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MDMA, Used in Therapy, Can Help People Get Well from PTSD: Shots



Therapists Marcela Ot & # 39; alora and Bruce Poulter are trained to practice MDMA-assisted psychMA. In this reenactment, they show how they help guide and monitor a patient who is examining traumatic memories while under the influence of MDMA.

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Courtesy of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies


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Therapists Marcela Ot & # 39; alora and Bruce Poulter are trained to practice MDMA-assisted psychMA. In this reenactment, they show how they help guide and monitor a patient who is reviving traumatic memories while under the influence of MDMA.

Courtesy of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies

The first time Lori Tipton tried MDMA, she hesitated to make a difference.

"I was really, at first, very nervous," Tipton remembers.

MDMA is the main ingredient in club drug ecstasy or molly. But Tipton isn't taking pills that are sold on the street to get high at a party.

She is trying to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder, with the help of licensed therapists.

Tipton was given a dose of pure MDMA. He was then laid in a quiet room with two specially trained psychotherapists, a woman and a man.

They sat beside Tipton as he remembered some of his deepest traumas, such as the discovery of his mother's body after a murder-suicide.

"In the embrace of MDMA," as he described it, Tipton could revisit the moment without the usual fear and panic.

"I found such compassion in myself. I realized how much I thought it was my fault," he said. [196590016] The synthetic psychoactive chemical MDMA is emerging as a promising – if not incidental – treatment for PTSD.

Scientists are investigating how to use pharmaceutical grade MDMA in combination with psychotherapy to help patients with severe forms of PTSD who do not respond to other treatments. Unlike street drugs that can be persuasive and unsafe, researchers use them. a pure, specific dosed form of the drug.

It has not been used as a treatment for PTSD outside of clinical trials, but the success of the first trials has been there are advocates of the hope that therapy will be available to more people in the coming years; they are aiming for approval by the Food and Drug Administration, given breakthrough therapy status in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in 2017.

Researchers are now conducting phase 3 clinical trials in more than a dozen sites throughout the US, Canada and Israel. Clinicians who treat PTSD hope that the next round of trials will show MDMA treatment is an effective option to relieve their patients' suffering.

"The problem is that we haven't had a new drug to treat PTSD for more than 17 years," said Sue Sisley, a physician and president of the Arizona-based Scottsdale Research Institute. "There are some diseases that inevitably do not respond to traditional therapy, and we need to start thinking more broadly."

But MDMA is a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which means that it currently has no accepted medical use and has a "high potential for abuse" (something that disputes therapeutic proponents of MDMA). Due to that designation, current research trials are privately funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS.

& # 39; Everywhere I Want To Be Safe & # 39;

Tipton was struggling with PTSD for years before being treated for MDMA.

"Everywhere I Want to Be Safe," the 40-year-old from New Orleans said. "I always want to be vigilant because without me, something bad would happen."

"When you have PTSD, you live in a constantly triggering environment," says patient Lori Tipton. More than a year after trying MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, Tipton no longer qualified as having PTSD. He believes it "saved his life."

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Will Stone

"When you have PTSD, you live in a constantly triggered environment," says patient Lori Tipton. More than a year after trying MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, Tipton no longer qualified as having PTSD. He believes it "saved his life."

Will Stone

Tipton describes his 20s as a catalog of tragedy and trauma. It began when his brother was seriously injured in his home, on his birthday.

After his death, he began caring for his mother, who was battling mental illness. In 2005, Tipton's mother killed two people and then herself. Tipton was the one who discovered their bodies.

"I was completely disassociated. I couldn't believe what I was seeing," Tipton said. The area she was living in was destroyed when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and the following year she was raped.

When the storm ended, he was formally diagnosed with PTSD, but at first he didn't take it seriously.

"Almost everyone who returns to New Orleans is diagnosed with PTSD," Tipton said.

As the years passed, Tipton suffered from panic attacks and horrible anxiety. She tried everything to cure her symptoms: conversation therapy, antidepressants, hypnotherapy, meditation and yoga.

