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Further studies done with recognition of emotions in facial expressions in photographs suggested to these authors that MDMA reduced the perception of fear in the images, leading to more “pro-social behavior.” Summaries and detailed descriptions of these and other studies may be found by consulting the MAPS website (org), which maintains a comprehensive database of all published research on MDMA and other psychoactive drugs of potential value and interest.
These findings of reduced fear-perception are consistent with anecdotal reports (including many of those in this book) that MDMA significantly attenuates interpersonal fear and anxiety.
One is called “I Can Now Move through the Trauma.”She wrote:“There seemed to be some quality of the Adam that broke down the repressive/defensive network and took me back into the experience of the attack that was too much for my psyche to bear.
Over a period of eight to twelve months I was able to re-experience fragments of the attack, thereby recreating and de-sensitizing me to the experience.”“... and all the little details that I had wanted to ignore were eating at me like a cancer…The suffering became more intense, but I still wanted to talk about it and I felt that I could deal with the pain, that this was a start to try to defeat this cancer.”The potential value of using MDMA in the treatment of PTSD can hardly be overestimated, considering that there are some 350,000 veterans from US wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, who are suffering from this and who only receive palliative support, if any, from the usual prescriptions of SSRIs offered by the over-burdened Veterans health care system. MDMA, Intimacy and Sexuality Torsten Passie, MD, a research psychiatrist at the University of Hanover medical school in Germany, has done studies on the neurohormones released in the MDMA state and how this relates to the subjective effects.
With these actions, MDMA is essentially a combination of the effects of fluoxetine, a serotonin reuptake inhibitor and anti-depressant; a serotonin releaser and amphetamine, a dopamine releaser (op. Responses to happy emotional expressions were enhanced with MDMA.
But in the case of this young woman, since she was so relentlessly committed to fight for her life, and in denial about death, the turning point came when she could accept the possibility that the MDMA would ease her existing pain and anxiety, without thinking about death, the after-life or similar concerns.
She was able to have a relatively peaceful and painless dying, in the company of her loved ones.
Torsten Passie, like most of the European researchers uses the word entactogen to describe the class of drugs like MDMA, whose primary neuropsychological action is a marked decrease of interpersonal and intrapsychic fear —thereby facilitating a seemingly effortless re-integration of previously defended and traumatic memories and perception.
This is in marked contrast to the primary effect of the classical psychedelics (LSD, mescaline, psilocybin) which involve visual and affective amplification of all psychic contents and processes, including fear—thereby making difficult or “hellish” trips much more likely than with MDMA (where they are virtually absent).