Can MDMA Save a Marriage?

Now that MDMA is illegal, some providers are resorting to clandestine MDMA therapy sessions, sometimes with disastrous results. A recent essay in Slate describes a man’s harrowing experience after an underground psychedelic coach gave him methamphetamine “cut with a little MDMA” instead of the pure MDMA he expected during a guided session in 2019.

It’s also risky for people to use MDMA alone, experts warn.

“This can include anything from a ‘bad trip’ to reckless behavior to psychiatric symptoms such as panic attacks or physical effects such as hypertension or interactions with other drugs,” said Dr. Smita Das, the president of the Council on Addiction Psychiatry at the American Psychiatric Association.

Typical side effects of MDMA use include involuntary jaw clenching, nausea, palpitations, and hot flashes or chills. And long-term use can damage nerve cells in the brain that contain serotonin, a chemical that relays messages and helps regulate mood, sleep, pain, appetite and more.

“There’s more to taking MDMA than making sure the compound is pure,” says Rachel Yehuda, director of the Center for Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Trauma Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Some mental health providers are looking for ways to help patients without breaking the law. Last year, the company Fluence, an organization that trains therapists to legally integrate psychedelics into their practices, taught more than 300 clinicians how to support clients who use illegal psychedelics themselves, said Elizabeth Nielson, a psychologist and one of the company’s founders. .

Fluence tells therapists not to advise clients on how to obtain or use an illegal drug. But they can discuss why their clients want the drug, what they expect will happen if they use it, and how to limit the damage. Then they can work with clients after taking the drug to process their experience.

Jayne Gumpel, a lead trainer at Fluence and a relationship therapist who sees clients in Woodstock, NY and New York City, said public interest in psychedelics is “exploding.” Oregon, Washington, DC and half a dozen municipalities have decriminalized psilocybin, and hundreds of ketamine clinics are popping up across the United States. To keep up, therapists need to have knowledge of these and other psychedelics, including MDMA, Ms Gumpel added.

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