Nothing worked. She goes through life exhausted and hopeless, constantly triggering, and striving to be intimate with those close to her.

In 2017, Tipton found an online ad looking for people with severe PTSD in New Orleans. He was soon enrolled in clinical trials for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

MDMA and therapy together?

MDMA was first synthesized in 1912, and therapeutic benefits were studied in the 1970s But these efforts stalled when the U.S. federal government – in light of the growing popularity of happiness as a recreational drug – it was designated a Schedule drug in 1985.

In recent years, research has continued, funded by private sponsors such as MAPS.

The current trial protocol protocol calls for a 12-week course of psychotherapy with specially trained therapists. During that time, there is a two- or three-day session that begins with the patient swallowing a calibrated dose of MDMA in pill formulation.

A team of two therapists, generally a man and a woman, then guide the patient through an eight-hour "MDMA session." Later, there is follow-up conversation therapy, without medication, to help the patient process any feelings, thoughts or impressions that come while under the influence of the drug.

"MDMA allows you to interact with emotions and sensations in many more direct ways," explains Saj Razvi, a Colorado-based psychotherapist who is a clinical investigator in phase 2 trials.

No fully understand how the brain works in MDMA. Psychoactive drugs stimulate chemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin. It also eliminates activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain that processes fear. This can lead to a state characterized by heightened feelings of safety and social connection.

It allows patients to revisit traumatic memories and unpack those moments, without triggering the same panic. for the treatment of PTSD.

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Courtesy of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies


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A dose of MDMA used in the experimental protocol of MAPS for the treatment of PTSD.

"Trauma occurs in isolation," Razvi said. "One of the things that MDMA does is, really, is letting you know you're not alone."

Razvi has been observing hundreds of hours of these sessions and says they sometimes seem difficult, such as a "bad journey," but the process leads to emotional breakthroughs otherwise " it can take months or years to accomplish. " 54% of patients taking MDMA improved to the point that they no longer adjusted the diagnosis for PTSD (compared to 23% in the control group). In addition, the beneficial effects of treatment appear to increase, rather than slowly, over time. One year later, the number of no longer having PTSD increased by 68%.

"This is amazing," said Sisley of the Scottsdale Research Institute. "Even with the best pharmaceutical regimen, you rarely see patients forgive."

Sisley reviews alternative treatments for PTSD and recently completed a clinical trial on cannabis as a treatment for the condition in veterans. She said she hopes to offer her MDMA-assisted psychMA patients soon, probably before the drug receives full FDA approval.

Brad Burge, a spokesman for the MDMA trial sponsor, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, said the organization is working to get the FDA to include the drug in its expanded access program that may allow individual patients approved to use medications that are still being studied.

Dr. Sue Sisley, president of the Scottsdale Research Institute, has spent most of her career working with people with severe PTSD. She hopes to offer MDMA-assisted psychotherapy at her Arizona clinic through an expanded FDA access program.

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Dr. Sue Sisley, president of the Scottsdale Research Institute, has spent most of her career working with people with severe PTSD. She hopes to offer MDMA-assisted psychotherapy at her Arizona clinic through an expanded FDA access program.

Will Stone

Burge calls MDMA a "chemical security blanket." to them, "he said.

Burge said the goal was to get MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a prescription treatment with a clinical specialist to anyone with PTSD. cover the treatment, Burge added. that for patients paying for the whole out-of-pocket, the cost of a 12-week course of treatment will run between $ 5,000 and $ 10,000. Most will be for guided therapy, not actual medicine. .

She let go of the sad feelings surrounding her mother's death.

"It was a terrible thing to happen, but with fear and shame about it, it was worthless," he said. [19659008] She shared other memories, also, feelings of joy covered away, such as playing in the snow with her brother when they were children.

"I remember exactly how I felt , the pag looking forward to the first snow, "he said. sexual assault.

One year later, he was diagnosed and did not qualify as having PTSD. Tipton said he believes treatment saved his life. "I wish for everything."
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