Positive results from a new study in Scientific American on the drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)—-also known as ecstasy—-may give new hope to returning war troops with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The study was conducted under the auspices of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). According to psychiatrist Michael Mithoefer, one of the study researchers, after 2 or 3 sessions, patients who received MDMA had significant drops in symptom severity as measured by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS)—-a standard PTSD scale. At baseline, study patients had an average score of 79 on the CAPS. After MDMA-assisted therapy, scores dropped to 23.4 in the 13-person active-treatment group, whereas an 8-person placebo group averaged a score of 60. And the results seem to endure: after an average of 3.5 years, many of the participants were still asymptomatic for PTSD.
Other psychedelic entities are also under investigation by the MAPS, including anxiety and depression in patients with substance abuse, depression, or late-stage cancer.
More about PTSD:
Erasing Memories: Next Treatment for PTSD and Other Trauma-Related Disorders? (Podcast)
Virtual Reality for PTSD