What is it about?

This study interviewed 19 participants one year after completing a clinical trial of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for severe and treatment-resistant PTSD. The quantitative studies show that these participants experienced significant reductions in their PTSD symptoms over the year following the treatment. This qualitative study goes more in depth into the participant experience of the treatment, as well as other outcomes beyond reduced PTSD symptoms. This study found that after the treatment participants experienced improved self-awareness, social functioning, problem substance use, and motivation to continue treatment that lasted at least through 1 year.

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Why is it important?

First, as MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy is entering the final phase of clinical trials, it is important to understand the full extent of what participants experience going through the treatment. While quantitative studies have done a very good job showing the safety and efficacy of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy in reducing PTSD symptoms, there is a lot that these measures cannot pick up about this nuanced experience. This study showed that while PTSD symptom scores are an important measurement of the treatment, there are also a number of quality of life changes that have gone unrecognized, even in participants that showed limited symptom reduction. Second, this is an important piece to indicate the utility of qualitative research in the psychedelic sciences. Considering these treatments utilize altered states to aid the therapy process, the experience of participants in these therapies is incredibly nuanced and can be difficult to pick up with quantitative measures alone. This paper gives voice to the participants to more deeply understand their experience and and to explore what led to any varied outcomes.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Perceived Benefits of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy beyond Symptom Reduction: Qualitative Follow-Up Study of a Clinical Trial for Individuals with Treatment-Resistant PTSD, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, March 2019, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/02791072.2019.1580805.
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