Posts tagged ‘South Carolina’

December 11, 2012

MDMA medication therapy for PTSD show positive results

By Krista Brooks

Published Monday, December 3, 2012 –  The Daily 49er

A recent study has shown that low doses of MDMA, otherwise known as ecstasy, combined with psychotherapy and treatment can significantly reduce the severity of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The study began in the early 2000s by South Carolina psychiatrist Dr. Michael Mithoefer and his wife, nurse Anne Mithoefer, in collaboration with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies or MAPS. Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina reported that the treatment was highly successful.

The Journal of Psychopharmacology published the results that 83 percent of participants were no longer qualified for a PTSD diagnosis after two months. The study primarily focused on survivors of sexual assault, but extended to military veterans after the numbers of these PTSD cases rose.

The treatment includes two doses of pure MDMA in an extended therapy session, followed by another dose after three to five weeks of therapy without the drug. The focus of these sessions is to relieve the patient of the disorder’s symptoms, including flashbacks, anxiety, depression, insomnia, nightmares and hyperarousal. The Mithoefers reported that the patients’ symptoms reduced by 75 percent after treatment. The treatment varies between patients, some are more affected by MDMA than others.

The psychedelic drug, known formally as 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine, provided twice the relief compared to non-MDMA therapy.

According to the study, the drug lessens overreactions in the brain by altering hard-wired connections between conscious thought and emotional reactions. It releases serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and oxytocin, while redirecting activity in the amygdala, a region in the brain that is activated during fearful, threatening situations.

Dr. Julie Holland, a psychiatrist studying the safety of the drug, reported that the controlled environment diminishes most risks associated with MDMA.

Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John Halpern studied the neurotoxicity of the treatment, and found that the occasional dosage does not produce any cognitive damage to patients with the disorder.

According to MAPS, almost one in seven service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. Many of these cases lead to suicidal acts.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs spent close to $5.5 billion to 275,000 veterans for PTSD disability payments. This number is expected to rise this year.

With $15 million, MAPS is working towards supplementing these costs with the MDMA therapy with a 10-year plan to make the drug FDA approved for prescription medicine.

The drug, if approved, will only be applicable for this form of medical treatment and therapy. It has been supported primarily by nonprofit groups to help these veterans. Similar studies are being conducted in Switzerland, Israel and Britain with MDMA, LSD and marijuana.

With the increasing costs of support and growing number in PTSD veterans, this treatment is a step in the right direction.

The study is still small, but is the only known medication to aid PTSD other than antidepressants. CNN has investigated this treatment and found several families whose lives were significantly better after overcoming PTSD. This new therapy movement is not political, it is a health issue regarding veterans that are scarred with the events they have survived. The Mithoefer’s study is an eight to 10 hour treatment that could change a life forever. With 15 of 21 people completely recovered from the disorder, this practice and therapy should be approved and helping others as soon as possible.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

October 2, 2012

New Arizona law allowing police to question citizenship is wrong

By Krista Brooks

Published Sunday, September 18, 2012 – The Daily 49er

After two years of battling the provision in Arizona court, police can now say to civilians, “show me your papers.”

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton passed the controversial immigration law, and five states — Alabama, Utah, Georgia, Indiana, and South Carolina — have since instated a law based on the same grounds.

The law allows police to question the immigration status of suspects who they believe to be in the country illegally.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure into law in 2010 in Arizona, a state known as the busiest illegal entry point in the country.

Great timing, everybody.

Elections are coming up, and this is the perfect way for a state to essentially pick who it wants to vote for.

This law will single out Latinos and breed distrust between police officers and their communities, which they have promised to serve and protect. This sense of distrust will only expand when police officers begin to ask registered citizens for their papers just because they look like they could be an illegal immigrant.

This will brood both fear and loathing of police in Arizona citizens, who are worried they could be suspected of beingillegal immigrants.

There is also the notion of having to always carry around your papers.

Neither I nor many other Americans carry around any form of “papers” all the time, proving that we’re citizens.

If someone is questioned and they don’t have their appropriate paperwork, they can be detained and taken into custody on the basis of suspicion alone. Being a law that is derived from suspicion, it can be seen as an infringement on civil rights.

If determined illegal, federal immigration officers can be contacted by Arizona police to have unauthorized residents deported.

Both supporters of Brewer and the provision questioned if federal immigration officers would comply, to which the officers responded that they would help based on level of threat and priority.

From the small buffer created by the federal immigration officers, some illegal immigrants may be exonerated, but nonetheless they will still be targeted by state officers.

President Barack Obama’s administration motioned to repeal the law on the grounds that federal immigration lawtrumps state law, but that was denied.

The officers are being trained to distinguish the features of an illegal immigrant.

Couldn’t that be just about anyone?

Hopefully Arizona citizens will band together to fight this new law.

Arizona citizens should refuse to be profiled on a daily basis by how legitimately “American” they appear.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism student and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

%d bloggers like this: