Should MDMA be used in psychotherapy to treat PTSD?
In this essay, it will be argued that MDMA should be used in psychotherapy and in particular Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but only in a controlled clinical setting as there is no evidence for MDMA neurotoxicity in such conditions. Mithoefer et al (2011) is a recent study that attempted just that. It reported findings that 83% of participants no longer met DSM-IV criteria for PTSD after MDMA treatment, highlighting its potential value in assisting psychotherapy. A follow up study, Mithoefer et al (2012) found the number of initial participants who were in active psychotherapy had dropped from 84% to 42% after a mean time of 3.5 years since MDMA assisted-psychotherapy.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder where people re-experience symptoms (flashbacks, intrusive thoughts), emotional numbing and hyper-arousal. In neuropsychological terms this can be explained as deficits in extinction learning, alterations in fear conditioning, and sensitization (Pitman et al., 2012). The patient with PTSD constantly monitors the environment for threats, including regarding the therapist with distrust. Having a trusting relationship with the therapist is essential for successful therapy so that the patient feels safe enough to confront their thoughts and feelings. This can be facilitated through clinical administration of MDMA where Johansen and Krebs (2009) concluded that MDMA brought about; acceptance of one's self, induced an increase in openness and communication, an acceptance for others, and enabled traumatic or other negatively salient memories to be processed without fear or avoidance behaviour. The physiological symptoms experienced after ingesting MDMA in a controlled setting are generally mild and tolerable (Mithoefer et al, 2011).
Serotonin (5-HT) is a neurotransmitter considered to regulate mood, appetite, and sleep (Artigas, 2013). MDMA increases the amount of serotonin available in the synaptic clefts....
...MDMA assisted Psychotherapy
In the past few decades there has been increasingly intensive research done on the effectiveness of the chemical compound MDMA when used in conjuncture with psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD and other anxiety related mental illnesses, and the results are astounding. In a study by MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), 83% of those tested usingMDMA no longer met criteria for PTSD after treatment while only 25% of the placebo group showed such improvement. Furthermore, their condition actually continued to improve over time well after the therapy was over, while the placebo group quickly relapsed (Powerful Results, Promising Futures). Despite these impressive results, there has been great resistance in introducing MDMA officially into the world of psychotherapy. It has been met with skepticism at every turn, due to its stigmatized label as a psychedelic and classification as a Schedule 1 drug. (DEA / Drug Scheduling). Letting test results speak for themselves, MDMA assisted psychotherapy is a powerful tool in curing PTSD and should not be kept from those who would benefit from it because of misconceptions.
MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, more commonly known as ecstasy) is a psychoactive drug that...
...Coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:
Taking the Painful or Peaceful Approach
September 26, 2012
In studying the world of mental health, there are so many interesting topics to explore. The behavior of the human race is fascinating, and there is much to be learned from studying them. One topic in particular that is both fascinating and ever-increasing is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. This is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event or situation. This situation usually results in witnessing or experiencing personal physical harm. People with PTSD experience have debilitating thoughts of their ordeal, leading to problems sleeping, feelings of detachment or numbness, and problems assimilating back in to society after the event has occurred. Significant research has been done on effective ways to treat this debilitating disorder. Two of the most successful treatments, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, have provided the mental health community with a way to combat this disorder that plagues a growing number of people.
Nearly everyone can recall an event in their lives which they considered traumatic. Whether it be the loss of a loved one, an accident of some kind, or having witnessed an upsetting incident. We frequently dwell on these situations for a...
...Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD
University of Hawaii at Hilo
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, refers to deep emotional wounds. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by haunting memories, nightmares, social withdrawal, jumpy anxiety, and insomnia that lingers for four weeks or more after a traumatic experience (Myers, 2011). Post Traumatic Stress Disorder categorizes it self as one of the anxiety disorders. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder results from being exposed to an event, or even a series of events, that is very over whelming and stressful; like war, rape or abuse (Schiraldi, 2000). Normal people give normal responses to an abnormal situation (Schiraldi, 2000). They say that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a normal response to an abnormal situation because the condition is understandable and what happened has overwhelmed normal coping responses (Schiraldi, 2000).
There are a wide variety of events that happen in life, which can trigger Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. All of the events fall under three categories. These three categories include; Intentional Human, which is the most difficult to recover from, followed by Unintentional Human, then Acts of Nature, which is the least complex to deal with (Beckner & Arden, 2008). Some examples of Intentional Human events are: Combat War, Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Torture, Criminal Assault,...
