Yahoo – The FDA Has Approved New Trials for the Use of Ecstasy for PTSD Patients

Earlier this week, the FDA approved new large scale clinical trials for the use of ecstasy for PTSD treatment. MDMA, the recreational drug commonly known as Ecstasy, has been shown in small scale clinical trials to be helpful in treating PTSD, so much so that the FDA is approving a large scale phase three investigation. This is an important final step in the approval process for the drug, according to the NYTimes, and preliminary data are encouraging.

Unfortunately, PTSD is a very difficult syndrome to treat. For all the treatments we have (psychotherapy, medication, and other experimental therapies), as many as 40% of patients do not improve, and suicide is a serious risk. More therapies and treatment methods are sorely needed,

To help understand how MDMA could facilitate therapy, I was very pleased to weigh in for this great article. To read the full post on Yahoo, CLICK HERE.


“The therapeutic use of MDMA to help with PTSD is encouraging,” licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., tells Yahoo Beauty. “Its capacity to produce feelings of calm, love, and safety appears to allow PTSD sufferers (in a therapeutic setting) to re-experience their trauma through a lens devoid of anxiety.” Clark likens MDMA to hypnosis or progressive densitization, allowing patients to actively pair their traumatic memories with feelings of calm, love, and safety, laying down new associations and pathways that help them remember their experiences more positively. 

“This is powerful and appears to trigger associations that are lasting in the patients who have tried the treatment,” Clark says. “So much of therapeutic progress is about changing one’s perspective and outlook, and this new therapy appears to jumpstart this with a population in great need.”

Clark points out that the abuse potential with ecstasy is high. “It is important to note, however, that the drug’s reported success is under the direct supervision and guidance of a skilled clinician to facilitate healing,” she says. “Using MDMA recreationally and without clinical supervision, while tempting to sufferers already prone to substance abuse, would not likely produce the desired results.”

Clark agrees. “More therapies and treatment methods are sorely needed, and MDMA, if shown to be safe and effective, could provide needed relief to veterans and trauma survivors who are suffering and fighting to reclaim their lives,” she says.

Alicia H. Clark, PsyD