Ecstasy as a Useful Pharmacotherapy Addition

Posted on December 5, 2018

Drugs have often been linked to a myriad of physical and mental health deteriorations, but in a recent study, it appears that a specific drug may in fact be useful in the alleviation of PTSD symptoms. Recent findings suggest that ecstasy’s role in eliciting euphoria users may help to alleviate PTSD symptoms in war veterans, firefights and police officers.

The study recruited 26 personnel diagnosed with work-incurred PTSD. PTSD may be elicited by experiencing a particularly traumatic event, with sufferers continuing to relive the original experience through flashbacks and an almost perpetual state of anxiety and fear. This condition can sometimes last for an extended period of time, sometimes even years and decades after the original trauma-eliciting experience. Sufferers report being easily startled and irritable, and this condition has been linked to a high risk of suicide.

Participants in the present study were assigned to one of three conditions, varying only on the dosage of ecstasy administered to them. Results showed that those in the higher-dosage conditions – 75mg and 125mg of ecstasy – reported greater improvements in their PTSD symptoms than those in the smaller-dosage condition of 30mg. Participants did not know their dosage amount during the study.

Further findings from the study showed that 86% of the 75mg condition group showed a marked improvement in their symptoms such that they no longer qualified for a PTSD diagnosis. This effect was seen to be at 58% for the 125mg group, and 29% for the 30mg group, suggesting that a dosage of 75mg of ecstasy may be the most effective dosage in this study, and that it is not the higher dosage the better when it comes to alleviation of PTSD symptoms.

A follow-up done a year after the study found that severity of symptoms remained significantly reduced, and 16 of the 26 participants no longer qualified for a PTSD diagnosis, suggesting that using ecstasy as a possible treatment for PTSD symptoms may be promising due to its long-term sustainability of improvements.

A previous study has also shown that ecstasy may also be useful in treating survivors of sexual trauma.

However, research into using drugs as a form of pharmacotherapy should be heavily cautioned – the authors of the present study emphasized that pharmacotherapy and, in the case of ecstasy specifically, should be undertaken only when it is done under the recommendations and supervision of a medical professional.

Furthermore, during the present study, 20 participants had reported negative physical effects such as anxiety, headaches, fatigue and insomnia, with 1 participant being admitted into the hospital for treatment of suicidal thoughts. The authors did not know if these reported effects were attributable to the use of ecstasy or it was related to something else entirely.

Additionally, the lack of a control group, placebo conditions or comparisons to existing medications highlight the inadequacy of the present study, giving further support to the note of caution that the present findings should be interpreted carefully.

Category(s):Complex PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD

Source material from Medical Xpress