MDMA is the active ingredient in ecstasy pills.
A new study has found results supporting the use of MDMA-assisted couples therapy to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The research discovered positive results testing the viability of Cognitive Behavioural Conjoint Therapy (CBCT), which is a couples therapy for those with PTSD and also their partners. The trials included two MDMA-assisted sessions with positive results in both patient growth and relationship growth.
Psychologists have often found that close relationships with others can be a key factor in the development of PTSD and also the recovery from it. This is why the authors of the study Anne C. Wagner et al. emphasise the advantages of therapy efforts that include both people in a relationship, even if only one of them is diagnosed with PTSD.
Alongside 15 CBCT sessions, the 7-week course includes MDMA-assisted sessions following the fifth and 11th ones in the program.
During these MDMA sessions, both partners were given the drug and played a soundtrack of relaxing music while they alternate between internal reflection and conversation with each other.
According to the reports of the PTSD patient and also their partner, the individual diagnosed with the condition showed improvements in post-traumatic growth throughout the therapy. These improvements include a decrease in psychological aggression, improved psychosocial functioning and increased empathy. Partners said they also found personal benefits from the therapy.
It was also found that couples experienced gains in their relationship, including increased intimacy and emotional support.
During the study, participants were assessed on five occasions, from a period of before the first session to six months post-treatment, Wagner et al. have already proposed that their findings call for a larger, controlled study with a more diverse set of couples affected by PTSD.