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Photographer
afplcc
Posts: 5,971
Fairfax, Virginia, US


I debated where to post this thread--if it belonged in this forum or somewhere else.  And yes, it's meant seriously.

I have a raging case of PTSD.  Too many years of pretending to be a tough  guy and that all of the stuff I was seeing as a photographer didn't affect me or claiming I could "handle" it.  BS.  So now I have PTSD.

Yes, I see a professional for this.  Yes, I have a good support group for this.  And no, I'm not asking MM members for medical advice (that would be right up there like asking MM members for legal advice!).

But there is some new research out that indicates that ecstasy (or 3,4-methylenedioxy-methylamphetamine (MDMA) as it's called medically) can be effective for dealing with PTSD.  I'm aware of two studies that are on-going (one in Hawaii, another in the NW...so neither are accessible to me), one using returning warriors, the other a mix of people (including one other photojournalist I know who shared this with me).

What can people tell me about Ecstasy?  I've never used drugs, only did a little bit of drinking (knew enough about myself to know that I'd go overboard and just seek to stay permanently numb--which is tempting some days).  So when it comes to drugs, I'm clueless.  Any info about Ecstasy, what it's like, what it affect it produces, how long it typically runs, reactions to it--I'd appreciate that perspective.  If you don't feel comfortable sharing that in a thread, you can message me personally.

Thanks,

Ed
Dec 02 12 03:21 am  Link  Quote 
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Model
Damianne
Posts: 15,973
Austin, Texas, US


Feel free to ask any questions my message didn't answer, it's my favorite drug and therefore the one I'm most informed about.

I have not now, nor ever, taken drugs, MM police. I just think they're interesting to read about and MDMA is a pretty cool one, academically.
Dec 02 12 06:50 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Little Queenie
Posts: 6,213
Indio, California, US


I don't think very many people on here who have used te drug recreationally are going to be able to give you accurate accounts of what it's like to take MDMA. Most "street" forms of the drug are laced with all kinds of bullshit and some aren't even real MDMA but rather a concoction of drugs.

Only recently have I heard about people getting pure MDMA from chemists trying to make extra cash. The contents are still questionable.

It was used quite a bit to treat Vietnam vets who suffered from PTSD. CNN recently did an article on treating PTSD with the drug.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/01/health/ec … index.html

If you are going to try it, do it in a controlled environment and under doctor supervision. The street form of the drug can really jack your brain.
Dec 02 12 08:00 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Tim Little Photography
Posts: 11,530
Wilmington, Delaware, US


Thank you for posting this Ed. I also have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To give an example of what an aspect of it is like lets consider this morning. I have insomnia and have been three days without good long stretches of sleep. I finally get some sleep and woke up in terror. It's like instead of a heart attack, I get these mind attacks.

I know nothing about Extacy. Could it be helpful for people like me?
Dec 02 12 08:02 am  Link  Quote 
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Model
Koryn
Posts: 35,832
Boston, Massachusetts, US


It's as though you have been walking your whole life unaware through a dense fog so you have no ability to perceive clarity in the things around you. You have the MDMA experience(s), and then you realize what a rich, colorful life you have, all the things to be grateful for, and all the years ahead of you. You wake up with this sense of having all of life ahead of you, a clear path to follow, and a new way to enjoy the goodness in people/things. The obstacles, you realize, are so small and asinine, you can't figure out why you ever cared about them to begin with.

It's serious business. I have no idea why people fuck around with it recreationally.
Dec 02 12 08:12 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
afplcc
Posts: 5,971
Fairfax, Virginia, US


Thanks for all those who've sent me individual messages as well as those who've posted.

Just a few more details:

1.  Yes, it is available legally.  The two trials I'm aware of, it's given as a prescription and closely monitored.  It's not purchased off the street.

2.  I'm not considering doing this via the street.  Nor am I seeking medical advice from folks.  I'm really trying to get a better sense of the drug b/c it is being used for PTSD research but I'm not sure how well it fits my situation.  But the posts I've gotten have been very helpful.  I'm very leery of drugs.  My personality makes it very easy to "over do" something or lose control.  Plus, my tendency given the PTSD would be to medicate for numbness--to not feel, to blur over a lot of bad memories or wipe out nightmares.

3.  Tim--like I said, another photojournalist I met while in Bosnia is in one of the trials.  Our PTSD situations are a bit different but she told me that it's making a difference for her.  My situation:
--I do have trouble sleeping.  I often wake up at 3am or 5am (after going to bed at midnight).
--I will have very vivid nightmares.  I get smells in my nightmares....burned bodies, rotting bodies...memories from what I saw (the death squads would often dump the people they killed in the municipal trash dump for instance, in Bosnia there were a lot of mass graves as a result of ethnic cleansing).
--as a combination of those two, it will sometimes affect my behavior.  I have others who know me who are astounded that I have PTSD, they say that I'm nice and courteous and upbeat and "normal".  Part of my support group said that's just me overcompensating.  I will at times be edgy, get the shakes (not fun focusing a camera then), and get withdrawn.  To most people then I probably just come off as a introvert.  My wife does a good job of spotting this stuff and will pull me out of a party or group saying she's tired and needs to go home.  I will sometimes catch myself doing stuff unconsciously or on autopilot...checking the grass I'm walking on for anti-personnel mines or panicking b/c I don't have a camera with me.  But as far as PTSD goes, mine is pretty mild stuff.

