Ingmar Gorman, PhD
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Beyond Symptom Reduction
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)–assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been shown to reduce PTSD symptoms. However, an analysis of participants’ life enhancement through the treatment has not been closely examined. Using the construct of posttraumatic growth (PTG), we studied changes in self-perception, interpersonal relationships, and philosophy of life. Participant data (n = 60) were pooled from three Phase 2 clinical studies. Participants were required to meet DSM-IV-R criteria for PTSD with a score higher than 50 on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-IV). Data were aggregated into two groups: an active MDMA dose group (75–125 mg of MDMA; n = 45) or placebo/active control (0–40 mg of MDMA; n = 15). Measures included the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) and the CAPS-IV, which were administered at baseline, primary endpoint, treatment exit, and 12-month follow-up. At primary endpoint, the MDMA group demonstrated more PTG than the control group, Hedges’ g = 1.14, 95% CI [0.49, 1.78], p < .001; and a larger reduction in PTSD symptom severity, Hedges’ g = 0.88, 95% CI [- 0.28, 1.5 ], p < .001, relative to the control group. Relative to baseline, At the 12-month follow-up, within-subject PTG was higher than baseline, p < .001; PTSD symptom severity scores were lower, p < .001; and two-thirds of participants (67.2%) no longer met criteria for PTSD. MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD resulted in PTG and clinical symptom reductions of large-magnitude effect sizes. Results suggest that PTG may provide a new mechanism of action warranting further study.
Ingmar Gorman, Ph.D., is a psychologist who specializes in assisting populations who have had experiences with psychedelics and other psychoactive compounds. He is site co-principal Investigator and therapist on a Phase 3 clinical trial studying the potential psychotherapeutic utility of MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder. Dr. Gorman is a former NIH funded fellow at New York University and a board member of Horizons Media, Inc., a not for-profit educational charity and organizer of the Horizons Conference: Perspectives on Psychedelics.