Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Ecstasy Ecstasy cough syrup caused a ‘bewildering wave of euphoria’ for users, says one user
PTSD can be brought on by exposure to traumatic events and the effects can be improved by taking ecstasy, research claims.
A study of veteran service personnel found a “bewildering wave of euphoria” associated with ecstasy helped people who were already at high risk of the disorder.
It said they were more likely to respond to ecstasy as a “narcotic to the body” and less likely to develop a new problem.
Vital overdose victims have also reported a rise in euphoria after taking the drug.
The Pentagon has ordered all air force personnel undergoing ‘high-stress’ training to take the drug.
Who is using it?
Heroin is still the leading medication among heroin users, the most recent NHS figures show.
The majority of UK drug users are likely to be on cannabis, cocaine and alcohol, or some combination of these.
Ecstasy is most often linked to clubbers, although it is now being abused by younger people.
Can ecstasy help the sufferer?
Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
Mikhail Tolkachev, a doctor at Russia’s largest psychiatric hospital said it was “naive” to think that drugs were “done to nobody”.
Speaking to the BBC earlier this year, Dr Tolkachev suggested people with PTSD could benefit from taking drugs to “illuminate their emotions”.
“You don’t have to give them more or less,” he added.
Antidepressants have a range of side effects, the most common being, at a minimum, visual disturbances and drowsiness.
What is the problem with dealing with PTSD and drugs?
In 1987, the US OxyContin painkiller was blamed for triggering an epidemic of heroin use, as heroin addicts who became hooked on the addictive painkiller began to abuse it to get through withdrawal.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption It is thought people with PTSD can succumb to PTSD complications when the drug is taken
So far, there is no evidence of this sort of effect.
It is also not known whether MDMA, the main ingredient in Ecstasy, is dangerous for users who take the drug while under the influence of alcohol.
Professor David Nutt, of Imperial College London, who led the latest study, said “almost all” of the veterans in his study had one or more alcohol-related addiction problems.
“Further research on the benefit of MDMA as a drug to the body, and its use as a socially acceptable mood-altering drug, is needed,” he said.
“And the researchers should also give consideration to the impact of the drug MDMA on the body’s ability to deal with its effects.”
Need help? Talk to your GP
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption An officer in the US responds to a call for help for someone who has overdosed
How does it affect users?
In recent years, in the UK and in Canada, ecstasy users have reported symptoms such as confusion, euphoria, clarity of mind and dizziness.
It’s not clear whether those thoughts were brought on by a heightened experience of ecstasy, or the drug itself.
Patrick is a former heavy user of MDMA and ketamine, who started taking the drug in 1995.
In 2003, he began experiencing memory loss and a distorted perception of reality, which deteriorated over the following two years.
He was diagnosed with clinical depression.
“You need to start at the beginning, you need to ask for help. There’s a lot of people going through this,” he said.
“When you have a psychotic break, you look around you and are the only person affected, nobody else. That’s where I was.
“When you’re the first in that situation you need care and support.”
In 2015, he went to psychiatrists, who diagnosed him with clinical depression. He said an infusion of MDMA into his system at a weekend in 2006 “turned the tide”.
Now 42, Patrick has developed a healthy balance of drugs and said he felt “clean”.