UK's first ketamine-assisted psychotherapy clinic opens in Bristol

  • Watch: How ketamine-assisted psychotherapy works

The UK's first ketamine-assisted psychotherapy clinic has opened in Bristol.

Awakn Life Sciences, which is based in Regent Street, Clifton, offers patients a nine-week course made up of 11 psychotherapy sessions - four of which involve doses of ketamine.

The course costs £6,000 and is intended for adults who experience low mood, depression, addiction and anxiety.

Dr Laurie Higbed, lead psychologist at Awakn, said talking therapy also plays a huge part in the treatment process.

The clinic has has more than 100 inquiries into the treatment. Credit: Awakn Life Sciences

Explaining how the ketamine works, she said: "What we understand about how it works in the brain is it increases plasticity, that means the brain is more responsive to change.

"So combine that with psychotherapy, people can start to think about old problems in new ways."

The mind-altering technique has been developed following a trial (KARE Trial) at Exeter University.

The treatment has to pass Phase 3 for it to be available on the NHS. Credit: PA

Professor Celia Morgan studied how ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can be used as a treatment for alcohol dependence.

Results from the study showed ketamine-assisted psychotherapy was associated with a reduction in relapse compared to placebo at six months, as well as a greater reduction in drinking to trial participants who received ketamine alone.

As soon as the ketamine-assisted psychotherapy passes phase three, it is safe to be offered on the NHS.

'Access my unconscious'

Grant Plant, a 53-year-old events manager from Glastonbury in Somerset, enrolled in the trial two years ago after his alcohol use escalated following bereavement and a divorce.

Grant Plant took part in the trials and say the treatment changed his life. Credit: Grant Plant

He said: “During the ketamine psychotherapy sessions, I felt I was able to access a part of my unconscious where I hadn’t gone before.

"Together with the talking therapy, I was able to the reasons behind my drinking, reset my brain and begin a new life as a permanently sober man.”

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