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Key Facts About Using MDMA For PTSD Psychotherapy

Did you know that in an FDA-approved test on using MDMA for PTSD psychotherapy, almost 70% of patients found their symptoms had reduced considerably within just 12 months? Such was the reduction in symptom severity that these patients found that they no longer qualified for the PTSD diagnosis within a year’s time.

In this article, we explore the role of MDMA in PTSD Psychotherapy in greater detail.

What is MDMA?

MDMA – methylenedioxymethamphetamine – is a psychoactive drug that is used for recreation purposes by people of diverse ages. It is also referred to as Molly or Ecstasy. While MDMA is normally illegal in many parts of the world, in the past few years, the therapeutic effects of this psychedelic drug have been discovered quite recently. This has made MDMA a potential treatment option for multiple psychiatric conditions. One area where MDMA has effected great positive change is PTSD.

Understanding PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that forms when individuals experience severe psychological trauma. This triggers strong negative feelings, memories, thoughts, and physical reactions. PTSD causes patients to become extremely vulnerable to triggers that resemble the traumatic experience in any way. PTSD can reduce the quality of life of individuals and needs therapy and medication to help.

Studies have found that MDMA is one of the most effective drugs for PTSD management. When combined with cognitive therapy and counseling, MDMA can help PTSD patients cope with their symptoms and regain their quality of life.

Five facts about MDMA’s role in PTSD Psychotherapy

1. MDMA releases happy hormones in the brain

MDMA, when consumed, increases the number of neurotransmitters in your brain. These neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that affect how the brain functions. Some of the neurotransmitters released include serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which are called “happy hormones” or “feel-good hormones” because they contribute to feelings of pleasure, calm, and satisfaction. In addition to these neurotransmitters, MDMA has also been found to stimulate the release of other hormones like cortisol, oxytocin, vasopressin, and prolactin, which together help to lower aggression, fear, stress, and anxiety.

Since these feelings are what exacerbate the symptoms of PTSD, MDMA helps reduce the severity of PTSD by changing brain activity to become calmer and happier.

2. MDMA has been found to increase empathy in patients

A surprising impact of MDMA-induced PTSD psychotherapy has been empathy. While scientists don’t know for certain how MDMA increases empathy in people diagnosed with PTSD, it does do so.

In a study by Molly Carlyle & et al. from the University of Exeter, titled “Greater empathy in MDMA users,” it was found that MDMA can reduce social distress and help diagnosed individuals have better cognitive and emotional relationships with others. In fact, the study found that participants had normal psychosocial functioning thanks to MDMA. This goes a long way in proving that MDMA need not be a debilitating drug all the time and can be a highly therapeutic psychedelic with immense social benefits for PTSD sufferers.

3. MDMA-assisted PTSD psychotherapy takes place over 12 weeks

People who take MDMA recreationally often do so whenever they prefer and without a specific quantity or frequency. This can cause more harm in patients with PTSD. Rather, for MDMA-induced PTSD psychotherapy to work, there must be a specific administration process that is followed.

Doctors recommend that PTSD diagnosed individuals undergo 2-3 sessions through a 12-weeks period, where they ingest 120 mg of MDMA per session. Depending on the severity of their symptoms and desired treatment outcomes, they may be advised to take another 40 mg of MDMA two hours after their first dose.

Complementing MDMA treatments must be cognitive therapy, counseling, and other treatment/coping techniques that can help the PTSD patient.

4. MDMA for PTSD psychotherapy can help reduce substance abuse problems

Past research has shown that many psychedelic drugs do have very addictive properties. However, there are no sufficient studies done to prove conclusively that MDMA causes physical dependency on users.

Instead, another surprising finding of the MDMA-induced PTSD psychotherapy studies has been MDMA’s ability to reduce substance abuse tendencies. Early reports indicate that individuals who received MDMA-induced psychotherapy are less-likely to develop a dependency on drugs and alcohol.

There are currently studies going on to find out if this is due to MDMA treating the addiction itself or addressing the symptoms of other psychiatric conditions that make PTSD patients vulnerable to substance abuse.

