A new study from Imperial College London will be trialing MDMA as a possible treatment for alcoholism. From binge drinkers to relapsed alcoholics, 20 people will be given 99.9 per cent pure MDMA in capsule form followed by a few days of therapy and meditation.
While the drug is a large part of the treatment, the relationship between the patient and therapist is where things get interesting. Ben Sessa, a clinical psychiatrist on the trial, said, “It’s using drugs to enhance the relationship between the therapist and the patient, and it allows us to dig down and get to the heart of the problems that drive long-term mental illness.”
Past studies show that MDMA decreases activity in the limbic system, which is responsible for our emotional life, and deals with the formation of our memories. These effects were stronger in patients who had stronger emotional experiences, suggesting that they could possibly be related. Communication was also reduced between the medial temporal lobe and medial prefrontal cortex which is involved in controlling your emotions.
“After 100 years of modern psychiatry our treatments are really poor. The chances of relapse for these patients are really high – 90 per cent at three years. No one has ever given MDMA to treat alcoholism before.”
To learn more on using MDMA as a treatment, watch Ben Sessa’s Ted Talk below.