Ecstacy and Veterans
There are certain substances that are seen as bad but paradoxically can be used for good. For example, botox is a toxin, but it’s also well-known as a wrinkle treatment. As WebMD cites, it can also be used to treat crossed eyes, uncontrolled blinking, and muscle spasms or movement disorders. It’s helpful for people who experience frequent migraines, too. Now, Ecstacy, also known as Molly, has been found to show promise as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder to help veterans suffering from the condition. Ecstacy alters mood and perception, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A study in the Lancet Psychiatry journal explained that when 26 combat veterans were given two sessions of therapy along with the party drug MDMA, a majority of them benefitted. In fact, there were dramatic improvements in symptoms. They also slept better and “became more conscientious.” Sixteen, or 62 percent, no longer could be said to have PTSD.
This study bears out the results of smaller studies done in previous years. The next step is Phase 3 trials, which will replicate safety and efficacy results, and if all goes well, the FDA could approve the drug by 2021. That doesn’t mean the treatment will be loosey-goosey, however. Indeed, the original headline, “A Drug From the Dance Floor May Soon Help Ease Veterans’ PTSD” was worded differently in the digital version: “Now Ecstasy as a Remedy for PTSD? You Probably Have Some Questions.” There is a protocol. First there are three therapy sessions. In a fourth session, a licensed therapist administers the drug in pill form. Then the patient lies down amid candles and flowers and listens to music. A male and a female therapist sit with the patient as a guide. The drug floods the brain with hormones and neurotransmitters and users report feelings of trust and well-being. Following this session, users “process” emotions in a follow-up session, and take MDMA “two or three times, each a month apart, interspersed with psychotherapy.” Larger clinical trials will validate whether or not the technique really works, and unfortunately, there are side effects, such as headache, fatigue, muscle tension, and insomnia. (Puzzling, since most people reported sleeping better.) What has excited a few experts is that there is a lack of treatments for PTSD, so they’re hopeful. Sadly, as word has spread, some people are self-medicating with MDMA, and as a street drug, it may be found to be mixed with other drugs. Also, frequent use can damage the brain and an overdose can be fatal.
Ketamine and Veterans
Ketamine, also known as K, Special K, or cat Valium, is one of the club drugs listed on the National Institute on Drug Abuse website along with Methamphetamine, MDMA, LSD, GHB, and Rohypnol. These are frequently used by teens and young adults at parties, nightclubs and the like. Ketamine is also used as an anesthetic for humans and animals, and in addition to GHP and Rohypnol, it’s a date rape drug. Ketamine is known as a dissociative drug because it makes users feel out of control and disconnected from their body and environment. They may hallucinate, have psychotic-like episodes that can linger, and experience respiratory depression, heart rate abnormalities, and withdrawal. A doctor at a veteran’s hospital in Mufreesboro, Tenn., is using the drug to treat opioid addiction, and the Department of Veterans Affairs is supporting him. The doctor, an anesthesiologist, claims a 74% success rate, and said it “resets excited pain receptors” so that patients feel pain “in a normal, manageable way.” The article mentions a veteran who was on opioids after being shot in the hip years earlier. Eventually, he developed an addiction and couldn’t wean himself off. The implication was that ketamine helped. For more information please contact our drug addiction treatment center at 800.701.6997.