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TREATING HORROR WITH ECSTASY: Neurobiological Rationale for Treating Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder with 3,4- methylenedioxymethylamphetamine
University of Skövde, School of Humanities and Informatics.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disabling condition that afflicts 1-10% of the general population, with twice as high lifetime prevalence for women than men. Treatments exist, but none have proven reliable and consistent efficacy. A large minority of patients remain treatment-resistant despite undergoing several different types of treatment over extended periods of time. Recently completed studies in the U.S. and in Switzerland have demonstrated the potential of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD. One of the major problems of treating PTSD is the patients’ fear state and inability to form a therapeutic alliance. Both these issues can be facilitated through administration of MDMA; the psychological effects - such as heightened empathy, increased openness and diminished anxiety – seem well-suited for therapeutic purposes. The rationale behind treating PTSD with MDMA has been indicated in neuroimaging studies; MDMA affects some of the neural structures altered in patients with PTSD, most notably the amygdala and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Using the Schedule 1 substance MDMA for this purpose is however controversial; animal studies have indicated that MDMA is neurotoxic, although no adverse effects on humans related to incidental use of MDMA in a controlled setting have been found. In conclusion, the data support that MDMA may be an efficient tool for treating PTSD, as well as safe and effective to use in a clinical context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 64 p.
Keyword [en]
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), 3, 4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), ecstasy, psychotherapy, neurobiology
Keyword [sv]
Posttraumatiskt stresssyndrom, MDMA, Ecstasy, psykoterapi, neurobiologi
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-8298OAI: diva2:632545
Subject / course
Cognitive Neuroscience
Educational program
Consciousness Studies - Philosophy and Neuropsychology
Available from: 2013-11-07 Created: 2013-06-25 Last updated: 2013-11-07Bibliographically approved

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Agelii, Anna
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