Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Ecstasy for Treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Ecstasy (MDMA) didn't start out as a "rave" party drug. It was first synthesized in 1912 and rediscovered in the mid 1970s by the psychotherapy community as a treatment to be used in psychoanalysis. Over 4000 psychologists were introduced to MDMA and they found it helped withdrawn patients open up and develop truthful relationships with the analyst. They found that it alleviated fear, guilt and remorse and sped up the psychoanalytic process.
In 1984 the use spread to college students and by 1987 it's use as a party drug spread around the world. In 1985 the FDA banned the use of Ecstasy as a danger to the public. Since that time it went completely underground, however it's use has continued to soar.
In 1993, limited trials were approved by the FDA to test the effects of Ecstasy in human volunteers. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies is sponsoring trials to determine potential risks and benefits of using the drug as part of the psychotherapy for treating post-traumatic stress disorder. Nearly 20% of all returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. Early reports show MDMA can truncate years of therapy into two or three hours.
The Psychiatrists say it will not be used like antidepressants but only under supervision in controlled environments to enhance the psycho therapeutic interchange. Using MDMA improves the tolerance for recall and reliving painful memories without anxiety. The veterans are able to deal with their memories with a feeling of being in the present and feeling safe.
With these promising early results, the use of Ecstasy to treat PTSD is likely to continue.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 10:08 PM