New Study Confirms MDMA's Effectiveness in Psychotherapy

A study reported online today in the Journal of Psychopharmacology finds lasting benefits from MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for people diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The researchers, led by South Carolina psychiatrist Michael Mithoefer, followed up on 19 subjects, mostly victims of sexual abuse or assault, who took MDMA (a.k.a. Ecstasy) during three sessions interspersed with drug-free psychotherapy. Initial results reported two years ago indicated that subjects who received MDMA were much more likely than subjects who received a placebo to show improvement on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale. After that study, the eight controls were invited to use MDMA, and all but one agreed. The 19 subjects completed follow-up evaluations an average of three and a half years after the MDMA sessions.

"There was an enduring, clinically meaningful benefit from MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to PTSD patients," Mithoefer et al. write. "No subjects reported any harm from study participation and all of them reported some degree of benefit....These results indicate that there was a favorable long-term risk/benefit ratio for PTSD treatment with just a few doses of pure MDMA administered in a supportive setting, in conjunction with psychotherapy. Should further research validate our initial findings, we predict that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy will become an important treatment option for this very challenging clinical and public health problem."

Subjects' comments on questionnaires shed light on MDMA's function as a catalyst for productive talk therapy. "It increased my ability to stay with and handle getting through emotions," said one. "The MDMA provided a dialogue with myself I am not often able to have," said another, "and there is the long-term effect of an increased sense of well-being." A third subject said: “I was always too frightened to look below the sadness. The MDMA and the support allowed me to pull off the controls, and I...knew how and what and how fast or slow I needed to see my pain."

Before the Drug Enforcement Administration banned MDMA in 1985 because it had become popular as a party drug, Mithoefer and his colleagues note, "uncontrolled published reports suggested that [MDMA], when administered in conjunction with psychotherapy, could yield substantial benefits for those afflicted with a variety of disorders." Now, after decades of government-engineered neglect, the psychotherapeutic benefits of MDMA are once again coming to the fore, thanks largely to the efforts of the Mutidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which funded Mithoefer's study and guided it through the legal obstacles created by MDMA's Schedule I status. If MDMA does indeed become "an important treatment option" for PTSD, it will be a huge victory for the MAPS strategy of working within the system to gradually loosen arbitrary government restrictions on useful psychoative substances.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Uh, why is Michael Mithoefer not currently in jail? South Carolina = SOFT ON CRIME.

  • amelia||

    IIRC, the Medical University of South Carolina only allowed them to conduct the study because they took out a huge insurance policy against harm to the patients, and agreed that a physician and nurse would be present in the waiting room during the entirely of MDMA-assisted sessions.

    Nevertheless, I can't help but feel a certain degree of pride that this took place in my home state. Not much takes place there that gives me any degree of pride.

  • ||

    I used to drug up monkeys with MDMA at the primate lab I worked at. Good times. Those monkeys did some insanely disgusting shit. Stuff that makes Warty look kind of not insane. But just kind of.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • ||

    You asked for this.

    I once watched a male have sex with a female (hot!) and then after he was done (which was about five seconds, so you should empathize with him), he started pulling some disgusting sticky, webby substance off his dick and began smearing it on the wall, don't ask me why. He then went away and one of the junior males went up to what he'd smeared, smelled it, and then began licking it off the wall. Yummy.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    *shrugs*

    Sounds like one of my cheap-whiskey fueled Bangkok nights to me, except for the part where I woke up in a squat toilet.

  • ||

    I see you're not denying the five second allegation. That's what I figured.

  • sarcasmic||

    Where does funding for a lab like that come from? What kind of profit can be made from observing shit like that?

  • ||

    It comes from grants. It's as massive bullshit as you would assume.

  • ||

    When I was last in Hawaii, there was was this restaurant we used to go to called Pearl City Tavern. The place was famous for its "monkey bar," with was a huge plexiglass enclosure behind the bar that housed a family of mokeys - squirrel monkeys or spider monkeys of some such. One interesting tidbit I picked up was that these little bastards have prehensile cocks, and that they would plaster themselves against the window, facing the dining area (i.e., where people are eating), and draw cock circles on the glass, sans hands. So I'm also familiar with the sticky webby substance you referenced.

  • ||

    From what I can see on the web, it looks like that place has bonnet macaques like we did, so it looks like we've both seen the wonder of monkey sex.

  • ||

    From what I can see on the web, it looks like that place has bonnet macaques like we did, so it looks like we've both seen the wonder of monkey sex.

    Not sure about the actual coitus, but I definitely had the image of hands-free monkey masturbation seared into my young brain forever.

    Here's a shot
    of it, circa 1956. Turns out it closed in 1993, after 60-something years of business.

  • ||

    Not sure about the actual coitus, but I definitely had the image of hands-free monkey masturbation seared into my young brain forever.

    Here's a shot
    of it, circa 1956.

    I am happy to say that my expectations of the linked content were not met.

  • ||

    I am happy to say that my expectations of the linked content were not met.

    This is a family forum, and thus not an appropriate place to post monkey porn. What sort of monster do you think I am?

  • Robert||

    That's soooo cute. And I'm not being sarcastic.

  • ||

    Those monkeys did some insanely disgusting shit.

    I'd love to have seen that. I'm sure the drug exerts the same effect on them that it does on us, so I imagine they were at least happy when they were doing their disgusting shit. They're already the nastiest creatures on the face of the planet, so I can't imagine what they're like with all their inhibitions removed.

  • ||

    We would have them play very simple video games (think: Pong level video game) while high and record their performance rates. So, basically, what I would like to do every day, except I want oxycodone and Borderlands 2.

  • ||

    "They're already the nastiest creatures on the face of the planet..."

    I am gonna have to disagree and go with....humans.

  • Tim||

    Welll I'm in the wrong place.

  • Lord Humungus||

    treatment? Just suck all those bad emotions inside and drink lots of booze.

  • Pagan Priestess||

    "Decide to be fine ’till the end of the week. Make yourself smile, because … you’re alive, and that’s your job. Then do it again the next week.”

    “So fake it?”

    “I call it being professional. Do it right, with a smile, or don’t do it.”

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