Doctors believe MDMA is showing a lot of success in treating PTSD – which could be down to it stimulating social learning and increased brain connectivity.
Studies which were sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a nonprofit organization that advocates for medical research on psychedelic substances showed a breakthrough for those suffering from PTSD researchers have suggested that MDMA a drug known from the 90s rave scene as Ecstasy – could allow PTSD sufferers to re-program the brain.
But how does MDMA work in the brain?
MDMA has many effects on the brain that appear to make the process of talking through past traumas easier. Dr Michael Mithoefer who is a psychiatrist in private practice in South Carolina.
Currently, psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is the “definitive treatment” for people with PTSD. There are drugs approved to treat PTSD, but they only target the symptoms and not the cause.
In a large percentage of people, psychotherapy doesn’t work well to treat the condition, Mithoefer said. The effects of the drug seem to act as an emotional opening for patients, allowing them to talk through and process their trauma, Mithoefer said. In other words, it’s not the specific actions of MDMA in the brain that appear to treat PTSD, but rather that it seems to make psychotherapy more effective, he said.
Therapy in a professional setting
People with PTSD are not likely going to feel “blissed out” when they take MDMA, Mithoefer said. In the trial that he conducted, patients did have positive experiences, but did not feel euphoric, he said.
The patients are processing the trauma that they went through, and even when they take MDMA, it is difficult and painful to do that, he said. But the drug seems to help them feel like they can go through the process without feeling overwhelmed, he said.
If the drug does eventually win approval from the FDA, researchers aren’t expecting it to be something patients simply go pick up at the pharmacy, Mithoefer said. Rather, it would be given at specialized clinics under direct supervision.
— Paulkaz (@Paulkaz12) April 3, 2019
MDMA may treat PTSD by reopening sociable ‘window’ which closes after puberty, study suggests “a single dose of the drug was enough to return adult mice which had lost this heightened interest in socialising, to this adolescent state for up to six weeks.” https://t.co/vz2XG16CH5 pic.twitter.com/Vw4ClebSHg
— Roger Ma, PharmD (@rogerpharmd) April 3, 2019
My friend @staceywallin is leading the legalization of psychedelic plants for mental health therapy. Could be game changer for women. I’ve been investigating the use of MDMA to treat ♀️specific #PTSD, and have sent @MAPSCanada requests to participate.⛑️💫 https://t.co/nNrJFRmjZp
— Mandalena Lewis (@MandalenaLewis) April 3, 2019
New doc recommended to me by @tferriss! A recent trial found 68% of veterans and first responders with chronic PTSD that underwent two sessions of psychotherapy + MDMA improved symptoms enough that they no longer met criteria for PTSD. https://t.co/FaZHBzGROg https://t.co/SmbWwSct2I
— Dr. Rhonda Patrick (@foundmyfitness) March 10, 2019