Psychedelic Therapy: The Cure for PTSD?

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Psychedelic Therapy: The Cure for PTSD?

Last week during the Psychedelic Science 2017 conference in Oakland, California, results from trials involving patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) were revealed to have interesting findings.

According to a story by Scientific American, researchers presented results from trial treatments that used psychotherapy and MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine otherwise known as ecstasy) as a means of combatting major side-effects of PTSD, such as frequent nightmares and heightened anxiety levels.

It was found that 67% of patients who received two or three sessions of MDMA-assisted therapy had completely overcome the illness roughly a year later. This number, as compared to the 23% of patients who got the same result after receiving psychotherapy and a placebo drug, could be the catalyst for an increased number of trials involving psychedelic drugs in the future.

Historically, psychedelic therapy has been used on patients suffering from anxiety, depression and PTSD, amongst other things, in calm and controlled environments. This way, researchers are better able to monitor patients induced into such altered states, after which point the traditional psychotherapy begins.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Drugs (MAPS) has been conducting extensive psychedelic treatment studies since the early 1970s, and it notes that LSD has yielded encouraging results, as well. According to MAPS, the drug is “known for its ability to catalyze spiritual or mystical experiences and to facilitate feelings of interconnection.” Not only can the effects of the drug aid in the lessening of anxiety, but it can also facilitate personal growth in some cases.

Due to the fact that many of the drugs— including LSD and MDMA— used in psychedelic therapy trials are currently illegal, there would have to be continued statistically-significant results yielded in such trials in order for these treatments to even be considered legitimate.

With the increase in clinical trials being conducted using such treatments, though, it is becoming more and more likely that psychedelic prescriptions for mental illness could soon be on the horizon.

Top photo by: frolicsomepl/Pixabay

Natalie Wickstrom is a freelance writer based in Athens, Georgia. She probably wrote this piece to the tune of a movie score whilst chewing gum.