Ava von Offenberg Ryan | Helen Sun | Jocelyn Cheung | Ksenia Grigorieva | Polina Dubakova | Sabrina Cruz | 2022

MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD

The Efficacy of MDMA-Assisted Therapy as a Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


Several studies have shown that MDMA could be used as an effective treatment for people living with PTSD due to its properties as a stimulator of neurotransmitters. Current clinical trials have shown it to increase patient quality of life and receptiveness to therapy. The authors of this paper have found that current pharmacological treatment options for PTSD predominantly comprise SSRIs. However, due to their side effects usually requiring augmentation strategies in the form of Prazosin and Benzodiazepines, the long-term use of these drugs can cause a range of severe side effects, including worsening PTSD symptoms in the long term. With MDMA use, patients have reported having a less negative perception of traumatic memories and increasing the emergence of painful material during therapy sessions. This means that traumatic material can be worked through and managed. Despite this, it was also discovered that MDMA also has adverse side effects due to its actions as a general neurotransmitter stimulator; a small number of patients had an adverse reaction to the drug, including feelings of anxiety and a fear of loss of control. These studies show promising results as it shows a long-term improvement in PTSD symptoms. However, we have surmised that more clinical trials should be performed to prove these conclusions on a larger scale.