Skip to comments.Ecstasy trials for combat stress
Posted on 02/17/2005 7:37:17 PM PST by freedom44
American soldiers traumatised by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be offered the drug ecstasy to help free them of flashbacks and recurring nightmares.
The US food and drug administration has given the go-ahead for the soldiers to be included in an experiment to see if MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, can treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
Scientists behind the trial in South Carolina think the feelings of emotional closeness reported by those taking the drug could help the soldiers talk about their experiences to therapists. Several victims of rape and sexual abuse with post-traumatic stress disorder, for whom existing treatments are ineffective, have been given MDMA since the research began last year.
Michael Mithoefer, the psychiatrist leading the trial, said: "It's looking very promising. It's too early to draw any conclusions but in these treatment-resistant people so far the results are encouraging.
"People are able to connect more deeply on an emotional level with the fact they are safe now."
He is about to advertise for war veterans who fought in the last five years to join the study.
According to the US national centre for post-traumatic stress disorder, up to 30% of combat veterans suffer from the condition at some point in their lives.
Known as shell shock during the first world war and combat fatigue in the second, the condition is characterised by intrusive memories, panic attacks and the avoidance of situations which might force sufferers to relive their wartime experiences.
Dr Mithoefer said the MDMA helped people discuss traumatic situations without triggering anxiety.
"It appears to act as a catalyst to help people move through whatever's been blocking their success in therapy."
The existing drug-assisted therapy sessions last up to eight hours, during music is played. The patients swallow a capsule containing a placebo or 125mg of MDMA - about the same or a little more than a typical ecstasy tablet.
Psychologists assess the patients before and after the trial to judge whether the drug has helped.
The study has provoked controversy, because significant doubts remain about the long-term risks of ecstasy.
Animal studies suggest that it lowers levels of the brain chemical serotonin, and some politicians and anti-drug campaigners have argued that research into possible medical benefits of illegal drugs presents a falsely reassuring message.
The South Carolina study marks a resurgence of interest in the use of controlled psychedelic and hallucinogenic drugs. Several studies in the US are planned or are under way to investigate whether MDMA, LSD and psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, can treat conditions ranging from obsessive compulsive disorder to anxiety in terminal cancer patients.
Somehow,for me, this just has "bad idea" written all over it.
When did our soldiers become ravers?
umm.. I think research is good.
If I recall correctly MDMA was originally used for this purpose before it was introduced to the clubs, by former therapy patients, and then made a controlled substance.
I hope under controlled circumstances, the guys get the help they may need.
"Several studies in the US are planned or are under way to investigate whether MDMA, LSD and psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, can treat conditions ranging from obsessive compulsive disorder to anxiety in terminal cancer patients."
Somehow I find this statement very doubtful.
Chemical roto rooter for neuro pathways...
just as an interesting aside, soldiers who smoked the MJ during Vietnam were found to be less likely to return home with PTSD, while those who didn't smoke were more likely to have it.
It was given mainly to couples who were having difficulty in their relationships by psychiatrists.
When was this written? 1965?
LSD to treat anxiety. Yeah, that'll work.
I'm going to give you cocaine to combat your insomnia.
Could be because those in the field (at risk for PTSD) were less likely to be smoking dope. I hear that drug use was really more a rear area issue, not tolerated in the field. Of course that would contradict Oliver Stones account.
That said, I have no problem with MDMA clinical experiments.
This same idea was advanced in the VietNam era, only with LSD as the dope of choice instead of Ecstasy. It was soon discredited.
I'm disappointed but not surprised to see that the shavetails in academe are intent on making the same mistakes their elders did.
In the PTSD business, everybody looks for the easy out.
"just as an interesting aside, soldiers who smoked the MJ during Vietnam were found to be less likely to return home with PTSD, while those who didn't smoke were more likely to have it."
I'd like to see some data please. I ran a PTSD program for VN vets for years, and virtually to a man, they smoked pot in Vietnam. Might not quite have been 100%, but I'd say with confidence it was 80-90% plus.
I'm not so sure about that...let's watch the trials & see what happens.
I can say from experience that back in my partying college days, I took X a few times, & WOW, I gotta tell ya, that fear, anger, resentment, & all the other negative feelings were totally wiped away from my mind while on it. I bet you coulda put Yasser Arafat & Ariel Sharon in the same room, & about an hour after taking some X, they would be hugging & apologizing to ea other: "I'm sorry, Yasser...no, no, it's MY fault, Ariel! Please forgive me!".
Remember that song by the Eagles called "Peaceful, Easy, Feeling"? THAT in a nutshell would describe my state of mind during those hours--it was absolutely wonderful. I'll never forget those moments, & they even today remembering them puts a smile on my face.
I think you're correct. I thought that MDMA was going to be considered as a proper medication to help fight certain types of mental illness, but either President Reagan or the elder Bush Administration shut the door on it before any further studies could be made known to the public.
But that's the typical Drug Warrior attitude for ya: if the facts don't mesh to what you want the perceptions to be, make sure the facts don't come out!
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