Lots of veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan are pretty messed up. One in five have post-traumatic stress disorder , which is no joke: "Drug use, suicide, marital problems and unemployment are some of the consequences...[which are] not good for the individuals or society in general."
In interviews, two people who have had the therapy — one, Anthony,
currently in the veterans study, and another who received the therapy
independently — said that MDMA produced a mental sweet spot that allowed
them to feel and talk about their trauma without being overwhelmed by
“The feeling I got was nothing at all for 45 minutes, then really bad
anxiety, and I was fighting it at first,” said Anthony, the Iraq
veteran, who patrolled southwest of Baghdad in 2006 and 2007 amid
relentless insurgent harassment and attacks with improvised explosive
devices. “And then — I don’t know how to put it, exactly — I felt O.K.
and messed up at the same time. Clear. It was almost like I could go
into any thought I wanted and fix it.”For instance, he could think and
talk about an attack that occurred in a town near Baghdad, in which
Iraqis posing as allies — and who had been armed by the American
military — turned their guns on American troops, killing several. The
unit could not quickly evacuate its wounded because of weather
conditions. Anthony’s rage and grief were so overwhelming that he had to
suppress them and did so for years.
“The military does a great job of turning you into a soldier, of
teaching you how to control your reactions, and it is hard to turn those
habits off,” Anthony said.
He said he no longer struggled with post-traumatic anxiety or guilt,
more than a year after undergoing the MDMA-assisted treatment.