OPEN Foundation

Why Psychiatry Needs 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine: A Child Psychiatrist’s Perspective

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Abstract

Since the late 1980s the psychoactive drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) has had a well-known history as the recreationally used drug ecstasy. What is less well known by the public is that MDMA started its life as a therapeutic agent and that in recent years an increasing amount of clinical research has been undertaken to revisit the drug’s medical potential. MDMA has unique pharmacological properties that translate well to its proposed agent to assist trauma-focused psychotherapy. Psychological trauma—especially that which arises early in life from child abuse—underpins many chronic adult mental disorders, including addictions. Several studies of recent years have investigated the potential role of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, with ongoing plans to see MDMA therapy licensed and approved within the next 5 years. Issues of safety and controversy frequently surround this research, owing to MDMA’s often negative media-driven bias. However, accurate examination of the relative risks and benefits of clinical MDMA—in contrast to the recreational use of ecstasy—must be considered when assessing its potential benefits and the merits of future research. In this review, the author describes these potential benefits and explores the relatives risks of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in the context of his experience as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, having seen the relative limitations of current pharmacotherapies and psychotherapies for treating complex post-traumatic stress disorder arising from child abuse.

Sessa, B. (2017). Why Psychiatry Needs 3, 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine: A Child Psychiatrist’s Perspective. Neurotherapeutics, 1-9. 10.1007/s13311-017-0531-1
Link to full text

OPEN Foundation

Attend the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research

ICPR features world-leading experts from many academic disciplines, including psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, ethnobotany, and philosophy who come together to give a scientific conference for academics, therapists, researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and members of the public. Get your ICPR 2022 ticket here and use the code OPENBLOG100 at checkout for a €100 discount on all tickets.

More Info

INTERESTED IN PSYCHEDELIC RESEARCH AND THERAPIES?

Subscribe to our new OPEN-Minded newsletter to stay in the loop, hear about our events, and become a part of a community dedicated to advancing psychedelics.

By clicking subscribe, I confirm to receive emails from the OPEN Foundation and agree with its privacy policy.