In a not-so-unpleasant twist, caps might actually be the answer to your chronic drinking problems.
That at least is the position taken by a newly approved clinical study, which aims to use MDMA in order to treat patients struggling with severe alcohol addiction.
20 individuals – all heavy drinkers – will be given highly potent MDMA caps within a therapeutic environment. They will then be treated to a full day of talking therapy and quiet meditation whilst under the influence of the drug, with the hope that it will make them more chatty and inspire them to “open up” more than they otherwise might.
Many a recreational user will be all too familiar with this ‘chatterbox’ effect: the gift of the gab that MDMA bestows upon the most introverted of consumers. In this way, the treatment is not so much about using molly as a cure for alcoholism, but rather as a way to root out the causes behind it – putting the patient on caps lock, so to speak, and letting them talk it out.
“It’s using drugs to enhance the relationship between the therapist and the patient, and it allows us to dig down and get to the heart of the problems that drive long-term mental illness,” says Ben Sessa, a clinical psychiatrist involved in the trial and senior research fellow at Imperial College London.
“We know that MDMA works really well in helping people who have suffered trauma and it helps to build empathy. Many of my patients who are alcoholics have suffered some sort of trauma in their past and this plays a role in their addiction.”
Within an Australian social context, at least, it’s not hard to see how this ‘spill your guts’ approach might be effective. If there’s one thing Australians love more than not talking about their feelings, it’s dropping two caps of molly and talking about every single feeling they’ve ever had.
The only thing delaying the trial, apparently, is the painstaking care being taken to ensure that the drug is 99.99% pure. The price for such high-end goods? Close to $9000 Australian per gram.
While Sessa points out that “No one has ever given MDMA to treat alcoholism before”, this isn’t the first time recreational drugs have come under the microscope for their potential health benefits. Psilocybin has proven extremely effective at alleviating depression and anxiety for people in the advanced stages of cancer; ketamine is currently being examined for its potential in eradicating addictive behavioural patterns; and just last year, MDMA-enhanced therapy not unlike this showed convincing results for treating sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“This is not a fringe subject,” says Sessa. “It’s careful, methodical, extremely rigorous science.”
Source: The Guardian
Feature image: Bluelight