Psychedelic drugs are used to treat depression in SWFL


FORT MYERS, Fla. (WBBH) – Michael Childress will never forget the day – the moment – he stopped just before he took his own life.

“I literally had my shotgun in my mouth. Trigger finger, ”Childress recalls. “For some reason I stopped.

It wasn’t long after a traumatic experience he endured while serving in the Navy. He carried that trauma with him for decades to come.

“Depression sets in. And then the alcohol sets in. And then the drugs set in,” Childress said. “Because you’re looking for something you want… relief.”

It was this search for relief that led Childress to My Self Wellness in Bonita Springs. It is one of the growing number of places offering ketamine therapy that is increasingly popular to treat depression and other mood disorders.

Childress allowed NBC2 to film its 5th session. We watched him sit in a recliner and cover himself with a soft blanket. A nurse walked in, gave him anti-nausea medication, cleaned his arm, and then injected him with ketamine.

Childress then put on noise-canceling headphones and an eye mask, and waited for the effects of the drug to kick in. Ketamine has a dissociative effect, creating a psychedelic experience for patients.

NBC2 then watched Childress smile and put her hands to her mouth.

“You don’t think about what you’re going to eat. You don’t think about the money, ”Childress said, describing the experience. “You don’t think about anything else, doesn’t even matter, other than… I’ll say love.”

Dr Andrew Ferber has specialized in psychiatry for decades and works with patients at My Self Wellness. During treatments, patients are given an emergency call button, and cameras in each room allow staff to monitor sessions.

“I find they can move faster with (ketamine) than anything I’ve seen,” Dr. Ferber said. “This experience allows you to let go of your own active suppression of your self-esteem, allow love of others, and hold on to trauma.”

Ketamine was approved by the FDA as an anesthetic decades ago, originally used by combat medics during the Vietnam War.

It was later abused by revelers in search of the hallucinogenic effects, becoming a popular club drug known as “Special K”.

Now it is used off-label by clinics like My Self Wellness to treat people with severe depression, anxiety, PTSD and more.

“It’s booming. This shows, for most people, very helpful – especially with suicidality, ”Steven Hill told NBC2. “The relief is much faster than a traditional medicine.”

Hill is a program director for SalusCare, which is licensed to provide esketamine, a nasal spray that is FDA approved to treat depression. Hill said he was less likely to produce a psychedelic effect than ketamine injections.

“I wouldn’t recommend it as a first approach to treatment,” Hill explained. “For people who are resistant to traditional medicines, research shows very good effects.”

But Hill says more research is needed on ketamine therapy, including possible side effects and addictive properties. Treatments are not designed to be long term – My Self Wellness typically delivers doses over six sessions – so the long term effectiveness of the drug is not as well known.

Dr Ferber acknowledged that this type of treatment was skeptical, but said the medical community was starting to become more receptive to psychedelic drugs.

“As Bob Dylan says, ‘Times, they’re changing,’” Ferber said. “We are not here to convince people. We are here to make ourselves available to those (who are ready). ”

Michael Childress hopes for ketamine can Give her that much-needed relief once and for all.

“Since receiving the treatments, I haven’t had a single drop of alcohol. I haven’t smoked a cigarette. I have not used illegal drugs, ”he explained. “A whole new reset from me. It is a wonderful thing.


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