The Ecstasy Cure?

The Ecstasy Cure?

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The post was originally published on May 6, 2014.

An article in The Verge explores the idea of a drug like MDMA being therapeutic in the treatment of PTSD. And as controversial as this idea might be, I have always said that not only did Ecstasy gave me the ability to connect with people in a way I wasn’t able to before but I was also able to carry that openness with me even after the drug wore off. So I say if you can roll your way out of PTSD, go for it; MDMA is a hell of a lot more fun than EMDR.

Good Roll, Bad Company

But this method of trauma therapy might not be all glow sticks and Vicks® vapor rub. Dropping E in the confines of a therapist’s office isn’t quite the same as dancing to Danny Tenaglia at Tunnel. I can’t imagine how it would feel to have a sober academic guiding me through my ecstasy high without making out with him, or at least rubbing his arm with cooking oil. The therapy alone could give me PTSD.

The [Really] Sad Factor

Another notable bummer is the common side effects of Ecstasy, accurately called “Blue Monday,” sometimes followed by “Suicide Tuesday”—essentially, the debilitating depression that comes two-to-three days after taking the drug. After using ecstasy somewhere between 50-100 times, I now suffer from severe depression that I treat with daily medication. This may not be 100% due to my abuse of E (depression does run in my family) but I can tell you that I didn’t experience chronic depression until I excessively used Ecstasy; either way, it definitely didn’t help.

Molly: The Happy Medium?

But MDMA, aka “Molly,” might be a bit of a slightly different story. Although many seem to use the terms Ecstasy and MDMA interchangeably, I know them to be different drugs. MDMA is merely one of the drugs present in Ecstasy, which can also include speed, heroin, DXM, PMA, aspirin, caffeine and other weird ingredients. When I would do E, I would have a much stronger high—often called a roll—that I didn’t get on MDMA (that was a much more manageable high; i.e., one I didn’t like as much). So maybe MDMA can yield the therapeutic results for PTSD without the harsh side effects? I mean, researchers are also exploring how LSD can help soothe anxiety in people with terminal illnesses and using psilocybin (the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms) to help combat alcoholism and help people quit smoking.

Honestly though, even when I pop my daily dose of Lexapro, I don’t regret my Ecstasy days. My only wish is that I could safely use it today—not just because I love to get fucked up (because man oh man do I ever)—but because I agree with this article, that there are some amazing psychological insights that can be had when high on E and I can see these being healing if used in moderation. But can it be used in moderation? More’s going to have to be revealed about that.

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Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.