NEW YORK (PIX11) – Psychedelic drugs are becoming more popular in treating mental health disorders, and an early study suggests ketamine could help as an alternative treatment for addictions like alcohol use disorder.
Nushama, a clinic in Midtown, will be the first in New York City to offer such treatment, according to co-founder Jay Godfrey. The space presents a spa-like experience to make the person getting treated feel more relaxed.
“Nushama is a psychedelic wellness center,” Godfrey said. “We treat, using ketamine, mood disorders such as depression, PTSD, anxiety.”
Ketamine is approved by the FDA as an anesthetic but is used off-label to treat mood disorders. Nushama partnered with Awakn Life Sciences, a biotech company that researches and develops psychedelics to treat addiction, to soon administer it for alcohol addiction. Anthony Tennyson is the CEO of Awakn.
“Typically, you have a 25% success rate with alcohol use disorder treatments,” Tennyson said. “In the clinical trial, we delivered an 86% success rate.”
A roughly three-year study treating about 100 people in the United Kingdom found that ketamine was more than three times more likely to be effective.
“We’re using psychedelics to disrupt the brain circuits that house the behaviors that drive the addiction,” Tennyson added.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The psychedelic drug is administered intravenously, so it goes directly into your bloodstream.
“In about 90 seconds after the administration, the patient or journeyer is within their psychedelic experience virtually immediately for about an hour,” Godfrey added.
He acknowledges that while ketamine has been known as a club drug, he argues that any drug used outside its proper context can be addictive and dangerous. This treatment uses ketamine with mindfulness and talk therapy programs, he said.
“Everyone’s psychedelic experience is completely idiosyncratic,” Godfrey said. “However, when you go through ego dissolution, all the barriers and the walls you’ve put up around yourself to protect yourself from getting hurt again fall.”
Awakn is expected to train the Nushama team in the coming weeks on protocol and shortly after, the treatment will be available at the Midtown location.