Psychiatric Views on the Daily News - Episode 39

Psychedelics Providing Hope for Veterans and Others

Psychedelics: returning hope to veterans with PTSD.

PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS

My wife and I do not watch much TV, but we almost always watch CBS Sunday Morning. I am not sure that the show this past Sunday, which had 2 segments on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and veterans, was a follow-up to the just passed Veterans Day, but it sure seemed that way.

This show’s cover story was on “New hope in treating PTSD with psychedelic drugs.”1 It focused on a veteran of 2 tours in Iraq, who had been struggling with severe PTSD for about a dozen years. Treatment as usual was not helping, as is often the case with PTSD, especially when there is moral injury involved. In his case, he felt strong guilt about being unable to rescue, but only being able to watch, another fellow soldier burn to death from an explosive device.

He then heard of a US Food and Drug Administration therapeutic breakthrough trial on psychedelics for treating PTSD and was able to enroll. The treatment was MDMA, aka ecstasy, with the crucial complement of psychotherapy. After 3 sessions, his symptoms dissipated and have continued to do so.

Later in the show, there was a report about a woman who had found 2 Army uniforms in a dumpster. Finding that unusual, she wanted to find the owner, but only had the last name of McKenzie on a jacket. Eventually, she found out they were from a veteran who had served twice in Afghanistan, developed PTSD, and then died from suicide in 2018. She decided to make the 1000 mile drive to his wife and teenage son to deliver them in person. The son was overwhelmed and felt that she returned more than the uniforms. She returned hope for the future. If only the father could have tried a psychedelic.

Hopefully, the outstanding results and protocols will continue to pan out in this new paradigm.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric TimesTM.

Reference

1. CBS Sunday Morning. New hope in treating PTSD with psychedelic drugs. YouTube. November 14, 2021. Accessed November 16, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMBRgBFp7TI