MDMA – commonly referred to as “ecstasy” – could be given to autistic individuals to promote a positive mood, which could help them when among strangers and in social situations that they traditionally find to be more uncomfortable.
Due to the drug’s positive side-effects, which include a rise in euphoria, energy levels, emotional warmth and empathy when dealing with others, researchers intend to conduct a study that uses MDMA, to assess its suitability for treating social anxiety.
The proposal for assessing the therapeutic effects of the drug were published in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry.
Many autistic adults have to deal with social anxiety as part of their daily lives.
It is believed that the clinical research team behind the proposal intend to produce findings based on how ecstasy, if infrequently administered, will be proven to reduce nervousness among the trial group participants.
The focus on MDMA in clinical trials goes back many decades, and it is also the subject of a study that is currently investigating its benefits as a drug for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Despite the fact that there were 577 deaths linked to MDMA usage in England and Wales during 1996 and 2012, it is considered to be safe and non-addictive in small doses, when control measures are in place.
While MDMA is illegal in the US, and has been since the 1980s, it was regularly assessed for its therapeutic effects and was also noted to promote a positive state of mind before it was banned.