Veterans of military service all too often suffer depression, flashbacks, and suicidal thoughts related to events that took place years before when they served their country in uniform. Post-traumatic stress disorder can be caused by various types of traumatic events in life but is significantly more common in veterans than in those who did not put on the uniform. At No Fallen Heroes we commit ourselves to helping veterans with PTSD and especially with helping prevent veteran suicide. A serious issue when it comes to treating PTSD is the lack of effective medicines. Here we look at MDMA treatment for PTSD as an alternative or adjunct to current therapies.
FDA Approved Medicines for PTSD
The US Food and Drug Administration is the regulatory authority that decides when a substance is effective in treating a medical or psychological condition and if it is safe. Right now the only approved medicines for PTSD are sertraline and paroxetine (Zoloft and Paxil) according to the American Psychological Association web page on post-traumatic stress disorder. These are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Several similar medicines are also in use “off label.”
What Is MDMA?
MDMA stands for 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. It is a synthetic drug commonly called ecstasy or molly. It produces feelings of emotional warmth, pleasure, increased energy, and distortions of both time and sensory perception. It also has been found to provide significant help for treating PTSD. What MDMA does is assist in making psychotherapy (talk therapy) more effective. It reduces anxiety and defensiveness. We are referring to 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine in therapeutic quantities. Street ecstasy or molly may or not contain MDMA and commonly includes other substances that may or may not be psychoactive.
Does MDMA Cure PTSD?
The bottom line for MDMA and PTSD is that you are not going to cure your PTSD by going to a rock concert or party and taking ecstasy. In fact, taking pharmaceutical grade MDMA without any other help is highly unlikely to help either. When MDMA is taken in an appropriate setting and at an appropriate dosage it facilitates talk therapy. The point of talk therapy is to revisit painful memories, memories the keep returning as flashbacks, and sort through them so what belongs in the past can be returned there and not continue messing up life in the present. The value of MDMA in this setting is to make the therapeutic process more therapeutic.
MDMA In Psychotherapy
Isolation is a common problem with veterans who suffer from PTSD. It leads to increased depression. Not talking to people and not talking about the trauma that happened let that trauma build and solidify. A benefit of taking MDMA in controlled amounts is that it allows a person with PTSD to open up to their therapist and to be less frightened when talking about what happened to set off their bout with PTSD. Thus the patient gains insight and is able to discriminate between old events and current day life. This helps them avoid situations in which current events or stimuli trigger flashbacks. The key is to use pharmaceutical MDMA under professional supervision and use it as a way to facilitate working through the issue that underlie the PTSD.
At No Fallen Heroes we have dedicated ourselves to helping veterans who suffer depression, PTSD, or suicidal thoughts. We fully support investigations into the effectiveness of new modes of therapy such as psychedelic medicines like MDMA in order to treat our heroes and their ailments more effectively. When someone joins the military to serve the nation they deserve our support and this support must continue after these heroes leave the military and are still dealing with the events that occurred during their service.