MDMA as an Antibiotic for Infectious Mental Disease
In my clinical experience I have found that underpinning most, if not all, chronic anxiety disorders and addictions are issues of unresolved childhood trauma. The traditional psychiatric treatments with trauma-focused exposure therapies and maintenance medications are often ineffective, and disorders remain lifelong. In this talk I will look at how the neurobiological mechanisms of action of MDMA relate so beautifully to the ideal conditions a clinician would desire when choosing a tool to help their patients with trauma. In reference to two on-going MDMA studies underway in the UK – one mechanistic study with fMRI neuroimaging in patients with PTSD and one interventional pilot study using MDMA Psychotherapy to treat alcohol addiction – I will explore how MDMA Psychotherapy, delivered in a clinical setting by experienced clinicians, has the potential to safely and effectively provide patients the opportunity to address their trauma and start them on the road to recovery.
Ben Sessa is a consultant psychiatrist in adult addictions, working part-time at Addaction in Weston-Super-Mare and is senior research fellow at Bristol, Cardiff and Imperial College London Universities, where he is currently taking time off clinical medical practice to study towards a PhD in MDMA Psychotherapy. He has specialist training as a child and adolescent psychiatrist and is interested in the developmental trajectory from child maltreatment to adult mental health disorders. Dr Sessa’s joint interests in psychotherapy, pharmacology and trauma have lead him towards researching the subject of drug-assisted psychotherapy using psychedelic adjuncts. He is the author of two books exploring psychedelic medicine; The Psychedelic Renaissance (2012) and To Fathom Hell or Soar Angelic (2015) and is currently conducting research with Imperial College London and Cardiff universities studying the potential role for MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD and alcohol dependence syndrome. Dr Sessa is outspoken on lobbying for change in the current system by which drugs are classified in the UK, believing a more progressive policy of regulation would reduce the harms of recreational drug use. He is a co-founder and director of the UK’s Breaking Convention conference.