A drug popular through the 1970s and only made illegal in the 1980s has been shown to be effective long-term in treating people with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
The study concludes that people suffering from PTSD experienced lasting positive benefits from therapy that included treatment with methylenedioxy methamphetamine, MDMA for short but better known as Ecstasy.
The drug, which has been around for about a century, produces feelings of intimacy and empathy in users. It was widely viewed and legally used as a “party drug” until it was added to the list of illegal substances such as LSD in 1985.
The published findings are the follow-up to a study reported on by Military.com two years ago, which found that 83 percent of the subjects receiving the Ecstasy-assisted treatment were free of PTSD symptoms after two months. The latest findings conclude found those same patients were still symptom free an average of 3.5 years after completing the treatments.
“With such encouraging data, including evidence of long-term effectiveness after only two or three MDMA-assisted psychotherapy sessions, there is now no doubt that this research should be expanded to larger clinical trials,” Dr. Michael Mithoefer, the lead researcher, said.
Subjects in the study had been suffering with PTSD for an average of 19 years, according to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in Santa Cruz, Calif., which is co-sponsoring the research.
Interesting. If this is a viable method of treating PTSD, one hopes it may also be a viable treatment for those troops at risk of suicide.