A husband-and-wife research team in South Carolina is offering a treatment for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that includes the use of an unusual drug. The researchers base their treatment on small quantities of the hallucinogenic drug, ecstasy.
The drug, whose scientific name is MDMA, is known as a party drug, and has often featured heavily in the tabloids because of its use by the Hollywood set. Back in the 80s and 90s, ecstasy was widely used by people who loved the fact that it induced feelings of euphoria. In 1985, the drug was placed on a list of prohibited substances. However, some labs are permitted to produce MDMA for research purposes.
The South Carolina team has published their research paper in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. The study was conducted by the research team in collaboration with the University of South Carolina and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Most of the patients involved in the study were victims of rape. The treatment included the use of psychotherapy with a dose of ecstasy. California veterans benefits lawyers believe that this is the first time that research has focused on the use of recreational drugs, like ecstasy in the treatment of PTSD.
The researchers say that out of the 21 people who took their treatment and recovered from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, 15 people reported no return of the symptoms today. These people took the treatment in the 2000s.
The military was not involved in the research. However, it is likely that the military will be interested in the findings of the study because the Department of Defense is currently researching new therapies for post traumatic stress disorder, a condition which is widespread among veterans.
The incidence of PTSD is likely to increase over the next couple of years, as troops begin to return home from combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, making it imperative that we continue investments in new PTSD therapies.