Doctors prescribe MDMA as first government approves drug as PTSD treatment

Most of us think of ecstasy (or MDMA) as an illegal dancefloor hallucinogen with side-effects including unusual facial expressions.

But the drug could soon be used as a treatment for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after Israel approved it to treat 50 patients.

Israel’s Ministry of Health has approved the use of MDMA to treat PTSD in 50 patients in Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center plus psychiatric hospitals in Be’er Yaakov, Lev Hasharon, and Be’er Sheva.

Ecstasy. Tablets of the illegal drug ecstasy (3, 4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA). Ecstasy induces feelings of elation, energy and well- being. Possible side effects include dehydration, involuntary muscle movements and psychological difficulties. There is some evidence that long term use may cause brain damage. The \\smiley\\ symbol on the tablets was an emblem adopted by the 1980s acid house dance music culture that popularised the use of ecstasy as a recreational drug.Good for PTSD apparently (Getty)

Speaking to Israeli news outlet Haaretz, Ministry of Health official Bella Ben-Gershon said,

‘The ministry is taking this seriously and with appropriate caution, an in-depth investigation has been carried out.

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‘There is a considerable population in Israel of people suffering from PTSD that is resistant to other treatment.’

In 2017, America’s FDA (Food and Drug Administration) awarded the drug ‘breakthrough status’ – which means it should be fast-tracked as a potential treatment.

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Studies have shown that patients with PTSD – where it’s difficult to deal with painful memories – can overcome their traumas, long-term, with the aid of MDMA.

Girl with ecstacy tablet on her tongue, smiley faced pill, Uk 2004Pills pills pills pills (Getty)

Last year, one psychotherapist who hopes to use the drug to treat patients says that America is ‘on track’ to allow the use of the drug by 2021.

Several studies have shown that MDMA can have positive effects in patients suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.

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