Euphoria over PTSD drugs needs to be over
August 29, 2013
Euphoria is "a good ability to endure" but not heal. So why is it that medications seem to be the only answer?
More and more reports on research being done on medications but evidence has shown most have come with warnings to not use them when the patient has depression because suicidal thoughts could increase. Some researchers point to this and say another medication needs to replace "what is" and go for the alternatives of medical marijuana to ecstasy to treat PTSD. Basically the response from many psychiatrists has been if it feels good, take it.
The problem is that while medications for PTSD were supposed to be about getting the chemicals of the brain level so that therapy had a better chance to work, they have been used in replace of what is less expensive but takes more time, listening.
Recently CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta came out in favor of medical marijuana but the use of it is far from new. Many Vietnam veterans used it to relax and clam down. It was a lot better than alcohol for them because instead of passing out from booze, they simply fell asleep. Keep in mind that chemicals, legal or not, take effect in the brain and thus hit the whole body. "The high-profile doc, who is CNN's chief medical correspondent, apologized for "not looking hard enough" at the research on medicinal marijuana that suggests it can help treat conditions from chronic pain to post-traumatic stress disorder."
Ecstasy has also been in the news around the world. The push in the US has been going on for years and now it seems that Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies is trying to get Australia to get involved.
"Doblin wants Australia to replicate a successful trial in the United States in which 80 per cent of soldiers and emergency workers in a study were successfully treated for PTSD using MDMA, the main ingredient in ecstasy, and psychotherapy. The controversial but legal program involved 20 veterans, who had not responded to other treatments, taking MDMA twice during three months of psychotherapy."
Wow! A whole 20 people participated in the study and 80% of them were "successfully treated" by getting high. Not impressed considering that the National Institute of Mental Health says Approximately 7.7 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 3.5 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have PTSD. PTSD can develop at any age, including childhood, but research shows that the median age of onset is 23 years. About 19 percent of Vietnam veterans experienced PTSD at some point after the war.13 The disorder also frequently occurs after violent personal assaults such as rape, mugging, or domestic violence; terrorism; natural or human-caused disasters; and accidents.
Topped off with the fact the VA has 3.9 million veterans collecting disability compensation with hundreds of thousands receiving treatment for PTSD and another huge percentage of veterans with PTSD still not seeking treatment. The assumption has been that less than half of our veterans with PTSD seek help.
This isn't new. Back in 2004 NBC News had a report that 1 in 8 soldiers back from combat had PTSD but less than half sought treatment. The CBO released a report in 2012 with 103,000 OEF OIF veterans with PTSD, 8,700 with TBI and 26,600 with both.
When you look at the hard numbers a research project on 20 veterans is not even yawn worthy.
Most of the veterans seeking help have a need to feel better and they are ready to grab at anything that does it, no matter how long it lasts. They make irrational decisions clinging onto whatever works for "now" hoping it is what does the trick for the long haul only to discover it didn't last long enough. They replace that fix with something else, then something else but the end result is always the same. It wears off and most of the time they feel worse than they did before. Why? Because while they were trying to fill the void and numb the pain, PTSD had rested up enough to get stronger.
Drugs, legal or otherwise, are not the answer especially when there is time to reverse most of what PTSD does. Early on treatment with medication blended with talk therapy, physical therapy and spiritual intervention reverses most of what PTSD does but even a perfect blend of all of these treatments do not cure it.
If too much time goes by, life gets in the way of healing and more parts of the human are hit including the brain itself. Scans have shown changes in the brain hit by PTSD. It hits the nervous system, heart, digestive organs and on and on. Even chronic cases of PTSD veterans can live better lives by combining treatments, so it is not hopeless but when we pretend that drugs are the answer the reality is, they are part of the problem when they are the only game in town.