Posted By Ina Woolcott
Some doctors, including Dr Michael Mithoefer, believe MDMA could be the key to solving previously untreatable deep-rooted traumas. For a hard core of PTSD cases, no amount of antidepressants or psychotherapy can free them of the horror of systematic abuse or a bad near-death experience, and the slightest reminder triggers vivid flashbacks.
Dr Michael Mithoefer is a psychiatrist from South Carolina who struggled for years to get funding and permission to study with MDMA.
What makes MDMA so useful, Mithoefer believes, is the trust it establishes. “Many people with PTSD have a great deal of trouble trusting anybody, especially if they’ve been betrayed by someone who abused their trust, like a parent or a caregiver,” he says. “MDMA has this effect of lowering fear and defences. It also allows more compassion for oneself and for others. People can revisit the trauma, feel the original feelings but not be retraumatised, not feel overwhelmed or have to numb out to cope with it.”
One lady Mithoefer studied with was Donna, who suffered with PSTD (post-traumatic stress disorder), after being raped said:
“Michael and Annie Mithoefer aren’t your typical kind of therapists”. She was dubious about Michael’s ponytail and sandals when they first met, but she is emotional as she talks about him now. “I don’t think I’ve ever met two people who cared so much about people getting well. I’d see tears in their eyes when I told them what I went through.” Three other former patients of the Mithoefers who contacted me about this article described them as “heroes”, “pioneers”, even “life-savers”.
At the time the Mithoefers treated Donna, March 2004, their study had been a long time in the pipeline. Convinced of MDMA’s potential, Rick Doblin, founder of the MAPS, (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), had been in and out of the courts seeking permission from the FDA, Food & Drug Administration for clinical research since 1984.
For those of you against the use of MDMA to help people with PSTD –
In 2004, the most recent year for which there are records, 46 people died after taking Ecstasy, compared to 8,221 alcohol-related deaths. And most of those who die with MDMA in their system have mixed it with substances such as alcohol or cannabis, which confounds the picture. Earlier this year, the police chief for North Wales, Richard Brunstrom, called for the drug to be reclassified, claiming it was “safer than aspirin”. He was widely shouted down, but Steve Rolles of Transform believes he may have a point. “It’s not appropriate to have Ecstasy in class A. In terms of indicators of harm – toxicity, mortality, addictiveness and antisocial behaviour – it’s not comparable to heroin or cocaine. But the government won’t reclassify it. Reclassifying cannabis [from class B to C] in 2004 caused years of grief from opposition parties and the media.”
…if MDMA does prove effective, companies could stand to lose millions from lost sales of long-term antidepressants prescribed for PTSD. Sessa says: “There’s no financial incentive for the pharmaceutical companies to look into it. Psychotherapy is notoriously under funded and discredited by the drug companies. It could benefit the government to look into MDMA, but their funding is a drop in the ocean next to a company like Pfizer’s research budget. So who’s going to pay for a multi-centre psychotherapy trial for 10,000 people – the couch-makers?”
I personally feel that of course if it helps people it should be available – more so than the powerful antidepressants which can lead to suicide and indifference to life and addiction.
After all, antidepressants can be addictive and may eventually result in the patient needing drug treatment, which is an entirely different problem altogether.
Why don’t people just want to help one another, rather than just be interested in making money. I don’t get it. Don’t companies like Pfizer have enough profits in the bank to live happily ever after and fund quality research that genuinely helps people rather than make them dependent, or even iller and then needing different drugs to counter the effects, and then more drugs to counter the effects of those drugs.
To read more… : Ecstasy is the key to treating PTSD
Related reading :Research on psychedelics moves into the mainstream (FROM THE LANCET)
Further reading: : MDMA RESEARCH INFO