Ecstasy treatment draws rave reviews
by Mark Rutherford (originally appeared on CNET)
Psychiatrists and researchers are using a notorious party drug to treat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and are asking the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand the program.
Scientists say methylenedioxymethamphetamine produces an experience described as “inhibiting the subjective fear response to an emotional threat.” Late-night rave-goers know it as Ecstasy and say it produces an intimate, euphoric groove and makes you grind your teeth.
The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies is sponsoring clinical trials to determine potential risks and benefits of using the drug as part of the psychotherapy for treating post-traumatic stress disorder.
In the process, the association may be rehabilitating a psychoactive drug that’s better known for its methamphetamine-like party properties, rather than any salubrious benefits (PDF).
Psychiatrist Michael Mithoefer sought and gained FDA permission to test the drug on military veterans sufferering from post-traumatic stress, and apparently there’s no lack of volunteers.
“It’s basically like years of therapy in two or three hours. You can’t understand it until you’ve experienced it,” a former Army Ranger who took part in a recent study said in an interview. “It’s an extremely positive thing. I feel so lucky that I got to take part in the project.”
Don’t expect to see drug on sale next to the glow sticks and pacifiers just yet.
“It’s not going to be a normal prescription drug like the antidepressants,” Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies founder Rick Doblin said in an interview with author Scott Thill. “It’s only going to be administered under therapist supervision. Patients would be required to spend the night in the facility. It’s not like cannabis. Our approach is catharsis, enhancing the psychotherapeutic interchange. We want patients to integrate their trauma into their normal lives.”