currently, methods such as detoxification, rehabilitation and aftercare are proving to be effective when it comes to helping those affected by alcoholism to recover.
If you require further information about ways that alcoholism can be treated, or if you would like a free assessment and referral to a rehab provider in your area, contact us here at UK Rehab today.
Source: Man who drank seven bottles of wine a night is sober for first time in 30 years thanks to ketamine (Exeter Express and Echo)