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swiss_democracy_for_all

MDMA and autism and Dosbods meets.

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Saw this and thought it might be interesting to some. 

It's a serious subject but as usual the small boy in me had the thought that if we ever have a Dosbods meet we should all have some!

https://newatlas.com/mdma-autism-social-anxiety/56418/

Groundbreaking trial finds MDMA reduces social anxiety in autistic adults

As final trials move to establish MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a legal and legitimate clinical treatment, a new study has recently been published demonstrating the results of the world's first clinical trial for another, albeit more controversial, application – treating severe social anxiety in adults with autism.
MDMA, or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is perhaps more commonly known by its recreational moniker of Molly, or ecstasy, and despite its initial clinical and therapeutic uses, the drug spent several decades under heavy legal restrictions. More recently though, it has undergone a renaissance in research circles, and pioneering work from Rick Doblin and a large team of scientists has led to the previously taboo substance now sitting on the precipice of FDA approval for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In 2013, Alicia Danforth collected hundreds of anecdotal reports as part of her dissertation research. The accounts, gathered from years of online discussion forums as well as original data collection, examined the first-person experiences of autistic adults using MDMA. A very significant majority of these accounts described how the drug increased empathy and ease of communication, driving Danforth to establish a clinical trial examining the drug's effects on autistic subjects in controlled conditions.

The trial commenced in 2014 and spanned three years, ultimately comprising 12 autistic adults. Anxiety was measured using the Leibowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), a broadly accepted scale that assesses social phobia.

The design of the study was similar to the process effectively developed by Rick Doblin and the MAPS team for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. Initial dosages were lower than generally administered in psychotherapy contexts to account for an anecdotal tendency in autistic individuals to have extreme reactions to sensory stimulation, but after these lower volumes were well tolerated, dosages were escalated in the later stages of the trial.

As with the PTSD studies, the MDMA sessions were integrated into a larger regime of psychotherapy sessions. Two MDMA sessions, spaced one month apart, were bookended by three non-drug integrative psychotherapy sessions. The subjects were initially randomly split into placebo or active groups, but six months after the first sessions the placebo group was then administered an active course.

 
The comparison in LSAS scores between MDMA and placebo groups up to six-month follow up (Credit:...
 

Tracking LSAS scores the MDMA-treated group showed significant clinical improvements one month after the two MDMA sessions. And perhaps more compelling were the six-month follow up results showing the effects were most certainly not transitory, holding strong long after the initial treatment.

Lisa Jerome, one of the other researchers working on the project, suggests that MDMA seemed to allow the subjects to relax to a point that helped them manifest latent social skills.

"These findings show that MDMA and psychotherapy can help people, maybe by giving people a whole new set of experiences with social interactions," explains Jerome. "MDMA isn't giving people something they didn't have already, it's helping them use what they had all along."

It's undeniably early days for this kind of research, and despite the significant outcome measures, the scientists do note this is a very small sample size. Another limitation readily accepted by the researchers is the imprecision in autism diagnosis methods. Autism is not a simple or straightforward condition, so it is fair to be skeptical about how generalizable this kind of MDMA-assisted treatment could be. However, in regard to a more specific type of autism-directed social anxiety, it is reasonable to conclude these results at the very least justify a need for more research into the area.

Danforth does explicitly add that autistic individuals should not take these results as encouragement to go out and self-administer MDMA. While this research does establish a safety profile for the treatment and suggest potential benefits in controlled settings, there is certainly still more work to be done to develop clearer and effective models.

"We hope that the good safety profile and encouraging reduction in social anxiety symptoms will inspire funding for new and larger studies," says Danforth. "It remains to be seen how the mainstream autism science community will respond to the new data."

The new study was published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

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I wouldn't call it a serious subject, rather just the normalisation of hard drugs and an excuse to rationalise their usage, or:  another step down the ladder for western society. :ph34r:

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Interesting hypothesis that I've heard:

Historical evidence suggest that man has been using hallucinogenics and cannabis for many thousands of years, and that we've actually evolved to use it at some point (like shamanic coming of age rituals) -> the current epidemic of ADHD/Autism is due to lower usage by teens following the criminalisation of such drugs...

