Party drug is wowing researchers as powerful PTSD treatment

It is absolutely imperative that we, as a nation, do our utmost due diligence when it comes to fostering the care of our returning military members.

These are, after all, exemplary members of society who have chosen to risk it all for a chance to protect the values that we hold dear.  There’s not always a return flight for these brave men and women, but those who do make it home are only so lucky.

Many of our military members return to the United States under great emotional duress.  The stress, trauma, and shock of their experiences can turn molehills into mountains, particularly when it comes to re-entering the workforce or other facets of our modern society.

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One of the most prevalent manifestations of these difficulties is the affliction known as post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.  Treating PTSD can be incredibly difficult, due to a number of varying factors.

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But now a surprising drug is making major headway in the quest to comfort our nation’s bravest.

The first time Lori Tipton tried MDMA, she was skeptical it would make a difference.

“I really was, at the beginning, very nervous,” Tipton said.

MDMA is the main ingredient in the club drug known as ecstasy or molly. But Tipton wasn’t taking pills sold on the street to get high. She was trying to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder by participating in a clinical trial.

After taking a dose of pure MDMA, Tipton lay in a quiet room with two specially trained psychotherapists. They sat next to her as she recalled some of her deepest traumas, such as discovering her mother’s body after Tipton’s mother killed two people and then herself in a murder-suicide.

“In the embrace of MDMA,” Tipton said, she could revisit that moment without the usual terror and panic. “I was able to find such empathy for myself.”

Tipton is just one of many who are turning to the former “club drug” for help.

“MDMA allows you to contact feelings and sensations in a much more direct way,” said Saj Razvi, a Colorado-based psychotherapist who was a clinical investigator in the Phase 2 trials.

How MDMA works in the brain is not completely understood. The psychoactive drug boosts chemicals like serotonin and oxytocin. It also tamps down activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain that processes fear. This may lead to a state characterized by heightened feelings of safety and social connection.

“Trauma happens in isolation,” Razvi said. “One of the things that MDMA does is, really, lets you know that you are not alone.”

While the idea may be fairly novel, it appear to be not without merit.

And, when it comes to the courageous men and women in uniform, no stone should be left unturned.

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