Does 'Club Drug' Ecstasy Have Therapeutic Value?

From HealthDay News:

The recreational drug known as ecstasy may have a medicinal role to play in helping people who have trouble connecting to others socially, new research suggests.

In a study involving a small group of healthy people, investigators found that the drug -- also known as MDMA -- prompted heightened feelings of friendliness, playfulness and love, and induced a lowering of the guard that might have therapeutic uses for improving social interactions.

Yet the closeness it sparks might not result in deep and lasting connections.

The findings "suggest that MDMA enhances sociability, but does not necessarily increase empathy," noted study author Gillinder Bedi, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University and a research scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City.

The study, funded by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse and conducted at the Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory at the University of Chicago, was published in the Dec. 15 issue of Biological Psychiatry.

The researchers (also) suggested that MDMA might help people with PTSD as well those with autism, schizophrenia or antisocial personality disorder cope with a variety of emotional difficulties.

"More controlled research is needed to establish whether MDMA can safely and effectively add to psychotherapy for some conditions and, if so, what the mechanisms of these effects are," Bedi said.

Posted: 12/22/2010 9:32:00 AM

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