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Self-medicating with Ecstasy: Is it worth the risk?

Ecstasy--MDMA--is a drug that first gained popularity in the 1980's. The drug, said to make you more empathic, loving and open to self-reflection, was often found at "Raves" or all-night parties. Fearing for the safety of the community, the Drug Enforcement Agency moved quickly to have the drug classified as a Schedule I drug--meaning that it was classified as a controlled substance that had no medical benefit and a high risk for abuse.

Ironically, prior to the drug being fast-tracked to illegal status, it had been used by psychotherapists in conjunction with therapy. These psychiatrists attempted to keep the DEA from completely outlawing the drug, but by the late-eighties, the drug had been banned not just in the U.S., but worldwide.

Who is self-medicating?

Prior to its illegal use, MDMA had been used in small amounts during therapy to help an individual break down barriers of trust and fear, and according to the therapists, facilitate deeper, quicker and more meaningful counseling.

Recently, some clinical trials have been permitted and there has been some indication that therapy combined with the administration of MDMA may help--and in some cases cure--Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

This is good news for the many soldiers, crime and abuse victims who struggle with the very real effects of PTSD. But the fact is, the drug is still illegal. And being caught with it in your possession is still a felony.

Which is worse?

While you may feel that the use of Ecstasy helps you handle your PTSD symptoms, you are risking your future by using it. And using it without proper medical supervision may create physical fallout you were not expecting: overuse or high doses of Ecstasy have been linked to depression and anxiety--the exact symptoms you are trying to alleviate. In addition, no street-drug is safe--it is simply impossible to know what you are getting in the dose you are taking.

According to National Public Radio, clinical trials of MDMA show promising results. Until, however, the drug becomes legal again and available by prescription, you are risking significant jail time and fines for possessing the drug.

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