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Putting an E in PTSD? Ex-Soldiers Given Ecstasy Against Anxiety in US Drug Trial

© AP Photo / Drug Enforcement AdministrationEcstasy pills, which contain MDMA as their main chemical
Ecstasy pills, which contain MDMA as their main chemical - Sputnik International
An illegal drug commonly known in Britain as ecstasy could help cure post-traumatic stress disorder in ex-soldiers and front-line workers, according to a new study.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder triggered by distressing events or frightening and stressful experiences. The trauma can be haunting and often re-lived through nightmares or flashbacks.

But what if a Class A drug could help? Scientists in America have discovered a potential for using methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) to help veterans, police officers and firefighters who suffer with chronic PTSD.

Anxiety affects 17 percent of veterans and a third of all police and fire officers, but many of them don't respond to treatments such as psychotherapy and antidepressants.

Researchers randomly selected service personnel who had PTSD for more than six months, split them up into three groups and gave them 30, 75 or 125 milligrams of MDMA respectively, plus psychotherapy.

Veterans who received the full dose of MDMA showed signs of their anxiety disorder significantly decreasing. The researchers concluded that "active doses (75 mg and 125 mg) of MDMA with adjunctive psychotherapy in a controlled setting were effective and well tolerated in reducing PTSD symptoms in veterans and first responders" the academic paper states, the findings published in medical journal Lancet Psychiatry.

In Britain, MDMA or ecstasy remains illegal, anyone caught in possession of it could face up to seven years in jail — dealing MDMA carries a life prison sentence

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