‘Ecstasy’ may help traumatised victims

Originally appeared at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/20/2958875.htm United States scientists say the drug ecstasy may help war veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The trial study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, found that the drug seems to improve the effects of therapy in military veterans. The researchers, led by Dr Rick Doblin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in California, say ecstasy could help reduce a patient’s fear, enabling them to get more out of their therapy sessions. The trial only studied 20 patients but the researchers have gained approval to complete a larger study. Participants were given eight-hour psychotherapy sessions scheduled a few weeks apart. During the sessions, 12 were given the ecstasy chemical MDMA while eight were given a placebo. Ten of the 12 patients given ecstasy responded to the treatment, in contrast to two of the eight participants given the placebo. Those with a history of psychosis or addiction were excluded from the research. But critics say the side effects of the drug – including paranoia and depression – outweigh any benefits to trauma victims.

This is a brief article that discusses the effects of the MDMA-PTSD pilot study.