Most of us think of ecstasy (or MDMA) as an illegal drug – a dancefloor hallucinogen which causes very unusual facial expressions.
But the drug could soon be used as a treatment for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
America’s FDA (Food and Drug Administration) awarded the drug ‘breakthrough status’ – which means it should be fast-tracked as a potential treatment.
Studies have shown that patients with PTSD – where it’s difficult to deal with painful memories – can overcome their traumas, long-term, with the aid of MDMA.
Last year, one psychotherapist who hopes to use the drug to treat patients says that America is ‘on track’ to allow the use of the drug within five years.
Rick Doblin, head of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, says, ‘We’re on track for MDMA to be approved by the FDA by 2021. We are in a pretty good place for reaching this goal.’
Several studies have shown that MDMA can have positive effects in patients suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
There are at least seven current studies investigating the drug’s use for beneficial purposes – including a study researching its impact on terminal patients with just a few months left to live.
Another pioneering study is to investigate whether the stimulant could help autistic people overcome social anxiety.
Doblin says, ‘Really, it’s MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. That’s the treatment – it’s not just the MDMA by itself. This provides a lot of extra support and safety through the whole process.’ – Metro