In what could be one of the most revolutionary approaches to treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine or MDMA alongside psychotherapy in a controlled setting could be the most effective treatment for the problem. Scientists across North America, including researchers from the Canadian province of British Columbia, are gearing up for the third and final stage of tests that will begin the legalization of MDMA-assisted drug psychotherapy by 2021. According to the researchers, while the traditional PTSD treatments involve a high drop-out rate and can last for years, MDMA-assisted therapy usually lasts for fewer than four months with more chances of complete recovery among participants.
PTSD can occur in individuals following a traumatic or life-threatening event and can lead to additional symptoms, including anxiety, depression or substance use disorders. Those suffering from the disorder may feel stressed or frightened even when not in danger.
A stimulant and psychedelic, MDMA is used to reduce inhibitions and promote feelings of closeness, empathy, sexual urge and euphoria among its users. A synthetic chemical made in clandestine laboratories, MDMA is distributed in tablets, capsules, powder and liquid forms. Post the success of the previous two trials, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designated MDMA as a breakthrough therapy for PTSD in August 2017.
The third and final trial that will test whether results obtained in the second stage could be replicated at a larger scale will involve up to 150 participants and cost $26 million. If successful, the final round of clinical trial will pave way for Canada and the United States to approve MDMA for therapeutic use by 2021.
MDMA most effective in treating PTSD
According to Mark Haden, an advocate for the treatment and a public health professor at the University of British Columbia, through the trials the researchers want to prove that MDMA-assisted therapy is the most effective treatment in existence for PTSD. As per researchers, the drug’s effectiveness can partly be attributed to its ability to dispel patient’s fear and increase bonding between people by acting as an empathogen, helping patients to experience emotional oneness and openness in the form of increased empathy. According to Haden, “MDMA really, really, really increases bonding between people.”
According to one of the trial participants who suffered from PTSD, during the trial, he did not “feel trippy” or saw things, neither had the “urge to get up and dance” or had a “miraculous spiritual experience.” He just felt happy about the fact that for the first time in years, he was able to “open up and talk painlessly.”
A popular drug of abuse among young people, MDMA has a high potential for abuse, and its continued use can lead to psychological and physical dependence and addiction. Some of the unwanted psychological effects of MDMA abuse include confusion, anxiety, depression, paranoia, sleep problems and intense craving for the drug. While mental health and substance use disorders are serious enough on their own, when combined, they can pose a bigger problem to an individual’s physical and emotional health. A complex diagnosis, dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder is a term used for someone experiencing mental illness and substance use problem simultaneously. While symptoms of dual diagnosis vary from person to person, an effective treatment requires an early diagnosis followed by a comprehensive treatment program that treats both the conditions at the same time. Even if one problem remains undiagnosed, untreated or undertreated, it can make the other problem worse and lower the quality of life.
Integrated treatment for complete recovery
A leading behavioral and substance addiction disorder treatment provider, Sovereign Health’s dual diagnosis treatment centers offer an integrated treatment for multiple mental health disorders and substance abuse-related problems. In addition to offering the traditional clinically proven treatment options, we offer our patients numerous other treatment modalities, including experiential treatments and continuing care programs for long-lasting recovery. For more information on our top-notch dual diagnosis treatment programs that address the underlying causes and help a person recover in the most compassionate way, call our 24/7 helpline number and speak to a representative. For instant help, you can also chat online with an expert.