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3 minutes ago, spunko said:

I wouldn't call it a serious subject, rather just the normalisation of hard drugs and an excuse to rationalise their usage, or:  another step down the ladder for western society. :ph34r:

To push the absolute opposite of what I've posted 30 seconds ago, it does sound very Brave New World...

I'm of the opinion that we need all of our 'imperfections' to survive as a species.  If we genetically engineered ourselves to all become fit rational psychologically stable geniuses, we'd lose something in return -- Perhaps imaginative reasoning, innovation, creative art, whatever.  Maybe these more profoundly autistic individuals are necessary for the population to have a number of low-level autistics that function well enough but become the mathematical geniuses (bit cliche, but I've known a few mathematical geniuses...) that actually push forwards that aspect of our civilisation.

[same is true for many other 'imperfections']

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4 minutes ago, dgul said:

To push the absolute opposite of what I've posted 30 seconds ago, it does sound very Brave New World...

I'm of the opinion that we need all of our 'imperfections' to survive as a species.  If we genetically engineered ourselves to all become fit rational psychologically stable geniuses, we'd lose something in return -- Perhaps imaginative reasoning, innovation, creative art, whatever.  Maybe these more profoundly autistic individuals are necessary for the population to have a number of low-level autistics that function well enough but become the mathematical geniuses (bit cliche, but I've known a few mathematical geniuses...) that actually push forwards that aspect of our civilisation.

[same is true for many other 'imperfections']

I agree, but this isn't anywhere near "genetically engineering". It also has a serious flaw IMO:

"...[] the MDMA sessions were integrated into a larger regime of psychotherapy sessions"

That isn't to say that MDMA usage for those on the autistic spectrum isn't "beneficial" in reducing social anxiety;- my issue is with the the definition of "beneficial", which is open to interpretation. Will it be foisted upon the autistic population even though there are quite clear risks of long-term / higher dose usage?

I admit I simply don't understand why anyone would want to take things like this (similar to the thread yesterday advocating Silicon Valley style micro-dosing on LSD). It just sounds like a horrible experience all round with much to lose and little to gain.

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1 minute ago, spunko said:

 

I admit I simply don't understand why anyone would want to take things like this (similar to the thread yesterday advocating Silicon Valley style micro-dosing on LSD). It just sounds like a horrible experience all round with much to lose and little to gain.

Well, they're kids, so don't have any choice.

[I remain constantly amazed by all the problems of society (obesity, diabetes, mental-illness, etc, etc.) being dumped on the kids.]

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I found the times I took MDMA very beneficial to my mental health long term. I think they found it very helpful to people with PTSD whereas hallucinogens more helpful to alcoholics. A few sessions of MDMA with friends equivalent to many weeks of therapy. 

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I remember seeing a documentary about people with terminal illnesses who took it with their loved ones and it really helped them have some time to feel close and not be scared.

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I believe MDMA was used in therapy until the 1970s when it was banned.

As a way of making the subject feel more at ease and open, and hence likely to talk about their problems and potentially resolve them.

There are a very small number of people who will die from a reaction to MDMA - has been years since I looked at the data, but the number of people who did die - with no other causal factor e.g. presence of other drugs (so we're not talking about the Leah Betts scenario) - was about a dozen a year.

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33 minutes ago, spunko said:

I wouldn't call it a serious subject, rather just the normalisation of hard drugs and an excuse to rationalise their usage, or:  another step down the ladder for western society. :ph34r:

Attitudes to all drugs are all about culture, heritage, religion and what feels normal or acceptable to you. There isn't much cool-headed dispassionate analysis on the subject. Alcohol would surely be banned if it was new and not part of our cultural heritage.

I think there's a case for looking at the potential benefits of drugs of all sorts, What if MDMA hadn't been a party drug but was a new medicine being tested?

 

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1 minute ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

I think there's a case for looking at the potential benefits of drugs of all sorts, What if MDMA hadn't been a party drug but was a new medicine being tested?

I think it and certain other drugs would do really well tbh. Don't know why they still give awful drugs like  benzos which are addictive and do not fix the underlying problems. Lots of the SSRIs also have withdrawal syptoms and side effects.  

