What does Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD conjure up for you? War veterans back from their battles abroad? Perhaps. But you don’t have to fight overseas to experience trauma. There are natural disasters, loss of loved ones, and many other experiences that can leave a permanent mark of emotional distress. PTSD sufferers often relive the trauma, experience anxiety, drug abuse and insomnia. Unfortunately, current medications are not very effective in treating this condition.
But a recent, pretty startling discovery has provided PTSD sufferers with some hope: MDMA, or the drug known on the street as ecstasy, was found to be very effective in treating PTSD for the long term. The first study showed such strong improvements in the patient’s well being that the effect was over 3 times stronger than that required to achieve statistical significance. The second study repeated the treatment and followed up with the patients for a period of two years. Even after two years, over 80% of the patients still showed significant improvement.
But make no mistake: MDMA is a dangerous street drug. At higher doses, it can cause a life-threatening rise in body temperature or hyperthermia, dehydration as well as a deadly collection of symptoms known as Seratonin Syndrome. It is also a disinhibitory, euphoric and slightly hallucinogenic drug so the treatment setting is very important.
But if the drug is taken in small doses under clinical supervision, it holds great promise for many sufferers of PTSD.