War veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder have found unexpected relief from the banned drug MDMA, known more commonly as ecstasy. The psychedelic drug typically associated with hard-partying clubbers appears to cure PTSD entirely in some cases, Scientific American reports.
The findings were presented at a conference held in San Jose last month, titled "Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century," and have psychiatrists excited over the unprecedented results. They came out of a study sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which launched in 2004.
Of 21 patients, 13 took ecstasy and then talked with psychiatrists about their wartime traumas. They saw huge drops in PTSD symptoms compared to the eight-person placebo group. Seven out of the eight in the placebo group also eventually chose to receive ecstasy following the study.
After three and a half years, 13 out of 16 patients who kept in touch still appeared free of the criteria for PTSD. One psychiatrist who worked with a Veterans Affairs Medical Center told Scientific American that should definitely try ecstasy as a therapeutic tool, if it were not illegal.
This wasn't a complete victory over PTSD -- two patients suffered clear relapses, and several of the other patients remained on antidepressants or similar psychoactive medication. Still, the patients required lower amounts of the psychoactive drugs compared to before their treatment.
Physicians and scientists have long struggled with pinpointing the causes of PTSD among individual warfighters, as well as diagnosing and treating the condition. We imagine the recent successes of using ecstasy therapeutically might cause the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to rethink its prior five rejections of proposals from MAPS to work together.
The blog of American Veteran Magazine adds a helpful note that war vets should not take ecstasy on their own, given that it remains illegal -- the MAPS study was conducted under psychiatrist supervision and with FDA approval.
[via Scientific American]
If I remember correctly they did a lot of research on this in 70s, they also tried it marriage counseling. But when it classified as a Class A drug it all stopped. I'm also pretty sure they used reduced doses.
Also the drug alone isn't a magic pill that will just cure you of PTSD or marital problems, it allows you to open up and talk with a therapist.
Hmm I remember something from my neuroscience class about ecstasy being terrible for your brain, so would it not be logical to assume that after the soldiers had taken the drug and were accessing certain parts of the brain in order to recall their trauma that the drug successfully damaged these areas and more particularly these memories to the extent that they no longer brought about a negative psychological response?
Meh, I'm sure they already thought of that and weighed the risks.
@ blind6542: Uhh, so lemme get this straight: you're suggesting the areas of the brain a chemical deals damage to are determined by which areas you are accessing during memory recall, thereby destroying those memories right after you think about them?! You literally think that's how drugs work? You're not very bright, are you? Catch up on the shut-eye during "neuroscience" class a lot? I'm a failed neurosci undergrad and I can still laugh at your ignorance.
By the way the damage caused by MDMA is usually more of a cumulative effect that occurs with repeated abuse of the substance.
MDMA has a few negative side effects when used in recreational doses.
A big one is the depletion of the serotonin, and dopamine in your brain and a dependence on a higher level of it in your system to feel good.
The net effect of this is a difficulty feeling positive emotions of sensations over time. Hard use will cause long term damage in this area thereby impairing the bodies ability to produce positive sensations. This can lead to withdrawal, depression and sometimes suicide.
The good news is in most cases stopping the drug will lead to an eventual normalization of brain chemistry over time.
Also in the short term the most deadly effect is the fact that people on the drug become thirsty but their body is holding in the water so they can experience death via water poisoning.
Also most recreational forms of MDMA are cut with other drugs that may have terrible side effects of their own like heroin, or Acid.
You guy's have nailed it when it comes to MDMA neurotoxicity. It can be very dangerous if abused over a longer period of time but single doses combined with therapy like this seems like a great idea. I'm glad they are doing legitimate research in this field.
Also just to clarify MDMA pills are never cut with eithier heroin or acid.
Check www.ecstasydata.org which allows users to anonymously submit street MDMA pills. They then do MS/GC testing to tell you exactly what its cut with to allow street users to make better choices and not risk their lives at the expense of greedy drug organizations
That is incorrect
Candy flip is Ex and LSD mixed
There are other versions mixed with other drugs.
You NEVER get Pure MDMA as it can not be pressed into Pill form.
Yes of course there are street mixes you can buy, almost never Heroin as Roujaxian correctly pointed out.
It also would not be correct to say that MDMA is "cut" with acid, although there is some history of these drugs being used together.
Pure MDMA is in fact available - although not pressed into pills - as powder, crystalline form, or in capsules.
It is a notoriously difficult drug to find in pure form on the street.
21 people. 21 f'ing people. Who in their right mind calls that a study!? Somebody needs to follow the money MAPS is getting for this.
Ecstacy is illegal for a reason (liver damage, hypothermia, intracranial bleeding are among the side effects) No chance in hell I would take it.
lol. smart drugs and designer drugs are for smart people.
There are free test kites from many places to test your product before you induce. Most of the claims etc in the news are not actually MDMA ( the whole pill anyway). Know your product, even what the doctor prescribes to you.
And you can do all the drugs at once, yet some folks can handle only a little. Mind over matter , ask a drug counselor.
the best thing when someone has "had too much" is a good friend to talk to them down.
Peace and Blessings.
I have PTSD, I was a Marine in Iraq in 2003. Some times it seems that Ecstacy is the only thing that would help. I think the VA should look into this and try it.
The best remedy for ptsd is a year of complete and total spiritual enlightenment My cousin was a marine and he had pieces of his friend coat him after a roadside bomb went off so i would know from a third person standpoint on how he felt.