Ed
Dec 02 12 09:05 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Little Queenie
Posts: 6,213
Indio, California, US


afplcc wrote:
Thanks for all those who've sent me individual messages as well as those who've posted.

Just a few more details:

1.  Yes, it is available legally.  The two trials I'm aware of, it's given as a prescription and closely monitored.  It's not purchased off the street.

2.  I'm not considering doing this via the street.  Nor am I seeking medical advice from folks.  I'm really trying to get a better sense of the drug b/c it is being used for PTSD research but I'm not sure how well it fits my situation.  But the posts I've gotten have been very helpful.  I'm very leery of drugs.  My personality makes it very easy to "over do" something or lose control.  Plus, my tendency given the PTSD would be to medicate for numbness--to not feel, to blur over a lot of bad memories or wipe out nightmares.

3.  Tim--like I said, another photojournalist I met while in Bosnia is in one of the trials.  Our PTSD situations are a bit different but she told me that it's making a difference for her.  My situation:
--I do have trouble sleeping.  I often wake up at 3am or 5am (after going to bed at midnight).
--I will have very vivid nightmares.  I get smells in my nightmares....burned bodies, rotting bodies...memories from what I saw (the death squads would often dump the people they killed in the municipal trash dump for instance, in Bosnia there were a lot of mass graves as a result of ethnic cleansing).
--as a combination of those two, it will sometimes affect my behavior.  I have others who know me who are astounded that I have PTSD, they say that I'm nice and courteous and upbeat and "normal".  Part of my support group said that's just me overcompensating.  I will at times be edgy, get the shakes (not fun focusing a camera then), and get withdrawn.  To most people then I probably just come off as a introvert.  My wife does a good job of spotting this stuff and will pull me out of a party or group saying she's tired and needs to go home.  I will sometimes catch myself doing stuff unconsciously or on autopilot...checking the grass I'm walking on for anti-personnel mines or panicking b/c I don't have a camera with me.  But as far as PTSD goes, mine is pretty mild stuff.

Ed

I understand that, what I was trying to explain is that the responses you get from people with personal experience may not be accurate or applicable to what you are looking into for the simple fact that most people don't have access to the caliber of drug being used in case studies.

Like I said, the exctacy that most people have taken is dirty and laced with all kinds of crap. Everything from meth to coke to pcp to laxatives to aspirin. This is why the personal experience stories you may get are probably not applicable to what your looking for. Nor will anyone be able to tell you much about using it for PTSD because the case studies done after Vietnam and the ones running currently are so small I doubt that anyone in MM would have any insight. 

I can tell you fairy tales about using E and horror stories. I can tell you that it will leave you with clarity and great introspection but I can also tell you that it will leave you in a terrible depression for days where you can't get out of bed. And again, none if this would be applicable because the drug isn't comparable to what you would be taking.

Your better off contacting the research groups running the studies.

Dec 02 12 09:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
291
Posts: 11,911
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, California, US


afplcc wrote:
I'd appreciate that perspective.

i grew up in the early era of mind-altering "tripping" drugs.  we used them but we didn't abuse them, as in, i lived in a communal setting where the experimentation was away from interaction with society. 

the drugs of choice were the micro-dots, organic mescaline and mda.  in those early days each were in pure form where today i suspect they are stomped on with additional additives so my experience from '74 (the last time i did them) may be different than that of today.  i bring up the reference to the others as they were pretty much in the same class with similar effects.

both acid and mescaline were intense with heavy hallucination.  there usually wasn't a quick rush when getting off, rather it was a steady climb.  the best part of the trip usually came about 6-hours in during the coming down/mellowing out.

mda was different in that there was an intense rush that quickly mellowed for the full trip that was similar to the euphoria found during the latter stage of the acid trip.  there also wasn't the same hallucination effect, although there were "trails."

the other main difference was acid gave a "change the world" type of feeling where mda gave a "hug the world" feeling.  mda was equally intense but far more mellow and what has always struck me odd is how it became a rave drug.  my suspicion is due to it being a speed derivative drug the formula changed over the years from what i experienced.

now, as for mda use as a treatment i would not recommend it.  while the effect during "the trip" gives a not a care in the world feeling, there is also a depression effect that surfaces as it wears off, followed by sleep and continues through the day after hangover.

if it were me i would look into a different form of "x" as in p90x, a rigorous form of exercise that will release internal chemistry to combat depression.  that may or may not work but i've known a few that took that route for both a stronger mental and physical well-being.

either way, good luck and hope you can work it out. 

that's my take, other trips may vary in experience.

Dec 02 12 10:28 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Kelli
Posts: 24,189
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Tim Little Photography wrote:
Thank you for posting this Ed. I also have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To give an example of what an aspect of it is like lets consider this morning. I have insomnia and have been three days without good long stretches of sleep. I finally get some sleep and woke up in terror. It's like instead of a heart attack, I get these mind attacks.

