Using MDMA to treat alcoholism


A study embracing the idea of using MDMA to combat alcohol addiction suggests that the treatment is not harmful, and initial results indicate strong potential from such methods.

Doctors in Bristol, England have been experimenting with an approach where they use a small dosage of MDMA together with psychotherapy in an attempt to aid patients with defeating alcoholism more efficiently than traditional methods. Many participants who have done the treatment have shown no relapse, physical problems, or psychological drawbacks.

Typically, 8 out of 10 alcoholics in England have a relapse in less than three years after regular treatment methods. “With the very best that medical science can work with, 80 percent of people are drinking within three years post alcohol detox,” said the addiction psychiatrist and senior research fellow at Imperial College London who ran the study, Dr Ben Sessa.

Currently, 11 participants have finished the safety and tolerability study, which includes check-ups over the following nine months. “We’ve got one person who has completely relapsed back to previous drinking levels, we have five people who are completely dry, and we have four or five who have had one or two drinks but wouldn’t reach the diagnosis of alcohol use disorder,” stated Sessa.

The therapy is performed in a hospital with supervision from a psychiatrist and a psychologist. After the patients receive the drug, they spend the following eight hours with the specialists.

The majority of addictions are formed due to some kind of fundamental trauma, usually from childhood, the doctor explained. “MDMA selectively impairs the fear response,” expressed Sessa. “It allows recall of painful memories without being overwhelmed. MDMA psychotherapy gives you the opportunity to tackle rigidly held personal narratives that are based on early trauma. It’s the perfect drug for trauma-focused psychotherapy.”

How dangerous is this therapy?

The beginning phase of the study is meant to display how safe the treatment is, but more research will be required to determine how effective the therapy truly is. The data has revealed no signs of withdrawal or adverse after-effects from the use of MDMA.

“There is no black Monday, blue Tuesday, or whatever ravers call it. In my opinion, that is an artefact of raving. It’s not about MDMA,” said Sessa in reference to the recreational use of MDMA that is usually associated with clubbing. “If there was a craze of people going around abusing cancer chemotherapy drugs, you wouldn’t then think: ‘Oh well, it’s not safe to take cancer chemotherapy when doctors give it to you,'” stated Sessa. “Scientists know it’s not dangerous. The Sun newspaper thinks it’s dangerous because the tiny number of fatalities that occur every year all get on their front page.”

As far as controversial treatments go, MDMA isn’t actually “the perfect drug for trauma-focused psychotherapy.” That title would be better suited for psilocybin or ibogaine, which are well-known to rewire the brain resulting in the repair of trauma-associated damage, as well as improving clarity of perception and awareness among many other benefits.


About Daniel Scheepers 208 Articles
I've always possessed a natural proclivity towards the art of writing. A strong passion and curiosity for life experience has given me diverse insight into varying sectors of the world. Opportunities to direct my talents are always welcome. Searching the web for interesting and factual news offers me a previously unimagined sense of fulfillment. When I have the chance, I'll be looking to get a Bachelor Degree of Communication.

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