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24 minutes ago, spunko said:

I agree, but this isn't anywhere near "genetically engineering". It also has a serious flaw IMO:

"...[] the MDMA sessions were integrated into a larger regime of psychotherapy sessions"

That isn't to say that MDMA usage for those on the autistic spectrum isn't "beneficial" in reducing social anxiety;- my issue is with the the definition of "beneficial", which is open to interpretation. Will it be foisted upon the autistic population even though there are quite clear risks of long-term / higher dose usage?

I admit I simply don't understand why anyone would want to take things like this (similar to the thread yesterday advocating Silicon Valley style micro-dosing on LSD). It just sounds like a horrible experience all round with much to lose and little to gain.

Bacon fractionally increases your risk of terminal colon cancer, but it's delicious so I still eat bacon.

MDMA fractionally increases your risk of minor cognitive impairment. A night on ecstasy is a shit-tonne better than a bacon sarnie!

I gave up all drugs (bar alcohol) when I had kids because being aware you do always have (potentially immediate) responsibilities ruins the highs, and the lows are unbearable. I remember my time taking LSD and MDMA with great fondness and no regrets though.

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4 minutes ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

Attitudes to all drugs are all about culture, heritage, religion and what feels normal or acceptable to you. There isn't much cool-headed dispassionate analysis on the subject. Alcohol would surely be banned if it was new and not part of our cultural heritage.

I think there's a case for looking at the potential benefits of drugs of all sorts, What if MDMA hadn't been a party drug but was a new medicine being tested?

 

There is strong evidence that alcohol is actually the root of our civilisation; brewing beer being the reason for disparate hunter gatherer groups to come together in ceremonies revolving around beer.  It is ironic that certain cultures have banned it.

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1 hour ago, spunko said:

I admit I simply don't understand why anyone would want to take things like this (similar to the thread yesterday advocating Silicon Valley style micro-dosing on LSD). It just sounds like a horrible experience all round with much to lose and little to gain.

I respect that you are very anti drugs, Spunko, but these things do have their uses! MDMA is a pretty impressive thing, though not appropriate for everybody, clearly.

43 minutes ago, maudit said:

I found the times I took MDMA very beneficial to my mental health long term. I think they found it very helpful to people with PTSD whereas hallucinogens more helpful to alcoholics. A few sessions of MDMA with friends equivalent to many weeks of therapy. 

Precisely.

MDMA found to reduce social anxiety? Wow, thank fuck for scientists, eh?!

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22 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

There is strong evidence that alcohol is actually the root of our civilisation; brewing beer being the reason for disparate hunter gatherer groups to come together in ceremonies revolving around beer.  It is ironic that certain cultures have banned it.

Beer is all about northern climes.  Wine about more Mediterranean regions.  It is interesting that Islam 'bans' the drinking of wine, not beer* -- the 'enemy' in the early days were wine drinkers, therefore the ban on wine was about subjugation of those peoples**.  Note that they weren't ignorant of beer, just that it wasn't important to them.  The extension of the ban into 'all alcohol' came about as the religion expanded north and thus had beer swilling people to subjugate.  In many respects this is similar to the attitude to dogs in Islam -- it only really came about as Islam moved into Persia, where the Zoroastrians revered dogs (and thus that had to change...).  

The drug of choice in the more warm climes around the birth of Islam was hashish, hence the tolerance of hash compared with alcohol in Islam.  Now, these days hash is considered haram (by many), but that is a relatively modern interpretation.

[* there isn't a ban on alcohol in the Quran, just wine. And even then, the 'ban' in the early days wasn't taken that seriously.  The extension into other intoxicants is an invention, rather than core to the religion]

[** of course it is stated as about the drug getting in the way of closeness with God.  There is always a stated reason, with the fundamental hidden.]

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2 minutes ago, LC1 said:

I respect that you are very anti drugs, Spunko, but these things do have their uses! MDMA is a pretty impressive thing, though not appropriate for everybody, clearly. 

 

I'm not anti drugs, alcohol has its uses, but as with all things, there are drawbacks! :Old:

I have never taken MDMA, not because of the scare stories that were popular in the 90s (anyone remember Leah Betts?), mainly because the people I knew who used to take it were utter twats.