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
September 15, 2012
Post-traumatic stress disorder is an illness that can suddenly occur or take a simple situation to make it be triggered. The most occurring cases are when a veteran is returning from a combat and trying to live in a regular world state. The symptoms can range from just reliving their experience or situation by being reminded of it, or becoming overly aggressive when they feel they are in harm. When in reality they are not in danger at all. There are medications available to help and also psychotherapy treatments for victims that are trying to overcome it.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is not about what is wrong with you; it is what happened to you. This statement I feel is completely true and says everything about post-traumatic stress disorder . “PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event (Mayo Clinic Staff 2011).” Researchers can pinpoint people who are more susceptible to suffer from PTSD, such as scarred soldiers and military combat is the most common in men, but any overwhelming life experience can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder, especially if the event feels unpredictable and uncontrollable. PTSD is a condition that can affect not only the person, but their family and friends. Some people that...
...serious injury.” (American Psychiatric Association, 2005) Many Americans experience individual traumatic events ranging from car and airplane accidents to sexual assault and domestic violence to events that took place while serving in the military. Research shows that in one out of ten Americans, the traumatic event causes a cascade of psychological and biological changes known as post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder, changes the biology of the brain. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and PET (positron emission tomography) scans show changes in the way memories are stored in the brain. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is an environmental shock that changes your brain, and scientists do not know if it is reversible.
According to the DSM, diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, there are three different specifiers for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, acute, chronic and delayed onset. Acute Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is when the duration of the symptoms is less than three months. Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Disorder should be used when the symptoms last three months or longer. Delayed onset is when there is at least six months have passed between the traumatic event and the onset of symptoms. (American Psychiatric Association, 2005)
There are three main symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, flashbacks, emotional detachment, and jumpiness. Flashbacks are when a person goes...
...Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? PTSD is an illness that occurs after traumatic events happen in which harm is threatened or caused to a person. People often associate this disorder with being in the military during war, such as now, and suffering traumatic events (Getzfeld & Schwartz). This is very true, but this disorder can affect people from all walks of life. Some other examples of people that developPTSD are cancer patients, someone living with an abusive spouse. He or she might exhibit PTSD a month or so after seeking help and leaving the abusive relationship.
What are the Symptoms?
When someone is suffering from this disease or mental illness, they will show signs of anxiety. Heart palpitations are common, as well as shortness of breath, and heavy sweating are some of the symptoms that are present with this illness (Giles, 2005). A person can be easily startled, and it can cause such disruption for them that they may need to be hospitalized to keep them from harming themselves or others. As I stated before, PTSD usually starts around the first month of a traumatic event, but it is not unusual for it to take up to three months before showing symptoms.
A person that suffers from this disease can behave rather unusual in some situations. Say you are in a crowded room and everyone having a great time. Then someone drops a glass and it...
...of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These factors interfere with the emotional processing of the traumatic event (Edwards D., 2005). These factors include painful emotions, which leads to avoidance which thus maintains the PTSD (Edwards D., 2005). Therefore the analysis of these maintaining factors provides the basis for current approaches to treatment and intervention which will support the individuals in challenging these factors (Edwards D., 2005).
A large number of people who experience and suffer from PTSD do not receive the care they need to address this psychological disorder (Litz, Williams, Wang, Bryant, & Engel Jr, 2004). These large numbers of potential traumatised individuals require an evidence-based mental health intervention as Litz, et al (2004) has stated. Evidenced-based practice is defined as the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current evidence in making the appropriate decisions about the care of the individual patient, which means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best and most appropriate external clinical evidence from systematic research (Edwards D., 2005).
There are many treatment and intervention methods for PTSD, whether they are effective tends to rely on the individual, environmental context and possibly the counsellor or therapist. PTSD is usually treated on an individual basis. This means only the individual is treated for the...
MDMA and the effects the drug has on a person
MDMA (methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), also known as ecstasy, is a synthetic drug that has similarities to both the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline (Baselt, 2011). It causes one to experience feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth and empathy toward others. It also causes distortions in a person’s sensory and time perception (Baselt, 2011). MDMA was initially popular among white adolescents and young adults in the nightclub scene or at “raves” (long dance parties), but the drug now affects a broader range of users and ethnicities (Koellhoffer, 2008).
Methylenedioxyamphetamine, or MDA, is a drug closely related to Ecstasy. Merck, a drug company, first created MDA in Germany in 1910 (Gijsman, Verkes, Van Gerven, & Cohen, 1999). Some people believe it was sold as an appetite suppressant, but many historians consider this a myth. MDMA was produced in 1912. In the years after it was first synthesized, MDMA was largely ignored. That was because of the outbreak of World War I, which forced the pharmaceutical industry to focus on drugs and other chemicals that could aid the war effort. In 1941, scientists tested MDA as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, but it caused muscle stiffness in at least one of the patients involved in the experiment, so the study was...