New Hope for PTSD Victims?


Australia recently became the first country in the world to approve psychedelic drugs as a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The decision will allow psilocybin, found in magic mushrooms, for treatment-resistant depression. It will also allow MDMA, known as ecstasy, in tablet form. Since these treatments are illegal in the rest of the world, the supportive sample size is small and little is known about how these drugs work.

First developed as an appetite suppressant in 1912, ecstasy was used in therapy sessions in the U.S. until the mid-1970s when it was outlawed. It entered Australia in the 1980s as a party drug due to its reported effects of increased energy, empathy, and pleasure, and was criminalized in 1987.

In the 2000s though, research slowly started up again, with recent trials finding that both MDMA and psilocybin, which has always been illegal, can quickly improve symptoms of severe depression.

“Put simply, psychedelic-assisted therapy is in its infancy,” remarked Professor Richard Harvey, who chairs the Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Steering Group. “There is more we need to know.”

Anatomy of PTSD

Psychedelic drugs may be the key to better PTSD treatment. But a strong word of caution. Victims should never self-medicate with these drugs, or with any other substance, like alcohol. Self-medication makes PTSD and other brain injuries much more difficult to successfully treat.

Powerful psychedelic drugs often change brain chemistry for the worst. But in this case, they could change it for the better.

Extreme stress, like the stress of a serious car wreck, alters brain chemistry. In fact, compensation for PTSD is one of the most common components of a car crash or other catastrophic injury settlement. More on that below.

A one-time stressful episode enlarges the amygdala. This part of the brain controls emotional responses. The bigger amygdala squeezes the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that controls logical responses. The resulting imbalance causes symptoms like:

  • Anger,
  • Depression,
  • Hypervigilance,
  • Flashbacks, and
  • Nightmares.

These symptoms make it difficult or impossible for victims to function on a daily basis. Therefore, a Columbia personal injury attorney can usually obtain substantial compensation for this injury in court.

Current PTSD treatments, which usually involve a combination of antidepressants and therapy, don’t work well in many cases.

Large doses of powerful drugs, like antidepressants, often have very bad side-effects. As mentioned, one MDMA dose might be enough to significantly alleviate PTSD symptoms.

Furthermore, individual and group PTSD therapy is usually trial and error. Not all people respond the same way to all forms of therapy. A single dose of MDMA eliminates the need for therapy, or at least significantly decreases the need for intensive therapy.

Compensation Available

Drugs, therapy, and other medical bills are very expensive in a catastrophic injury case. A Columbia personal injury lawyer can obtain compensation for these medical bills in court. Additionally, an attorney often negotiates with medical providers and reduces their bills.

Lost wages usually make up most of the rest of the economic damages in a catastrophic injury claim. As mentioned, PTSD symptoms are often debilitating. Therefore, unless doctors are able to manage their symptoms, these victims usually cannot work again. A lost wages settlement usually means these victims won’t have to rely on government or charitable handouts.

PTSD symptoms, and other injury symptoms, often cause significant pain and suffering as well. Victims deserve compensation for these losses. No one should have to suffer in silence. Other noneconomic losses include loss of consortium (companionship), emotional distress, and lost enjoyment in life.

Most injury claims settle out of court. An agreed settlement ensures that victims don’t have to endure the additional stress of an emotional courtroom showdown.

Connect with a Dedicated Richland County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.