This week on Tuesday, November 27, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the go-ahead to begin the trial testing Ecstasy as a treatment drug for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a debilitating mental condition that typically occurs in people who have been witnesses to or victims of traumatic events, such as a motor accident, war, terrorist attack, tornado, tsunami, personal assault, and more. It commonly occurs in veterans who come back from combat, especially those who fought in the Vietnam War. PTSD has the ability to affect an individual for years with fluctuations of depression, anxiety, the reliving of the trauma through nightmares, and will often lead to substance abuse.

Often times, the sufferer will have a hard time maintaining close relationships as PTSD can lead to behavioral change, trust issues, and communication problems. Ultimately, this disorder has the ability to impair an individual’s daily life with a continual decline in psychological and physical health.

Studies show that nearly 8% of Americans will suffer from PTSD in their lifetime, with it being more common in women. Over five million suffer each year.

What is Ecstasy?

Ecstasy, or often referred to as MDMA or Molly, has been known as a party drug for years. It was created in Germany in the early 20th century, but was not used until the mid-1900’s. Very similar to hallucinogens and stimulants, it is a euphoric agent that leads to an increase in energy and happiness levels by altering mood and perception.

It affects three chemicals in the brain: dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin that lead to the changes discussed above. It has been known to be an addictive drug that can have negative side-effects after its use.

Using Ecstasy to treat PTSD

Although the drug has been illegal in the United States since 1985, this week the FDA officially approved the third-phase trial where 230 patients will use Ecstasy as a treatment drug for PTSD.

There have been two previous small-scale studies conducted prior to this one. Subsequent to each study, more than half of the participants have reported an extreme decrease in symptoms and an increase in quality of life. If Ecstasy is approved after the third trial, it could be legal as a treatment source for PTSD by early 2021.

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