Post-traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD) is a disorder afflicted by over 50,000 Norwegians. It is triggered by one or more traumatic events that one has either experienced or witnessed, and gives symptoms such as lack of sleep, nightmares, aggression and panic anxiety. It has long been a disorder that has been difficult to treat with conversation therapy and traditional medicines (antidepressants), but in recent years some alternatives have emerged.
MDMA for PTSD
Several therapists have long believed that MDMA has a good effect against PTSD and studies were started on this for the first time in the mid-2000s. MDMA, also popularly called ecstasy or Molly, reduces the fear response in the brain and increases feelings of empathy and euphoria. After several years of Phase 1 and 2, Phase 3 (the last phase before drug approval) was launched in 2018. Following the results of six different Phase 2 studies in the United States, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), Norwegian Medicines Agency) in the USA to give the phase 3 study so-called «breakthrough therapy status», which means that they believe that the results from the first phases are so promising that they will ensure that the process goes through. In practice, this means that they pre-approve the various protocols before the work is started, which means that delays due to errors on the road are avoided. In a meta-analysis from 2016 it was concluded that treatment of PTSD with MDMA produced significantly better results than exposure therapy, which is the most common form of treatment today. documentary Trip of Compassion deals with the first phase of one of the clinical trials in Israel and provides an insight into the process.
Why does it work and what does the risk picture look like?
MDMA is a rather special composition that makes it particularly suitable for trauma therapy. When you do brain scans of people suffering from PTSD, you see increased activity in the fear center (amygdala) in the brain, and reduced activity in the part of the brain that rationalizes and processes memories (medial prefrontal cortex). There are many substances that reduce activity in the fear center (eg alcohol, opiates), but the stimulant part of the MDMA molecule also stimulates the prefrontal cortex. This means that patients are awake and motivated to process, while at the same time feeling relaxed and brave.
When you hear words like ecstasy and party baptism, many become skeptical. The image most of us have of MDMA comes from media or outdated drug campaigns, while research shows that MDMA is generally a quite safe fabric. And especially if one takes some extra precautions that are natural in therapeutic processes. More about these precautions here. The drug information has good risk overviews for many drugs, too MDMA here.
A study has been started in Norway with MDMA for PTSD at the Hospital in Østfold. Read more about the status and what options for psychedelic therapy are available today here.
I can guide you through the therapeutic process and can take care of everything except the medicine itself. Read more about the process here.