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MAPS Bulletin Summer 2014: Research Edition
Media > Recent and Archival
December 5, 2012

Rape Victim: Ecstasy Treatment Helped Me Re-Integrate Trauma

By: Eric W. Dolan

The Raw Story

The Raw Story covers Rachel Hope’s participation in our study of Treating PTSD with MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy, which provided her a long-lasting reduction to her PTSD symptoms. “I kept getting better.”

Originally appearing here.

A woman who was abused and raped at age 4 told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta that undergoing experimental ecstasy-assisted therapy sessions helped her cope with the long-lasting trauma.

Rachel Hope had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder since childhood. She received ecstasy — also known as MDMA — amid a scientific study on the therapeutic use of the drug.

“I’d never done anything like that,” Hope explained. “But [lead researcher Michael] Mithoefer made it so comfortable for me and prepared me, so when I got the medicine I had an idea of what would happen. But it was pretty remarkable.”

She said it felt like all her “systems” were “lit up.” She explained that she was able to “control where I was thinking and going, and look at things differently.”

The researchers who conducted the study believe using MDMA to assist psychotherapy could help patients by allowing them to revisit traumatic memories without being overwhelmed with emotion.

“The medicine is helping me look at traumatic events and help me deal with them, and have a new perspective on that, and kind of re-integrate it,” Hope said. “So, I’m looking at these horrible experiences from my past. I’m — and that’s intense, but with the help of the medicine I was able to do it in a totally different way.”

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