Earlier this month, the World Health Organization came out with a report on depression, saying it’s common worldwide and a leading cause of disability.
Some doctors are using psychedelics to get people off of antidepressants. The Food and Drug Administration is calling psilocybin a breakthrough treatment for depression.
Psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Cook has been practicing in Honolulu for the last six years. He treats patients for insomnia, anxiety, trauma, suicidal ideation, chronic depression, PTSD and more.
“I have certainly seen depression rise, suicide thinking go up. I’ve had some of my long-term substance abuse patients, that have been sober alcoholics for a long time, have relapsed. I’ve been dealing with a lot of increased demand for psychiatric services,” Cook said.
In his practice, Cook said he’s found psychedelics and alternative medicines benefit his patients, at a time when so many are under added stress and anxiety.
“I got into medical cannabis about five or six years ago after my training. And in spite of my training, I was still biased against cannabis after medical school at Northwestern in Chicago and residency here at UH in psychiatry,” he said.
“My combat veteran patients helped me to see the light and that led me down several years of reading and a rabbit hole of research that opened new doors of thinking for me where I thought outside the typical prescription box,” Cook continued.
One alternative he discovered was ketamine, something he calls a state-dependent form of healing. His clinic Beyond Mental Health does “intramuscular psychedelic doses” of ketamine three days a week, he said.
“The purpose of the drug is to cause an altered mental state. You don’t want the patient on the same drug every day. When you’re on an antidepressant every day, you are numbed and you are in the same mental state every day. So you become less discriminatory and less perceptive about mood changes,” he said.
Ashley Lukens – Sept. 24, 2021
The Aloha Friday Conversation
Ashley Lukens is the co-founder of the Clarity Project, an organization advocating for legal psychedelic therapies in Hawaiʻi.
For Lukens, it all started in 2017 when she was diagnosed with brain cancer.
“The prognosis on my cancer is seven to 11 years, which in the …….