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Can the Use of MDMA to Treat Alcoholism Work?

Can the Use of MDMA to Treat Alcoholism Work?

MDMA is a psychedelic drug that acts as both a stimulant and a hallucinogenic, creating changes within the brain in relation to dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. 1

MDMA is a Schedule 1 hallucinogenic drug that serves no recognized medical purpose and cannot be prescribed or used legally. 2 Still, researchers in the UK are exploring the possibility of treating alcoholism with psychedelics like MDMA. But how effective is this synthetic drug for treating alcoholism and reducing cravings?

The UK Study: Using MDMA to Treat Alcoholism

Studies in the UK used managed doses of MDMA in conjunction with trauma-focused therapy to help patients uncover and overcome early childhood traumas that may be influencing their alcoholism. 3 The study participants would participate in traditional trauma-focused therapy for several weeks, then take a “powerful dose of MDMA” under clinician supervision. While under the influence of this psychedelic drug, they would “lead the sessions” of trauma-focused therapy. The study found that patients undergoing this approach did not exhibit evidence of the comedown symptoms often associated with MDMA use. 3

While the study results suggest that using MDMA to treat alcoholism is not only effective but also safe, 3 it is important to take these findings with a grain of salt. As with any chemical used to treat addiction, extensive trials are needed to confirm the safety of this approach and the risks of MDMA outweigh any benefits it allegedly offers. This first study on treating alcoholism with MDMA focused on the potential risks of this treatment approach, further studies are needed to confirm if MDMA is more effective than other treatment approaches.

The Dangers of Treating Alcoholism with MDMA and Other Drugs

At our center for alcohol detox in Gilman, we know that some medications can help patients through detox symptoms and withdrawals. But it is dangerous to use psychoactive drugs as a part of treatment, as these drugs carry their own dangers and risks. MDMA use carries the risk of worsening depression, heart attack, sleep problems, memory issues, and other problems like anxiety. 1 It is not a safe approach to effective alcoholism detox or treatment.

At Banyan Heartland, we focus on safe and effective approaches to alcoholism treatment in Illinois. MDMA is not a safe or effective tool for treating alcoholism, but we do take other approaches that are proven effective in helping patients get and stay sober.

Call 888-280-4763 to learn about our treatment programs.


  1. NIH – MDMA
  2. DEA – Ecstasy Or MDMA
  3. The Guardian – MDMA treatment for alcoholism could reduce relapse, study suggests
Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.