Treating PTSD with MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy
Until recently, the neuroscience and psychiatric literature singularly portrayed MDMA as a drug with dangerous neurotoxic effects, consistent with its designation as a Schedule I drug by the FDA. This admonitory view of MDMA was supported by data from animal studies, and then later, human neuroimaging data. Although new findings present a far more encouraging view MDMA’s effect on brains, there continues to be suspicion concerning MDMA’s safety and therapeutic potential. But the tide is clearly turning.
This presentation will provide a brief history of how MDMA has been portrayed in the last 40 years and provide updated knowledge about the pharmacology and mechanism of action of MDMA. The promising results from Phase II trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in PTSD has given rise to a new optimism, even among those that were previously quite skeptical. More importantly, the designation by the FDA of MDMA’s breakthrough status has challenged scientists to establish new paradigms for studying MDMA’s effects in altering conscious states.
There is a major shift occurring in the way psychedelics are being viewed, and even those in the most conservative corners of mainstream science and mental health are recognizing that MDMA, the party drug used without the protocol of preparation, intention and clinical supervision, is a different experience from MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, in which professionals trained in working with persons in altered states, offer a structured, safe, and healing experience followed by an opportunity for integration and maintaining therapeutic gains. We will take questions and comments about the importance of scientific developments in helping rehabilitate the reputation of psychedelics and identify important questions for future research.
Taking entheogens can be like air travel: people do it all the time, it’s usually fine, but when it’s not fine, it’s sometimes very bad. We’ve been there. And that’s where an experienced guide can make the difference in the outcome.
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