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Ecstasy as a viable treatment for trauma victims?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: ecstasy, psychotherapy, health news

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(NaturalNews) A recent U.S. study suggests that the drug ecstasy may help to treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder. In a small trial of 20 people, researchers found that the popular rave drug helps to improve the effects of psychotherapy in patients who have had little or no success with conventional treatments.

Published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the study evaluated a group of volunteers that participated in two, eight-hour psychotherapy sessions over the course of several weeks. Part of the group took ecstasy as part of their treatment, while the other took a placebo. Ten of the 12 participants that took the ecstasy responded well to the psychotherapy treatments, while only two of the eight who took the placebo responded well.

Ecstasy is a methamphetamine drug that is known to alter a person's normal consciousness and put him or her into a trance-like state It is a controlled substance that is generally recognized as an illegal narcotic without benefit, but it is now beginning to gain attention among psychiatrists who see it as a beneficial treatment option for their patients.

Known clinically as MDMA, ecstasy is said to have been used worldwide as a psychotherapy treatment long before it became an illegal, recreational-use drug. It helps to ease tension and bring about good feelings in a person's brain.

"MDMA seems to bring people into the optimal zone for therapy and seems to help them process the trauma and not be overwhelmed by feelings," explained Dr. Michael Mithoefer, psychiatrist and author of the study.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which funded the study, claims that patients experienced no adverse effects from taking MDMA during the course of the trial, but other research shows that MDMA, in its drug form, can carry with it some serious, long-term side effects.

"Since it is a form of metha-amphetamine, those who take Ecstasy are risking serious cardiovascular problems," explains Doreen Virtue, Ph.D., in her book Constant Craving: What Your Food Cravings Mean and How to Overcome Them.

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