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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ecstasy Used for Treating PTSD Proven Effective

[edit: 4 days later, they're covering it on CNN on TV.  Glad to see it's reaching the national media!]
Image:Modeling by "Lazord00d"

Surprisingly, a clinical trial using the illegal drug Ecstasy (MDMA) to treat PTSD has proven quite effective.  This should hit home with a lot of people, including myself, since the disorder is so widespread.  Who doesn't know at least a friend of a friend with this disorder?

Just like medical marijuana, an illicit drug if unauthorized, ecstasy may have action on the horizon for medical use.  This would require more studies (and a lot of lawyers of course.)

Ecstasy used in treatment is definitely having an effect.  After the trial, 95% correctly guessed which group (drug or placebo) they were assigned to.
Like a regular study, placebos and X were divvied out.  To quote from the paper's abstract: "The rate of clinical response was 10/12 (83%) in the active treatment group versus 2/8 (25%) in the placebo group."

The finding have great potential for future reduction of suffering.
The credentials to take this seriously are there.  The study is online at, posted from the Journal of Psychopharmacology.  You can read it at the following link:  (Scientists really don't name papers with advertising revenue in mind.)
"The safety and efficacy of ±3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder: the first randomized controlled pilot study"

But what is PTSD like really?
Explained quickly in the original paper's introduction:
"Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating anxiety disorder characterized by re-experiencing, hyperarousal and avoidance symptoms."
Here, the symptoms are described well, but this can be quickly misconstrued if you aren't already familiar with the disorder because of the term hyperarousal.  This Medical Dictionary defines it for us: "Hyperarousal: a state of increased psychological and physiological tension marked by such effects as reduced pain tolerance, anxiety, exaggeration of startle responses, insomnia, fatigue, and accentuation of personality traits."
This describes a great deal of the symptoms, but horribly, not all of the horrors involved for these suffering victims.

Hope is on the horizon.  Bring on the legislature.

I was turned on to this new study by a great blog I'd recommend, Science Based Medicine:
Science-Based Medicine » Ecstasy for PTSD: Not Ready for Prime Time

For another spin, a NY Times Article brings the topic to their huge following of readers:
"A ‘Party Drug’ May Help the Brain Cope With Trauma" Mithoefer, M., Wagner, M., Mithoefer, A., Jerome, L., & Doblin, R. (2010). The safety and efficacy of  3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder: the first randomized controlled pilot study Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25 (4), 439-452 DOI: 10.1177/0269881110378371

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  1. I think if it would be going to be used, it requires a super strict implementation and control in its specific purpose only. If not, many would end up to ecstasy rehab.

  2. Experiencing PTSD is like entering a horrible horror house. While inside it, you are wrestled by many nightmares but the willingness to enter yourself in an ecstasy rehab is like opening the big light in that horror house then find your way out.

  3. Ecstasy is used in many different ways for pleasure, but I feel that it won't help problems such as "PTSD". As everyone knows, (mentally or physically) the sensation you get when taking the drug doesn't last forever. So, when it wears off, it may cause more depression and major addiction to the drug leading the person with more to both deal with and worry about. I feel as though, therapy and coping with the problem are both more effective than taking drugs in general, because you don't want the person to block their feelings away by taking drugs.


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