Care2: How is MDMA being used to treat those suffering from PTSD?
Burge: “It’s not the MDMA alone, but how it is used in combination with psychotherapy, that can help people suffering from PTSD. MDMA can actually increase the effectiveness of psychotherapy, allowing people with PTSD to discuss their painful memories openly and honestly. Psychiatrists and therapists have long recognized MDMA’s ability to decrease fear and defensiveness while increasing trust and empathy. MDMA also causes the release of hormones associated with trust and bonding, which may also help enhance therapy.
“MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is not like other pharmaceutical treatments for PTSD, in which people have to use drugs for months or even years and still don’t feel better. With MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, MDMA is only administered a small number of times, and the benefits can last. In fact, 83% of subjects with severe PTSD in a recent clinical trial no longer qualified for PTSD after MDMA-assisted psychotherapy–and those benefits continued for an average of 3½ years of more. These people had suffered from PTSD for an average of 19 years.”
Care2: What is MAPS doing now to help get MDMA back on the table as a therapeutic drug?
Burge: “MAPS is now working closely with the FDA and other agencies around the world to conduct clinical trials into the safety and effectiveness of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. We get no support from pharmaceutical companies or government agencies, so making MDMA-assisted psychotherapy available to the people that need it requires persistence, donations, and a lot of hard work. It’s exciting to be part of a field that’s transforming a banned chemical into a therapeutic tool through meticulous scientific research and public education.”