By Suzi Gage
A study in Great Britain shows that MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy reduces symptoms of PTSD. Interestingly, the study also shows that the drug does not harm memory or concentration in veterans. Researchers also found that the drug does not induce drug abuse.
MDMA (the illegal drug ecstasy) may provide long term benefits as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a study which looked at its use alongside psychotherapy.
The research was a follow up to an earlier study published last year in which a group of 12 patients with chronic treatment resistant PTSD were given MDMA, and compared with another group of eight patients who were not, during and after psychotherapeutic treatment for their PTSD.
The new paper, which is published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, has followed up all but one of the original participants, up to six years after they were treated with MDMA. The researchers found that their PTSD symptoms remained reduced, they didn’t go on to abuse drugs, and there was no harm to memory and concentration after the treatment.
PTSD can be debilitating to those who suffer from it and there is a need for more effective treatment options. Some people vividly relive traumatic events in their past via uncontrollable flashbacks or nightmares; often those suffering from it will avoid anything linked to the traumatic event, which can lead to difficulties in daily life (if a person was assaulted while shopping for example, they may be unable to cope in crowded places afterwards).
In the original study, people were given MDMA up to a maximum of three times, and in a therapeutic setting (including extended therapy sessions involving overnight stays), so short term effects of the drug could be monitored, and long term harms would be unlikely. The people recruited for the study were those who had already received conventional treatment for PTSD, which had been unsuccessful. Although the number of people in the study was very small, they found that both groups’ symptoms improved over time – those who received MDMA as well as psychotherapy showed a greater improvement up to two months after the end of treatment. Read More…