MDMA “Ecstasy” to Treat PTSD?

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In 2005 Rachel Hope decided to call Dr. Michael Mithofer and had low expectations. Hope has been suffering from PTSD tracing back to sexual abuse as a child and a life threatening car accident and has been looking for ways to help get rid of it since. After 45 minute conversation Dr. Mithofer determined hope had no other psychological problems.  He agreed to fly her to South Carolina where she would participate in an experimental therapy. Once she arrived she went through more psychological testing and a physical exam.  Also standard therapy sessions, so Mithofer could better understand Hope’s past and symptoms.  After this she was ready.

Hope sat on the futon in Dr. Mithofer’s office alongside his wife Annie a nurse. Annie  put in a CD and music started playing as Hope placed the  capsule on her tongue and the session really began. After 30 minutes Hope knew she had been given a placebo but the experiment still went on as planned. At the end Hope stated “We went through the process, but by the end, I’m like, ‘I’m not different'”. A week went by and Dr. Mithofer got the greenlight to conduct MDMA sessions with the previous subjects.  The question was would Hope fly all the way back?? Determined to find a cure she flew back and found herself laying down on the futon again with Dr. Mithofer and his wife. This time after ingesting the capsule everything changed. “It was like my whole brain was powered up like a Christmas tree.  Mithofer lets his patients drive the direction of the session. Typically they alternate between talking and stretches of pure introspection. “Somehow, I became aware of the hardwiring decisions that my brain had made to explain why all these traumatic things happened to me, and what they meant to me about being a woman, a child living in the world, about sex, about violence,” Hope said.

Hope said it worked for her. She estimates 80% of her symptoms disappeared after the first MDMA session and another 10% went after the next few weeks.  According to results published last month in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the effect was very common. Of  a total of 19 subjects in the study more than two-thirds still showed significant improvement more than three years later. Mithoefer and colleagues describe as “meaningful sustained reductions” in their symptoms.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/03/health/ecstasy-ptsd-3/

http://www.beckleyfoundation.org/category/research/mdma/

I think this experiment was a big step for Medicine and Science in general. I like to see these “drugs” used in a beneficial manner that will hopefully help treat people’s PTSD symptoms. I feel as times change, medicine will too. I hope to see more scientist explore psychedelic and natural resources for sources of medicine. I don’t feel the reputations of these drugs should follow when considered for medicine and treatment because under supervision and with preparation with professionals can make a huge impact in many meaningful ways. Many veterans   are coming back home with PTSD and this is affecting them everyday and with the choices they make. PTSD will always be a factor for these veterans in anything they do. The help the government is offering them usually does not help reduce the PTSD symptoms.  Many veterans’ family or friends take it into their own hands to find sources of help.   This results in them paying got the treatment. I think the government should explore different types of treatments because currently the treatments they do offer do not help and make no difference.

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