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American Doctors Examine Ecstasy's Empathy

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Scientists in South Carolina are to give MDMA to traumatised American soldiers retuning from Iraq to help them talk about their experiences with therapists, the Guardian has revealed.

Chief study psychiatrist Michael Mithoefer said they hope the drug will allow shell shocked veterans to discuss traumatic situations without anxiety via ecstasy's renowned empathetic effects.

"It's looking very promising. It's too early to draw any conclusions but in these treatment resistant people so far the results are encouraging," Doctor Mithoefer told the paper. "People are able to connect more deeply on an emotional level with the fact they are safe now."

Also in America, scientists at Harvard University are to start giving E to a small group of terminally ill patients to find out whether the drug works better at alleviating their anxiety than traditional palliatives such as Valium.

'We're trying to avoid sedating people, to allow them to maintain a good quality of life so they can enjoy the time they have with family and friends," study boss Dr. Todd Shuster fro the Lahey Clinic told the Boston Globe.

''I think it is a drug that has a real potential for therapeutic benefits," he added.

Both studies vindicate ecstasy's hugely respected "godfather' Dr. Alexander Shulgin, who in his seminal book TIHKAL (published in 1997) fiercely challenged US authorities' relentless demonisation of the drug.

"The fact remains that MDMA has proven extraordinarily effective in many clinical applications and therapeutic interventions," Doctor Shulgin pointed out.

"Here is a drug that has the unusual property of, more often than not, freeing a patient in psychotherapy from the anxiety and lack of trust that often prevents the emotionally fragile person from expressing his feelings to another," he continued.

"And, as has been attested to by many therapists and patients, MDMA allows a personal perspective, which is called "insight', with a minimum amount of fear and self censoring. All this without any loss of self-control or rationality."