How MDMA works in the brain? MDMA alters mood and perception. In non-clinical settings, it is a common recreational drug — known as Ecstasy (E) or Molly.
MDMA can produce blissful experiences, but also can be used to revisit traumatic memories. (Shutterstock)
MDMA works on numerous neural structures (especially the amygdala and pre-frontal cortex) and enhances the secretion of hormones and neurotransmitters — namely serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and oxytocin, among others.
The drug can produce joyful, blissful experiences and, in the context of PTSD treatment, can allow for a revisiting of traumatic memories, emotions and context with greater ease and less avoidance than would be possible without the drug.
MDMA-facilitated psychotherapy embeds the use of MDMA within a psychotherapy treatment for PTSD, therefore providing a deeply evocative template to be able to work from — to move the seemingly immovable presence of the trauma.