A University of Exeter psychology trial for the treatment of alcoholism has attracted attention for its unconventional methods. The Ketamine for Reduction of Alcoholic Relapse (KARE) trial employs the use of Ketamine, a sedative and part-time recreational drug, alongside psychological therapy in order to assist with people suffering from alcoholism.
KARE aims to find out whether or not small doses of the drug can help prevent recovering alcoholics from descending back into excessive consumption. Funded by the Medical Research Council, KARE is the product of very recent experimental research and studies. The science behind such a trial builds on research which had previously done regarding ketamine, the results of which determined that the class B drug can facilitate in the creation of new neural paths within the brain. In turn, these changes to the human brain can aid in learning new behaviours. As far as KARE is concerned, an effect like this may be the key for some people to finally kick booze. Ketamine has also recently proven useful in combatting symptoms of depression.
THE trial builds on research which had previously determined that the class B drug can facilitate in the creation of new neural paths within the brain.
Ketamine, despite its known recreational use, is not known to be addictive. For patients taking part in KARE, a small dose of the drug is injected to the hand over 40 minutes. This is opposed to the large, faster, dosage which those abusing Ketamine would be taking for its sense-numbing effects.
In 2016/17, hospital admissions in which the main factor was alcohol were down by 1% from 2015/16, according to the NHS. However, the NHS also reports that in 2016/17 around 80,000 people were in treatment for ‘problematic drinking’ and KARE claims that alcohol abuse ‘affects nearly 4 million people in the UK’.
the NHS reports that in 2016/17 around 80,000 people were in treatment for ‘problematic drinking’.
The experts in charge of KARE are motivated by what they suggest are currently-insufficient alcoholism treatment programmes: ‘treatments to help people stop drinking alcohol have been shown to be limited in their effectiveness’, reads the KARE web page. ‘People often return to drinking after only a short time of being sober.’