Can MDMA be used to treat PTSD?

When most people hear about ecstasy, they think of illegal and adulterated preparations of club drugs sold under the name Molly or ecstasy. In reality, however, these street versions usually contain adulterants, and the active ingredient 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) has little or no.

Although ecstasy is associated with long-term neurological effects and even death-some experts question this-but in some clinical studies, ecstasy has been shown to be safe and not addictive. In addition, a combination of MDMA and psychotherapy may be effective in treating PTSD.

Treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disease that results from exposure to traumatic experiences (such as life-threatening events, natural disasters, or violence). People with PTSD live in a state of excessive awakening and often re-experience the events that triggered their PTSD in the form of flashbacks or nightmares. They also experience mood changes, difficulty sleeping, etc. It is estimated that as many as 23% of American veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Treating PTSD is notoriously difficult. There is evidence that SSRIs (antidepressants such as Zoloft or Paxil) may help treat PTSD. In addition, psychotherapy, including long-term exposure and cognitive processing therapy, has been shown to be effective in treating patients with PTSD; however, many people eventually withdraw from psychotherapy.

How MDMA works with psychotherapy

For people with PTSD, psychotherapy can be difficult because psychotherapy requires the patient to recall the triggering event. Some experts claim that taking MDMA before psychotherapy can reduce anxiety, reduce hypervigilance, and increase relaxation, while maintaining patient motivation and participation.

MDMA can increase empathy between patients and therapists, and inspire patients to think about their problems in new and innovative ways, thereby contributing to insight.

According to Ben Sessa and David Nutt, during psychotherapy, ecstasy helps “patients achieve a state of empathy and compassion, which is their Part of resolving and relieving symptoms. ”

The subtle effects of MDMA are due to the unique biochemical properties of the drug. Specifically, ecstasy affects serotonin, dopamine and alpha-2 receptors and increases the release of oxytocin. This release of oxytocin can promote bonding and empathy.

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In a similar study, 85% of participants who took MDMA in a placebo-controlled study were no longer diagnosed with PTSD after receiving three MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. It is worth noting that the efficacy of this study is very low, with very few participants. Related to this, Swiss researchers found that MDMA significantly reduced PTSD symptoms in patients with refractory PTSD. Obviously, more research is needed to determine the clinical benefit of MDMA for PTSD patients.

May be used as a treatment

We should take some time to further distinguish the illegal use of ecstasy from the clinical use of ecstasy. When people buy ecstasy for entertainment, they usually overuse the drug, expose themselves to potentially harmful adulterants, and use drugs other than MDMA, such as cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol. In the clinical setting, a limited dose of pure MDMA is used for short-term adjuvant therapy during psychotherapy. In other words, buying ecstasy on the street or in some clubs and using it to treat post-traumatic stress disorder is a very bad idea.

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Although MDMA is expected to treat PTSD, due to public opinion and government restrictions, MDMA may never be used to treat this disease. Specifically, the United States and the United Kingdom have banned the drug. Because MDMA is banned, it is difficult to purchase and test in clinical research, and it cannot be used for prescriptions.