Veterans afflicted with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may soon benefit from a non-traditional treatment that involves ecstasy, a psychotropic drug more often seen in night clubs than in therapy sessions. According to an artile published by Psychcentral.com, ecstasy may help PTSD victims.
According to an article published in the Journal of Psychopharmacy, researchers found that ecstasy may help PTSD victims learn the proper responses to situations that bring back traumatic memories, when used in appropriate therapy sessions. This process is called extinction learning.
Researchers found that ecstasy helped in the release of oxytocin in the brain, which involved in developing trust and empathy. This discovery was important as many PTSD patients report feeling emotionally disconnected and unable to appreciate support from family, and ecstasy could help in re-establishing these relationships.
They also believe that it will affect the amygadala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex, which can allow patients to move past the automatic fear responses and develop greater emotional control. As such, they are better equipped to revisit traumatic memories and put them in the past.
Moreover, the release of noradrenaline and cortisol triggers emotional learning, which completes the process of fear extinction, which finally allows PTSD patients to live free of their past fears.
Ultimately, researchers hope to help patients develop the courage and emotional balance take back their lives.
It remains to be seen whether ecstasy treatments will become available to veterans, but the clinical trials are an important step in finding treatments to PTSD. In the meantime, veterans struggling with the disorder are advised to consult an experienced attorney who can lead them through the process of obtaining treatment.
Source: Psychcentral.com, Ecstacy for PTSD, March 10, 2009.
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