Horizons 2017: Notes on Dr. Michael Bogenschutz's psilocybin for alcoholism talkSat 07 October 2017
Rough notes from Dr. Michael Bogenschutz's psilocybin for alcoholism talk at Horizons 2017:
- Bogenschutz and Ross conducting a double-blind study at NYU. 100 participants; comparing effect of benadryl (placebo) to psilocybin for alcoholism, also looking at the mechanism of action
- Recruited 43 participants so far
- 3 components to the model
- Motivational Enhancement and Taking Action therapy
- Preparation, Support and Integration
- Drug Administration sessions
- 2 therapists present for all sessions
Drug session in a living-room-type space, two therapists by the bedside, eyeshades and earphones. Light physical reassurance offered
- High variation of experience between patients, and also between sessions with same patient
- Blinding usually broken by end of session
- Case 1: Mark
- 25 y/o man, working at an investment firm, binge drinker frequent blackouts; 6 drinking days out of 84 days, 22 drinks per drinking day; 200+ AA meetings, MDMA 3x previously; really wanted help with his problem
- Couldn't identify a narrative or series of events, wondered if he got the psilocybin or not
- Surprised and pleased after first session about how easy it was to refrain from drinking; totally abstinent
- Second session, higher dose, significant anxiety; faced with guilt & shame from past alcohol use. "Experience akin to dying and being reborn"
- Continued reports of abstinence after the second session. little desire for alcohol. Also better able to let go of things that would have previously led to resentment + anger
- 7 months later, open-label session. Still abstinent, promotion at work had been causing a lot of anxiety, hoping for relief from that. Third session dose same as second, but felt higher.
- 54 weeks from first meeting is last meeting. Reported continued abstinence, life was going well, very grateful for the experience.
- "I wouldn't be surprised if I never drank again ... I got exactly what I needed from the experience"