It’s synonymous with the rave scene and for making headlines for all the wrong reasons. But if used correctly, MDMA (the main ingredient in ecstasy) might act as a lifeline to sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder, including former armed forces personnel and police officers who are affected disproportionately.
According to a report from Newsweek, Israel’s Ministry of Health has approved the use of MDMA, a psychoactive drug, for use on dozens of patients. While the drug is still considered illegal and dangerous for recreational use, it is now being administered as treatment for compassionate use.
“Compassionate use” allows drugs that are still in development to be made available to patients outside of a clinical trial due to the lack of effective alternatives.
Approximately eight million Americans are affected by PTSD, and in Australia, up to 12% of the population experiences PTSD symptoms at some point in their lives. Manifestations of this disorder include flashbacks of the traumatic experience, anxiety, or a feeling numbness towards or dissociation from current or unfolding events.
This can lead to unpredictable behaviour, substance abuse, issues at home and suicide, Newsweek reported.
MDMA inundates the central nervous system with serotonin, which produces strong feelings of euphoria that can last for over eight hours. This is why it is popular on the party circuit as it keeps partygoers revelling all night.
“Some 50 patients are due to take the medication at one of four hospitals around Israel,” Newsweek reported. “The patients, who have all been diagnosed with PTSD during a course of psychiatric treatment, will be given the drug three times over the course of a number of sessions under close supervision.”
This initiative is being launched in Israel as a result of ground-breaking research conducted in the U.S and even though Israel is as far ahead as two years from the US in terms of the treatment, the US is not too far away from using this as a treatment for sufferers who are currently being treated with antidepressants and other prescription drugs.