I know nothing about Extacy. Could it be helpful for people like me?

Lastnight was my first night in 2 wks I slept more then 3 hrs. PTSD SUCKS.

Dec 02 12 10:58 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Little Queenie
Posts: 6,213
Indio, California, US


Dec 02 12 11:02 am  Link  Quote 
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Model
Damianne
Posts: 15,973
Austin, Texas, US


If you're doing it through a doctor, they're going to have more information than anyone who may or may not have used MDMA recreationally.
Dec 02 12 11:06 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cherrystone
Posts: 36,036
Columbus, Ohio, US


Damianne wrote:
If you're doing it through a doctor, they're going to have more information than anyone who may or may not have used MDMA recreationally.

This

Dec 02 12 12:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
rfordphotos
Posts: 4,614
Antioch, California, US


I understand the Israelis and the Swiss have done some fairly long running studies, with preliminary results from both studies being very positive.

I have read about two modes of use. The first was using MDMA in a clinical setting, with CBT and a trained (MDMA trained) clinician guiding the discussion. These studies claimed to have a very high success level of breaking barriers and getting a good result from the CBT.

I have also more recently heard of some work being done with a daily dose, used to control symptoms. I have only heard anecdotal results, but they too have been positive.

I also have PTSD. Even with counseling it has severely limited my life. I dont know if these trials will result in a useful therapy for me, but I certainly hope they do.....
Dec 02 12 12:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
V Laroche
Posts: 2,745
New Orleans, Louisiana, US


ShivaKitty wrote:
It's as though you have been walking your whole life unaware through a dense fog so you have no ability to perceive clarity in the things around you. You have the MDMA experience(s), and then you realize what a rich, colorful life you have, all the things to be grateful for, and all the years ahead of you. You wake up with this sense of having all of life ahead of you, a clear path to follow, and a new way to enjoy the goodness in people/things. The obstacles, you realize, are so small and asinine, you can't figure out why you ever cared about them to begin with.

It's serious business. I have no idea why people fuck around with it recreationally.

Self-medication? Armchair shamanism?

A friend with PTSD was interested in MDMA therapy some years ago and I helped her research it. There is a lot of stuff from the 70s before they put the kibosh on.

Dec 03 12 12:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jonathan Dvoretz II
Posts: 924
Miami Beach, Florida, US


Treating PTSD with ecstasy is almost a stupid as treating alcoholism (and ptsd) with acid (seriously... they are trying to treat both with acid.) Lets make this country more dependent on drugs... The american way, forget looking into it, just medicate it.

PTSD is not that hard to treat, you just have to be open minded and willing to actually work on your mind. Cognitive and behavioral therapy work just fine.

These things do help treat ptsd:
- Keeping a powerless journal before bed
- Meditation
- Practicing acceptance
- Learning the react / respond theory

There is a bunch more... if you are interested shoot me a pm

Just so it doesn't get all dramatic - I am a therapist at an IOP (intensive out-patient) for drug addicts and one of the most common problems is ptsd smile
Dec 03 12 01:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Compass Rose Studios
Posts: 15,969
Portland, Oregon, US


Jonathan Dvoretz II wrote:
Treating PTSD with ecstasy is almost a stupid as treating alcoholism (and ptsd) with acid (seriously... they are trying to treat both with acid.) Lets make this country more dependent on drugs... The american way, forget looking into it, just medicate it.

Not all drugs are the same and sometimes some things DO need to be treated with drugs.   

I question the critical thinking skills of people who speak in such sweeping generalizations.

Dec 03 12 10:44 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Carlos Occidental
Posts: 10,544
Pasadena, California, US


I can see it helping greatly, in small doses.  Dose is the key here.  I highly doubt doctors are giving doses as high as a single street pill, assuming high quality.
Dec 03 12 11:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
rfordphotos
Posts: 4,614
Antioch, California, US


Jonathan Dvoretz II wrote:
Treating PTSD with ecstasy is almost a stupid as treating alcoholism (and ptsd) with acid (seriously... they are trying to treat both with acid.) Lets make this country more dependent on drugs... The american way, forget looking into it, just medicate it.

PTSD is not that hard to treat, you just have to be open minded and willing to actually work on your mind. Cognitive and behavioral therapy work just fine.

[...]
Just so it doesn't get all dramatic - I am a therapist at an IOP (intensive out-patient) for drug addicts and one of the most common problems is ptsd smile

Thanks for your opinion.

Describing PTSD as "not that hard to treat" makes me pretty sure you dont have a clue what you are talking about. I know literally hundreds of Vets with combat related PTSD who have spent YEARS in intensive CBT combined with all the drug therapy the VA could muster. I know at least 50 who have been institutionalized for their treatment for periods of up to three years---three years of DAILY counseling in residential treatment programs.

So, you will have to forgive me if I find your sweeping statement nonsensical.

Dec 03 12 12:51 pm  Link  Quote 
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