Methylene-dioxy-methamphetamine otherwise known as MDMA is a banned drug in most parts of the world. Otherwise known as Ecstasy or Molly, it is the most popular synthetic drug used in parties. However, since its possession is banned, its use is not at all regulated. The latest finding in the science world could change all that. Recent studies have discovered how MDMA could be helped to treat many mental health ailments such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD). The illuminating study, led by Jennifer. M. Mitchell studied 104 participants in its Trial 3 phase. Titled MDMA-assisted therapy for moderate to severe PTSD, the study was both diverse and inclusive to study the outcome on a larger scale.
The studies in this area cannot be deemed new. Every year researchers were eager to uncover the benefits of psychedelics on the human mind. Before the success of the 3rd phase, the other two trials conducted years before showed highly biased data. While one didn’t have a diverse sample size the other had problems establishing the boundaries within the therapy. Although this one does show a glimmer of hope many are of the thought that it is still soon to celebrate.
PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a common mental health illness often suffered by someone who witnessed a terrible event. The trauma sustained from the accident could be physical and mental and therefore the person is unable to recover from it. One of the most prominent symptoms of the illness includes vivid flashbacks or nightmares either at night or when something triggers their memory. Other symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, and depression follow suit. Though it is believed that there is no direct relation between violence and PTSD, Dr. Sonya Norman in her paper, Research Findings on PTSD and Violence suggests, “ The data showing that the prevalence of violence among individuals with PTSD is 7.5% in the US population and 19.5% in post-9/11 Veterans suggest that the association between PTSD and violence is especially strong in this Veteran cohort.” According to the latest statistics, over 8 million people in the U.S. are suffering from PTSD and the unofficial numbers are even worse.
The current treatments available for PTSD include Behavioural, cognitive, and exposure therapy. Medications are also available that should be taken along with the therapy. However, if MDMA-AT gets approval, that would certainly be a milestone in this endeavor. Albeit diluted, versions of MDMA are used in many countries including Australia and Canada. However, some think that the treatment is really about therapy and only partially about medication.
The cost is also a major concern when it comes to the treatment of PTSD. MDMA-AT costs over $11,000 and most insurance companies don’t approve this treatment. Mostly because they have so far only funded trials. So a sure-shot study that underlines the benefit of its success will help people cover its exorbitant costs with their health insurance. There is also the question of eligibility to avail of this course of medication as it cannot be suitable for all patients.
Uncertainty still looms at large over this issue. Being a restricted item, MDMA usage for therapy is subjected to FDA’s approval. Since it can be highly addictive, government agencies are not ready to release it into the mainstream especially when other ways are readily available. The commercialization of the hallucinogen is also a major concern. There are no key players in the market and the technology needed to make it also seems to be a distant dream. However, what lies in the future is still a bit vague.
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