Chief Medical Officer at AWAKN Life Sciences
Psychedelic and MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy for Addictions: Psychedelic Medicine for the Future of Psychiatry
Talk date & time :
In this talk I will describe the underlying developmental, psychological and social roots of addictions, then briefly explore the history of psychedelic therapies for the treatment of addictions. I will describe in detail the world's first addictions study using MDMA-assisted therapy (the Bristol-Imperial MDMA-Alcoholism, BIMA study) and plans for further developments in this field. I will give a brief overview of Awaken Life Sciences - Europe's first psychedelic medical clinic - and our use of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of multiple psychiatric conditions including addictions. I will comment briefly on the current Psychedelic Renaissance and future directions for psychedelics in medicine.
For over 15 years Dr Ben Sessa has been at the forefront of psychedelic research in the UK through his affiliations with Imperial College London. Ben qualified as a medical doctor from UCL in 1997 and went on to specialise in psychiatry. For 30 years he has worked as a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist with young people and with adult patients in the field of addictions and trauma-related psychiatry. Ben started studying psychedelics as a junior doctor, and has taken part in research projects at Bristol University, Cardiff University and Imperial College London with LSD, psilocybin, DMT, ketamine and MDMA - receiving and/or administering all of these compounds in legal research settings. One of the first doctors to develop the field of contemporary psychedelic research in the UK, he is now the Head of Psychedelic Medicine at Awakn Life Sciences, a company opening twenty high street psychedelic medical clinics throughout Europe, providing psychedelic psychotherapy – initially with ketamine, then with MDMA and psilocybin - for a wide range of psychiatric indications. He was one of the first Medical Cannabis psychiatric prescribers in the UK. Ben is an approved and registered MDMA, ketamine and psilocybin therapist. He has led research into MDMA-assisted therapy for Alcohol Use Disorder and is published widely in the academic and medical press. Ben is the co-founder and past president of the Breaking Convention conference. He is the author of The Psychedelic Renaissance (2012/2017), the novel 'To Fathom Hell or Soar Angelic' (2015) and Altered States (2021). Ben lives and works in Bristol, UK.