Can Ecstasy help veterans with PTSD?

Hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with post-traumatic stress have recently contacted a husband-and-wife team who are evaluating MDMA, better known as Ecstasy, for trauma.

The soldiers have no interest in traditional talking cures or prescription drugs that have given them little relief. They want to try Ecstasy, a party drug that can induce pulses of euphoria. The drug was criminalized in 1985, but regulators have licensed a small number of labs to produce MDMA for research purposes.

Michael and Ann Mithoefer, the husband-and-wife team, offer a treatment that combines psychotherapy with a dose of MDMA. In a paper posted online last week by the Journal of Psychopharmacology, they write that they found 15 of 21 people who recovered from severe post-traumatic stress using the therapy in the early 2000s reported minor to virtually no symptoms today.

Experts familiar with the work cautioned that it was preliminary and has other limitations. Read more in the New York Times about how, with the scarcity of good treatments for PTSD, the couple’s continuing research and similar studies are being closely watched.




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