MDMA and PTSD
MDMA, more commonly known by its street name, ecstasy has been known as a dangerous drug for decades’ now but, more doctors are looking to its original therapeutic use. In the 1970’s when the drug was first synthesized it was meant to help with mental disorders. Now its use is being rediscovered to treat those with PTSD.
As you are most likely aware, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects a large percentage of those who have served in the military. It does not only affect those who have served though. In fact, almost 8% of the entire population will experience PTSD, most of these will be women. In the 18-54 age group, in any given year approximately 5.2 million will experience PTSD. Some instances will be relatively mild while others instances will be severe, even enough to keep the sufferer from leaving their home.
The FDA has recently approved clinical studies for the use of MDMA to treat this condition. For now, the testing is only being done in four areas of the country, but if the testing proved marketing it could get a wider test area.
The research is in the early stages of the phase 2 testing, but there are promising results already. Currently, eighty-three percent of participants have been cured of their PTSD. When you compare this to the 25% of those cured by using talk therapy, MDMA starts to look like a real treatment option. It is worth noting though that many phase 2 trials fail as they get closer to the next phase.
The studies are promising but this does not mean that those who take MDMA recreationally will have the same results. When the drug is given in a clinical setting the quality, quantity, and distribution method can be carefully monitored. None of these are guarantees for MDMA purchased outside of the medical setting. Do not go out and eat a bunch of Ecstasy to cure your PTSD.
Basically, MDMA works by releasing oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine in large quantities. This makes a patient calmer and better able to trust their therapist. This trust allows patients to access their trauma and process it without feeling the emotions and anxiety tied to it.
It is mostly because of the club scene that Ecstasy has its lurid reputation. But when added to a proper setting this drug has already helped many patients. One of the women who participated in the initial trials reported that after 15 years of traditional therapy she was still suicidal. She was initially skeptical, but after 180 days of therapy with a new doctor, she tried the medicine.
After the MDMA therapy, she reports that she is no longer suicidal. Using MDMA made her able to confront her past, even some memories she had forgotten about. She no longer lives in fear of the things that happened in her past.
Anyone who has or knows someone with PTSD knows the suffering. The sleepless nights, the flashbacks, the nightmares, the mood swings, all of these may soon be a thing of the past for PTSD sufferers. This is a treatment that can potentially save lives and change lives.
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