An unpublished study finds MDMA can effectively treat alcoholism.

In recent years, various recreational substances have been re-examined to treat different disorders and ailments. Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or more simply MDMA, is one of them and is believed to be effective in treating alcoholism.


Until now, the therapeutic potential of MDMA has mainly been explored for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As part of work published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, a team of British researchers led by psychiatrist Ben Sessa evaluated its effects in people with alcohol dependence. Although small in size, the clinical trial was the first to explore this substance’s potential to treat addiction.

The researchers recruited Fourteen subjects with alcohol-related disorders. The two-month treatment involved ten sessions (eight of these were one-hour consultations with a psychotherapist, while the other two involved one-day MDMA). The results of this proof of concept showed that this type of therapy was not only safe and well-tolerated but also much more effective than any other approach currently used to treat alcoholism.

While subjects consumed an average of 130 units of alcohol per week at the very start of the study, nine months after the trial, weekly consumption of more than 14 units of alcohol was observed in only slightly more than 20% of them.

The team’s previous work suggested that MDMA may reduce the risk of relapse in people with alcoholism – Bondar Pavel /


According to the team, no adverse reactions were observed in subjects when taking the substance or during the days following it. This suggests that the negative mood swings occurring two to three days after taking MDMA “recreationally,” reported by many users for years, maybe due to multiple drug abuse and other related factors rather than to the substance itself.

Although this is still very preliminary research, more studies exploring the effectiveness of MDMA therapy are ongoing. So far, the results suggest that, when administered as part of a clinical therapeutic program, this substance shows great promise for treating various disorders.

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