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Study Looks at How Ecstasy Can Possibly Treat PTSD
Written by Whitney Wetzel
Last updated on April 23, 2013 @ 6:46PM
Created on April 23, 2013 @ 4:47PM

"Well, it's not as crazy as it sounds, but I don't look forward to it happening within the next day or two," said Dr. Bob Williams, Executive Director of the United Summit Center.


A small study is looking at how the illegal drug ecstasy can help treat those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people get after seeing or living through a traumatic event. It most commonly affects military veterans, survivors of physical or sexual abuse, and accident victims.


"Some people struggle through it. Some people struggle for a long time. Then, some people, it really gets to the point where they can really become dysfunctional. The fear and the anxiety can overcome them and change their life," Dr. Williams explained.


Typically, those who suffer from PTSD seek treatment through therapy. But, researchers are studying how ecstasy can also be used as a treatment. According to researchers, the drug's ability to create the feeling of euphoria can allow users to feel more comfortable talking about difficult or traumatic memories. But doctors say that same goal can be reached through therapy, without the drug.


"If that individual can learn how to stop those thoughts and substitute other thoughts to change their feelings, then the same kind of result can occur, but without the dangers of the medication," said Dr. Williams.


Ecstasy has a similar chemical makeup to methamphetamine, but it's not highly addictive. However, those who abuse the drug can do heavy damage to their brains. It can impair memory and lower serotonin levels, which control learning, mood and sleep.


"I think the study has some merit, but again, I don't look forward to it being the treatment of choice anytime in the near future," said Dr. Williams.

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