Ecstasy used to treat post traumatic stress disorder

Recreational drugs have been the focus of much negative attention of late with the oh-so-predictable moral panic in the tabloid coverage of M-CAT use. Corrupting our young’uns these drugs are, they say. And with stories of a new variety of legal high named MDAI about to hit the market in the UK it appears that despite the move to criminalise users of the ‘plant fertilizer’ there is little hope of respite from the heavy-handed scaremongering in the media.
However, a relatively rare pro-drugs story has cropped up recently regarding a positive application of the clubbers’ drug of choice; ecstasy.  Rather than focusing on more widely discussed side-effects such as a risk of liver failure, and an even higher risk of dancing like a twat whilst listening to trance music, scientists at a conference in California have revealed how ecstasy is being used to combat symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Many people who are afflicted with PTSD following an event such as sexual abuse or witnessing an act of extreme violence are usually offered cognitive behavioural therapy and drugs such as paroxetine and setraline to combat symptoms.  However there are often cases where sufferers don’t respond to treatment and it is hoped that administering MDMA will work in such instances.

The study conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studes, a non-profit research company who have battled since the mid-eighties to test the medicinal effects of various banned substances such as marijuana, looked at how serotonin released in the brain by MDMA would allow PTSD patients to calm feelings of fear and defensiveness during recuperation.

20 subjects were looked at who were resistant to traditional methods and were given ecstasy on two to three occasions over the course of 20-30 psychotherapy sessions.  Two months later only 15 per cent still exhibited symptoms of PTSD compared to 85 per cent as seen in a control group taking placebo pills, while long term effects were similarly positive.