This story is over 5 years old
Tech by VICE

Watch a 3D Overview of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy

This is the ongoing agony and ecstasy of treating PTSD with MDMA.

by Brian Anderson
Dec 19 2012, 9:05pm

Last year, when I spoke with Michael and Annie Mithoefer, the husband-wife psychiatric duo at the leading edge of alternative post-traumatic stress disorder therapies, it was made very clear that patients at the Mithoefer's clinic, which admits active-duty troops with clinical PTSD, often grapple with popping various dosages of government-synthesized MDMA. For many, it's their first time taking E. And besides, this is therapy, not a Sound Tribe Sector 9 show.

“It’s painful,” Michael Mithoefer told me. “A few people on the first day have said they don’t know why it’s called ecstasy.”

But bitter pills aside, using MDMA to come to terms with--and to maybe even bury--the horrors of PTSD has continued its long march to legitimacy ever since, as seen in this video recently released by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. You can actually spot Michael and Annie at around the 3-minute mark.

The glaring hole, of course, is any mention of PTSD in drone pilots--or should I say, burn outs--who'll soon constitute the vast majority of the U.S. Air Force. And the sober reality is that there still doesn't seem to be a day in sight where armed services members, drone pilots included, will be able to take ecstasy for, you know, pure ecstasy, rather than to process the horrific day-to-day of so-called "surgical" combat. 

Reach Brian at @thebanderson