Treating PTSD with MDMA

Over 80% of subjects receiving MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in a pilot study no longer met the criteria for PTSD. A long-term follow-up study revealed that overall benefits were maintained an average of 3.8 years later.

Bob, a Vietnam vet struggling with PTSD for many years, was desperate for relief. When a number of his vet friends committed suicide, he knew he could be next. Then he saw a CNN report on the successes of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in PTSD treatment. After being rejected from participation in the clinical trials conducted by the Mithoefers and MAPS, Bob decided to seek his own therapist, as well as his own MDMA. The journey took him to peyote ceremonies, Burning Man, and finally to a friend’s son, who was able to supply him with the illegal substance. Since completing the treatment, Bob has finally found relief from the crippling symptoms of PTSD. He claims the treatment saved his life.

Long after his experience in the Vietnam War, Bob Walker, like many veterans, still experiences the harsh effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He had little luck in dulling the pain — until discovering MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy. Though it has a notorious reputation as a party drug, Walker and others are convinced that MDMA’s unique qualities have the potential to treat the debilitating symptoms of PTSD that other approaches can’t. The Verge investigates the past, present, and future of MDMA therapy.


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