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Ecstasy May Help Post-Traumatic Stress

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Seems like every few months there is a new break-thru in the world of research into MDMA also known as Ecstasy.  This time the latest results are about the impact the illegal drug can have on those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.  The main conclusion is that when used in combination with psychotherapy, over the long term MDMA can work as treatment for PTSD.

If this conclusion sounds familiar, that is because these new results are based on a followup study of 12  patients who suffered from treatment resistant PTSD who were given MDMA.  6 years later, when following up with all but 1 of the original patients, their symptoms were reduced with no memory loss or problems with concentration. Furthermore, there were no cases of drug abuse  that some believe would come with having used MDMA.

People who suffer from PTSD suffer from a debilitating condition where they are sometimes unable to do every day things that remind them of a traumatic event. At the moment treatment involves “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, the drugs often used to treat depression), and psychotherapy including cognitive behavioural therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy.” Despite the success of some of these strategies, there is still a problem that many PTSD patients do not complete their therapy and even when they do, recovery is not guaranteed.

Because of its ability to induce euphoria and decrease fear, in the past MDMA (when it was legal) was used as part of psychotherapy. This allowed for traumatic, fear-inducing events to be revisited and addressed.  This current pilot study is far from conclusive, but with every new development it looks like ecstasy has some significant value when it comes to helping venterans, victims, and anyone else suffering from PTSD.

Source: The Guardian

Photo: boodoo / flickr

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