Alcohol abuse in the United Kingdom is at an all-time high and more needs to be done both in terms of treatment, and education amongst the younger generation for them to understand just how much damage it can cause.
And it turns out an unlikely source of therapy could be the help needed in that according to studies. Oxford Health have been running trials, providing those in alcohol treatment with a small dose of ketamine alongside mindfulness therapy, finding that it is having a positive impact on people not returning to alcohol following treatment. Such has been its success, the study has been granted a further £2.4 million to go into the third phase of trialling, the largest study of its kind.
Of course, ketamine in itself is an addictive substance and around a decade ago was causing a large number of problems in society, with more people suffering from ketamine addiction. Rates of addiction are growing with it still, but the short course of treatment and small dosage for alcohol addiction has so far limited any risk of addiction to that.
Phase two of the study found that it was both safe and tolerable for patients, with the earlier study in phase one finding that 86% of people that went through the ketamine and mindfulness therapy completely abstained from alcohol for the following six months, with doctors and those involved with the study marking it a huge success.
Phase three is now the critical stage of what is being called the Ketamine for Reduction of Alcohol Relapse (KARE), and should it be effective, there’s the aim of rolling it out across the NHS.
That is hugely important. At present, alcohol related care is costing the NHS around £3.5billion per year, and wider society approximately £40 billion, and this trial could be a huge step forward in reducing that cost.
The next phase of the trial will see 280 people tested who have severe alcohol disorders and is being led by the University of Exeter and funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research.
Alcohol addiction is a huge problem in the UK, and while this trial could be hugely beneficial in helping people that are already suffering from it, more needs to be done in the prevention and education, particularly among the younger generation.
Also read: Why is Therapy Good for Anxiety and Mental Health?