Can Psychedelic Drugs Help Treat PTSD?
I am like so many vets with PTSD. There is nothing unique or special about me. I went to Iraq in 2004 and knew that something was drastically wrong when I took my mid-tour R&R.
I heard about a nonprofit organization called MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) that was funding research on MDMA assisted psychotherapy for veterans with treatment resistant PTSD. MDMA is what is supposed to be the active ingredient in “Molly” or “Ecstasy”, although getting real MDMA on the street is pretty rare.
Long story short, I met the requirements to participate in the study, since I had been treated for years by the VA with every anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drug known to man, none of which made me feel better.
This is a three month psychotherapy process. There are non-MDMA psychotherapy sessions before the first MDMA session. This is for the patient and therapists to get to know one another and gain initial trust. These early sessions set the groundwork and rules for the MDMA sessions. They want you to know what to expect and your right to control your own experience. Patients take MDMA only three times under supervision. No big Pharma pills you take three times a day for the rest of your life. MDMA has an extremely good safety profile. It is also out of patent, so there is no money in it for the drug companies.
The in-between and after treatment sessions are to build on what came out of the MDMA sessions. All the psychotherapy sessions are important, MDMA or not.
This is THE silver bullet for treating PTSD. An earlier study with women suffering from PTSD caused by sexual trauma showed 83% no longer had symptoms after 3.8 years. I was in a Phase 2 study and results have been so good that the big Phase 3 trials are approved by the FDA and will begin soon. These are the trails that will lead to approval of this treatment for everyone with PTSD.
My three MDMA sessions built on one another and took me from outside influences on my life to my inner psyche. I was nervous at first, had never tried MDMA before.
The first treatment, I experienced anxiety when feeling the drug come on, but the therapists told me to breathe through it and ask myself why I was feeling this way. That soon passed into a beautiful euphoria where I was in complete control at all times. I remember everything. I had an agenda, I had work to do. The therapists had to work at getting me to let go and let the medicine do its work. They told me I was allowed to have a good time. What a concept, medicine that doesn’t fuck you up and make you feel worse.