Ecstasy could be used to treat PTSD


Professor David Nutt, ex-chief drugs adviser to the UK government and revolutionary neuroscientist has spoken out to the BBC’s Radio 4’s Life Scientific program on the use of ecstasy as a means of helping war veterans over come Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by exposure to highly traumatic events or life experiences, such as warfare, natural disasters and near death experiences. The disorder is marked by symptoms including hyperarousal, emotional avoidance, flashbacks and insomnia.

Currently, treatment for post traumatic stress disorder includes concoctions of medication to address the various symptoms or therapy such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Traditional understanding about PTSD is that an individual needs to re-live there experience in a therapeutically controlled environment in order that they are able to cognitively take control of the event and subsequent memory.

Researchers have found that if an individual re-lives their traumatic experience while under the influence of ecstasy, their brains are able to process the memory without shutting down to avoid the trauma.

This field of research, though pioneering, fails to consider one fundamental question; why does a person have to re-live their trauma in order to overcome it? Once this question is answered, the door is then opened to other means of therapy that is less invasive, toxic or traumatic.