Hope for Veterans, Gold Star Spouses and more
Devon and Kelly Thomas’ wedding at the Storybook Chapel in Simonton, Texas, was perfect. The bride was dressed in white, the bride in teal, and the air carried a glimpse of spring. But the ceremony was followed by an unusual suggestion: “I told her before we got married that there was something wrong with me that would never be fixed,” says Devon Thomas.
At the time, Thomas, a Ranger and former US Army officer, was halfway through a 15-year period of anxiety and severe depression that sometimes left him unable to hold a job, and self-medicated with alcohol and marijuana. Thomas tried traditional therapies – medications and cognitive behavioral therapy. “I’ve been in therapy for a while and then get frustrated that it doesn’t get anywhere for me, and then I stop,” he says.
In January 2021, Thomas reached a breaking point. He reached out to an acquaintance, a former US Marine, who had tried something Thomas had not: narcotic therapy.
The science behind drug therapy
The University of Texas Dell Medical School at Austin is exploring a combination of psychedelic drugs and brain modulation techniques (stimulating areas of the brain with ultrasound or electromagnetic pulses) to treat people with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression.
The Newly Launched Anesthetic Research & Treatment Center It enrolls veterans and their families in a series of studies to test this innovative treatment. Texas is home to the second largest population of veterans in the United States, and so far, the nascent field of psychedelic medicine has largely been elusive.
Future studies plan to serve adults with prolonged sadness disorder or depression and those who have experienced childhood trauma. “Studies show great promise for these drugs when combined with clinical support,” he says. Charles Nemeroff, MD, PhD.Assistant Commander-in-Chief. “This work could change how we treat mental health conditions.”
“We believe that the combination of psychedelic and brain-modifying drugs in our center will pack a one-on-two effect against stress-related disorders,” says the center’s co-leader, Greg Fonzo, Ph.D. “It’s like heating and pouring mud. Anesthetic prepares the brain to rewire, and modulating the brain can enhance these changes.”
The score for people like Thomas? impression. clarity. healing.
“I had to be in a place where my life would end if I didn’t go and do this. It’s amazing to think that in the future people will get the help they need so much sooner,” says Thomas, who is treated at an unaffiliated center in Mexico. He hopes that the center at Dell Med will legalize drug-assisted therapy so that others who need treatment can have better access.
How can you and other Austinians help?
Community support is vital to the center’s success. Your gift helps ensure that these studies continue locally and meet the needs of participants along the way. Donations of any size It is assembled to provide:
- Travel to Austin for pre- and post-treatment evaluation.
- Anesthetic treatment and travel costs to our partner center.
- Blood screening, neuroimaging, and psychological testing at Dell Medical College.
This center is the first of its kind at a university like UT Austin — and with your support, what starts here will transform mental health care for people around the world.
Join your fellow Texans as early investors in the Center for Psychedelic Drug Research and Treatment by presenting Your 100% tax-deductible gift today. Contact the Dell Med Development Office for more information.