5. MDMA isn’t the right treatment for everyone who may want to undergo PTSD Psychotherapy

Despite all the amazing benefits offered by MDMA-induced PTSD psychotherapy, this is a treatment that isn’t ideal for every PTSD patient. Doctors need to conduct a slew of tests to qualify patients to participate in the trials. Currently, MDMA-induced PTSD psychotherapy is in Phase 3 clinical trial stage. Successful completion of Phase 3 will allow providers to officially apply for FDA approval for MDMA-induced PTSD psychotherapy.

Wrapping up

The future for MDMA-induced PTSD psychotherapy looks very bright. Reports indicate that patients can maintain their reduced symptoms for many days and sometimes weeks after a single session. In the next couple of years, the world can expect PTSD treatment to be revolutionized thanks to this therapeutic psychedelic.

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Debunking Myths and Misconceptions of Psychedelics

With an increasing focus on more and more research on psychedelic substances across the globe, there has been a rise in people spreading myths about the same. A lot of states across the United States of America have legalized cannabis for psychedelic therapeutic and other medical purposes.

Yet, the myths and misconceptions never seem to go away. In fact, people with stronger beliefs in the wrong facts seem to be increasing day by day. This trend is especially true for people of younger age.

Not only for use, but the industry has also seen a heavy inflow of money, to get to the roots of the drug and find out the therapeutic benefits of the same. This burgeoning industry, to say the least, has attracted a lot of eyeballs. It becomes important at this stage to talk about the myths and misconceptions around the whole thing.

Myth buster: Debunking Myths and Misconceptions of Psychedelics

Myth #1

Making Psychedelic Drugs Are Harvested Using Harmful Pesticide

This is one of the most widely spread myths. In fact, this myth goes back to the 1960s. It was believed that LSD or Acid, as it is commonly called, is cut using Strychnine. For the unversed, Strychnine is a harmful pesticide.

But recent research has proven that LSD dose not contain even one bit of Strychnine. Still, naysayers continue to spread the rumor through the grapevine. Interestingly, various NGOs are using these psychedelic substances as a therapy against depression and anxiety.

Myth #2

Psychedelics Increase Signals to the Brain

Opposite to what is commonly believed by the users of psychedelic substances, these substances do not increase signals to your brain. The feelings of confusion and restlessness are often believed to be of hyper-brain activity.

But research has shown otherwise. The blood flow which is indicative of increased brain activity has in fact decreased on the use of psychedelic substances. This makes them a perfect therapy for issues like anxiety and ADHD. But sadly, they do not turn your brain into a super brain.

Myth #3

Psychedelics Fry your Brain

There is a widespread belief in people that psychedelic drugs ‘fry’ your brain. Especially drugs like LSD, rank first in the list of such substances. But as studies by North Carolina University has shown, there are no proofs of ‘frying’.

The research pointed out that these drugs stay in the brain for 6-7 hours. For ‘frying’ you would need it to stay there for much longer, if not permanently. For the ones facing a psychotic episode after the use of psychedelic drugs on them, it may be due to psychosomatic effects. It is not true that the ‘episode’ happens due to some permanent damage to the brain.

Myth #4

Therapeutic Psychedelics May Lead to Addiction

This myth is, perhaps, the most laughable. The whole point of using these drugs in therapy is to infuse such small amounts of them that they do not lead to addiction. In fact, research has also shown that it helps significantly in de-addiction.

According to research conducted in the 1960s, a psychedelic drug, psilocybin, was used as a trial on people who were dependent upon alcohol. The research showed a surprising and significant result. Given as therapy and under the guidance of a Doctor, the addiction of the people participating in the trial was reduced significantly.

Similar research around the addiction to tobacco has also shown similar results. The number of cigarettes smoked by the people reduced to almost zero in a few sessions of psychedelic therapy.

So, next time someone says that therapy using psychedelic substances may land you in trouble, tell them that it does the exact opposite.

Myth #5

Therapeutic Psychedelics do not Improve PTSD

Sure, if you want to dismiss research. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has been one of the major mental ailments across the globe today. Especially in the older generation, who have seen World War 2. The problem is also widespread in Asian countries that have seen several wars post-WW2.

The use of psychedelic therapy has shown a significant reduction in PTSD symptoms. Findings have also been published in various journals and books. The reduction was even to the extent that some patients were even no longer identified as suffering from PTSD.

Therapeutic psychedelics are the tomorrow of medical science. It is time for us to shun the reluctance and look at it from a new perspective. Maybe, a big breakthrough is just around the corner?