MDMA for PTSD: New Study Calls for Approval in Therapy

2024-01-17 18:03:35

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    Sufferers of PTSD could benefit from the use of MDMA. According to new results, researchers are calling for approval in therapy.

    California – From the dance floor to trauma therapy? This could soon be the case for the party drug MDMA. Neurologist Jennifer Mitchell and her team at the University of California studied the effects of MDMA on people with post-traumatic stress disorder in a new study.

    If traumatic experiences are not processed adequately, this can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. This mental illness is primarily characterized by recurring, stressful memories. Treatment usually takes place through psychotherapy, often as cognitive behavioral therapy, and can be supported by medication, so the AOK health magazine.

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    MDMA in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder

    In the 18-week study, participants received MDMA a total of three times in addition to regular psychotherapy. A control group received psychotherapy without the use of MDMA. The results show that 71 percent of patients in the medication group no longer met diagnostic criteria for PTSD following treatment. In the control group that received placebo pills, it was only 48 percent.

    No physical dependence was identified. Although MDMA is used as a party drug, the risk of addiction is loud gesundheit.gv.at lower than other drugs because it is mainly consumed situationally and less in everyday life. However, psychological symptoms and a so-called MDMA hangover can occur following taking it. There were three cases of psychological incidents, such as flashbacks, in the treated group. Two such cases also occurred in the placebo group.

    MDMA helpful in the treatment of PTSD © Jochen Tack/Imago

    MDMA has empathogenic and entactogenic effects, meaning that it increases both social interaction and awareness of one’s own feelings. The drug can reduce fear of memories and inhibitions regarding discussing them in therapy. “What would otherwise require strong intervention from the therapist often happens almost by itself with MDMA,” says Dimitris Repantis, co-head of the Psychedelic Substances Research Group. However, what exactly happens in the body during the use of MDMA in trauma therapy is not yet fully understood.

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    Approval of MDMA in therapy in prospect in Germany?

    The results of the research confirm positive results from a study from 2021. In the current study, particular emphasis was placed on an ethnically diverse group of test subjects. Minorities are particularly affected by traumatic events and the resulting PTSD.

    The research group hopes the results will contribute to the approval of MDMA for the treatment of PTSD patients in the United States. In Australia, this was already achieved in the summer of 2023. A preparatory study for the approval of MDMA in trauma therapy is currently underway in Europe. In Germany, however, this will still take a few years.

    The editor wrote this article and then used an AI language model for optimization at his own discretion. All information has been carefully checked. Find out more regarding our AI principles here.

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