Ecstasy and PTSD

Ecstasy is not something most people consider a conventional drug. That is why people might be shocked to learn that the FDA actually approved ecstasy a breakthrough drug in 2017. The drug is also slated to go through clinical trials as soon as possible.

This is huge news considering that the FDA only gives this status to drugs that might provide drastically better results than the treatments currently in use. MDMA might be every festival goers dream drug, but when you consider how it affects the brain, it is easy to see how it is going to be useful in the treatment of PTSD related issues.

Ecstasy affects the body’s serotonin levels. As soon as it enters the bloodstream serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine get released in large amounts. This leaves the user with a sense of euphoria, a higher degree of empathy, and a greater sensitivity to physical sensations. Being with a loved one and feeling their touch suddenly feels more intense, as if they were somehow transferring their love directly to you. Sights and sounds become more vivid and thrilling. All of this is precisely why people take ecstasy while at raves; MDMA cranks all their emotions to 11.

This is also why the drug is so good at treating PTSD. While they are on MDMA they are filled with positivity, their neurotransmitters are filling them with a sense of happiness and serenity, and all this makes it a lot easier to recall traumatic events. Basically, every time you remember and re-engage them you also re-experience them.

This also means there might be a way to change the memory, or at least how you experience it. This is because, for the memory to be recalled, the same neurons need to be firing and this means these same neurons might be able to make new neural connections or even strengthen old ones. A happy memory stays a happy memory if you experience happiness every time you remember it.

This is where MDMA comes in. While on the drug, a person does not experience the same sense of trauma when recalling a particular memory. If a person is not in a constant struggle with their fear, they can focus on working on their issues and fixing them with their therapist.

One study even showed that around 67 percent of PTSD patients displayed no signs of the ailment after only three sessions of MDMA therapy. On the other hand, only 23 percent of patients had the same result while not on MDMA.

Another more extended study looked at 16 patients with PTSD that were unresponsive to all PTSD therapies available at the time. Out of those 16 people, only two relapsed into PTSD while the remaining 14 were clinically cured. This was all achieved by the use of MDMA. And what is even better is that the improvements lasted for years, long after the MDMA therapy had stopped.

There are still scientists that believe that MDMA treatments are not reliable because sessions conducted in this state of mind are not structured enough. And it is true; there are no treatments that work for all people in the same way. MDMA probably is best suited as the second line of defense, or for use in particularly severe cases. Still, the positive results have been encouraging. This is clear from the labeling the FDA has applied to the drug. A breakthrough drug label is nothing to scoff at. MDMA seems like a drug that might help many of the millions of people that are affected by PTSD in America alone.

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