Medicine/Healing

F.D.A. agrees to new trials for ecstasy relief for PTSD patients

“We can sometimes see this kind of remarkable improvement in traditional psychotherapy, but it can take years, if it happens at all,” said Dr. Michael C. Mithoefer, the psychiatrist who conducted the trials here. “We think it works as a catalyst that speeds the natural healing process… Dr. Mithoefer and his wife, Ann Mithoefer, and often their portly terrier mix, Flynn, sat with each patient, guiding them through traumatic memories.“The medicine allows them to look at things from a different place and reclassify them,” said Ms. Mithoefer, a psychiatric nurse. “Honestly, we don’t have to do much. Each person has an innate ability to heal. We just create the right conditions.”

“In interviews, study participants said MDMA therapy had not only helped them with painful memories, but also had helped them stop abusing alcohol and other drugs and put their lives back together. On a recent evening, Edward Thompson, a former firefighter, tucked his twin 4-year-old girls into bed, turned on their night light, then joined his wife at a backyard fire. “If it weren’t for MDMA … ” he said. “He’d be dead,” his wife, Laura, finished. They both nodded. Years of responding to gory accidents left Mr. Thompson, 30, in a near constant state of panic that he had tried to numb with alcohol and prescription opiates and benzodiazepines. By 2015, efforts at therapy had failed, and so had several family interventions. His wife had left with their children, and he was considering jumping in front of a bus. A member of a conservative Anglican church, Mr. Thompson had never used illegal drugs. But he was struggling with addiction from his prescription drugs, so he at first rejected a suggestion by his therapist that he enter the study. “In the end, I was out of choices,” he said. Three sessions with the drug gave him the clarity, he said, to identify his problems and begin to work through them. He does not wish to take the drug again. “It gave me my life back, but it wasn’t a party drug,” he said. “It was a lot of work.”

Original Article (New York Times):
F.D.A. Agrees to New Trials for Ecstasy Relief for PTSD patients
Artwork Fair Use: Tim Holmes

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