MDMA is known for its popularity in the rave and music festival scene, but doctors are testing whether the powerful empathy drug can cure alcohol addiction. The preliminary results of the first such study appear to show promising results.
According to the Guardian, doctors in Bristol are testing whether multiple doses of MDMA, colloquially known as Molly, combined with psychotherapy, can help people overcome alcohol addiction more effectively than traditional treatments. Only one patient who completed the study trial recurred, which is above the average level for treatment of alcoholism. In England, on average, eight out of 10 relapses within three years of traditional therapy.
"We have one person who has completely recurred, back to previous drinking levels, we have five people who are completely dry and we have four or five who have drunk one or two drinks but would not be diagnosed with a disorder of alcohol use, ”Dr. Ben Cessa, an addiction psychiatrist and senior fellow at Imperial College London, told the Guardian. "With the best medical science can do, 80% of people drink within three years of alcohol detox."
Sessa said this may be partly due to the ability of MDMA to exacerbate a patient's fear response. This is useful because it can allow a person to recall childhood trauma without being too scared.
The next phase of the study will continue the study to prove that MDMA combined with psychotherapy can be a resource for the treatment of alcoholism. Using a randomized control group, some patients will receive placebo instead of MDMA.
For the trial, patients received medical and psychological tests, followed by an eight-week course of psychotherapy. At three and six weeks, they were given MDMA at a hospital with both a psychiatrist and a psychologist present. These sessions take about eight hours, with participants mostly lying around, wearing eye shadows and headphones.
"We leave them to lead the sessions where they want to go. What is coming up is coming up, so it's not very clinician-led, "Sessa says.
After the session, patients stay overnight and make phone calls once a day for the following week to collect data on sleep, mood and potential suicide risk.
"There is no black Monday, blue Tuesday or whatever the ravers call it. In my opinion, this is an artifact of delight. It's not about MDMA, "Sessa said." If there was a craze for people to go around abusing cancer chemotherapy drugs, then you wouldn't think, "Oh well, it's not safe to take cancer chemotherapy when your doctors give it to you."
Sessa added, "Scientists know it's not dangerous. The Sun newspaper thinks it's dangerous because the small number of deaths that occur each year appear on its front page."
MDMA began to return to medicine as of late. From 1
There are a number of studies in support of the use of MDMA in therapeutic settings, especially around the effectiveness of the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For example, a study published in the British journal The Lancet Psychiatry in 2018 found that after two sessions of psychotherapy with MDMA, a majority of 26 veterans and first responders with chronic PTSD noticed a decrease in symptoms.
MDMA research is often prohibitive, especially in the United States, which has legal restrictions on MDMA medical research. MDMA is a Schedule 1 drug from 1986 in the United States, although there is a wave of interest in declassifying it for therapeutic reasons. Recently, nonprofit groups such as the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Research (MAPS) have been lobbying for a change in its legal status.