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Just now, spunko said:

I'm not anti drugs, alcohol has its uses, but as with all things, there are drawbacks! :Old:

I have never taken MDMA, not because of the scare stories that were popular in the 90s (anyone remember Leah Betts?), mainly because the people I knew who used to take it were utter twats.

This also shaped my attitude to cannabis.

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1 minute ago, spunko said:

I'm not anti drugs, alcohol has its uses, but as with all things, there are drawbacks! :Old:

I have never taken MDMA, not because of the scare stories that were popular in the 90s (anyone remember Leah Betts?), mainly because the people I knew who used to take it were utter twats.

Ditto.

But I now regret not taking it at the time, I think it would have been good fun and might have changed my perspective on some things.

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Also, the Leah Betts Wikipedia article is actually quite interesting if you've got a few minutes spare. A lot of vested interests.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leah_Betts

It was reported that the £1m Sorted posters campaign was the pro-bono work of three advertising companies: Booth Lockett and Makin (media buyers), Knight Leech and Delaney (advertising agency), and FFI (youth marketing consultants). Booth Lockett and Makin counted brewers Löwenbräu as one of its major clients, at a time when the alcohol industry saw increasing MDMA use as a threat to profits. The other two companies represented energy drink Red Bull, a professional relationship that had earned Knight Leech and Delaney £5 million and was described by one of FFI's executives who remarked that, "We do PR for Red Bull for example and we do a lot of clubs. It's very popular at the moment because it's a substitute for taking ecstasy."

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1 minute ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

Ditto.

But I now regret not taking it at the time, I think it would have been good fun and might have changed my perspective on some things.

I am sort-of in the same mind, but at the time what I took made me go a bit bonkers and I held off for that reason.  There days I'm a bit more relaxed and can cope with a bit of stimulation.

[eg, the thing about LSD is that it'll give you what you think it'll give you.  If you think it'll make you jump out of windows, you'll jump out of windows.  If you think it'll make you one with the universe, it'll make you (think that you're) one with the universe.  At the time I was more in the 'jump out of windows' mindset -> I learnt I was best off avoiding the stuff]

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1 hour ago, dgul said:

the current epidemic of ADHD/Autism is due to lower usage by teens following the criminalisation of such drugs.

Nah there no autism epidemic.

In the past autists we labelled odd/weird/anti-social/loners etc etc or misdiagnosed with problems cause by their autism like anxiety/depression/social anxiety/ocd/anorexia/gender dysphoria etc

 

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1 minute ago, JackieO said:

Nah there no autism epidemic.

In the past autists we labelled odd/weird/anti-social/loners etc etc or misdiagnosed with problems cause by their autism like anxiety/depression/social anxiety/ocd/anorexia/gender dysphoria etc

 

That's probably right.

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3 minutes ago, dgul said:

That's probably right.

Think of the words of Eleanor Rigby

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

All those odd, social outcasts....

 

Edited by JackieO

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19 minutes ago, dgul said:

I am sort-of in the same mind, but at the time what I took made me go a bit bonkers and I held off for that reason.  There days I'm a bit more relaxed and can cope with a bit of stimulation.

[eg, the thing about LSD is that it'll give you what you think it'll give you.  If you think it'll make you jump out of windows, you'll jump out of windows.  If you think it'll make you one with the universe, it'll make you (think that you're) one with the universe.  At the time I was more in the 'jump out of windows' mindset -> I learnt I was best off avoiding the stuff]

Best I stay away then as I'm definitely a woe-is-me drunk! :o

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I've been researching LSD micro-dosing since reading the recent thread on it - can't say I'd heard of it before, slthough it's supposedly all the rage in places like Silicon Valley.

I'm much more open to drugs than I used to be and will probably try it but couldn't see myself using any narcotic regularly, even if (maybe especially if) its effects were overall beneficial, no more than I would attempt routinely to medicate away my occasional episodes of "Black Dog" or try to ameliorate social awkwardness with legal drugs like booze or Prozac, as I think you need the "downs" to appreciate the "highs" in life.

Edited by Turned Out Nice Again

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