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Effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine on socioemotional feelings, authenticity, and autobiographical disclosure in healthy volunteers in a controlled setting

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Abstract

The drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, “ecstasy”, “molly”) is a widely used illicit drug and experimental adjunct to psychotherapy. MDMA has unusual, poorly understood socioemotional effects, including feelings of interpersonal closeness and sociability. To better understand these effects, we conducted a small (n=12) within-subjects double-blind placebo controlled study of the effects of 1.5 mg/kg oral MDMA on social emotions and autobiographical disclosure in a controlled setting. MDMA displayed both sedative- and stimulant-like effects, including increased self-report anxiety. At the same time, MDMA positively altered evaluation of the self (i.e. increasing feelings of authenticity) while decreasing concerns about negative evaluation by others (i.e. decreasing social anxiety). Consistent with these feelings, MDMA increased how comfortable participants felt describing emotional memories. Overall, MDMA produced a prosocial syndrome that seemed to facilitate emotional disclosure and that appears consistent with the suggestion that it represents a novel pharmacological class.

Baggott, M. J., Coyle, J. R., Siegrist, J. D., Garrison, K. J., Galloway, G. P., & Mendelson, J. E. (2016). Effects of 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine on socioemotional feelings, authenticity, and autobiographical disclosure in healthy volunteers in a controlled setting. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England). dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881115626348

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