Until recently, research into psychedelic drugs have been strictly forbidden despite their therapeutic potential. These trends are changing however as more researchers are taking the leap into the reality of MDMA. MAPS, a non-profit organization, is sponsoring FDA-approved clinical research to develop psychedelic-assisted therapies into prescriptions for mental health. The research focuses on adults on the autism spectrum and whether or not the therapy can enhance functional skills and quality of life with those dealing with social anxiety.
Trust Is Important
According to the results published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, MDMA can help people create deeper, more meaningful relationships with loved ones and even reduce social anxiety.
“With MDMA, you get these really increased feelings of sociability and closeness with others. When you’re on MDMA, you tend to focus on positive social-emotional stimuli, and you’re less reactive to negative emotional stimuli, such as fearful or angry faces,” Matthew Kirkpatrick, one of the authors of the study told The Huffington Post.
This outcome isn't surprising since the mind often tries to "protect" itself from negative thoughts or emotions, which are often determined by perception rather than actual danger. The study included 35 different participants, some of whom were given MDMA and some of whom were given a placebo. Scientists observing the participants found that those who were given MDMA had an easier time talking freely with people who were close to them, and were more open in their conversations.
“I suspect you would see that couples would rate each other as being more emotionally responsive, they would feel closer to one another and they would engage in longer conversations about deeper topics. I think it could be quite useful for couples counseling,” Kirkpatrick added. In addition to collecting data on the safety and effectiveness of MDMA-assisted therapy for reducing social anxiety in these subjects, researchers at Stanford University will also analyze blood concentrations of several hormones (oxytocin, AVP, and cortisol) hypothesized to be involved in the therapeutic effectiveness of MDMA when combined with therapy.
“There’s a huge political component to MDMA. Something needs to change politically where MDMA can be seen as a safe and viable therapy under the proper settings,” Kirkpatrick said. You can find out more on the study in the short video posted below.