Ecstasy may soon be a treatment for social anxiety among autistic adults

Researchers are planning the first pilot study of MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of social anxiety in autistic adults.

In a recent review in press in the journal, Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, a team of researchers led by Alicia Danforth, laid out their proposed methods and study rationale for what will be the first assessment of the therapeutic effects of MDMA, the active component of the street drug Ecstasy, for social anxiety in autistic adults. This research is being conducted jointly by the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

Social anxiety is a common problem for autistic adults, especially those that function well enough to be pressured by social norms. Individuals with autism are also known to respond poorly to usual treatments.

“Conventional anti-anxiety medications, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), MAOIs, and benzodiazepines, lack substantial clinical effectiveness in autistic adults,” write the authors. These medications may not work well in this group because of the physiological differences associated with autism. Thus, the researchers are trying to find a new clinical approach to help affected individuals.

Research into the clinical uses of MDMA goes back decades, and it is currently also being investigated as an adjunct treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. MDMA is pharmacologically similar to amphetamine and the hallucinogen, mescaline, however it is considered to be safe and non-addictive in small doses and in controlled settings. MDMA has been illegal in the United States since the 1980s, but prior to this, MDMA was being tested for possible therapeutic effects and was sometimes given as an adjunct to psychotherapy. More recent studies have established safety guidelines that were not previously available for the clinical administration of MDMA.

MDMA is noted for its ability to promote positive mood, help people talk more openly, and increase levels of personal insight. In one survey of users, 72% reported that the drugs made them “more comfortable in social settings,” and 12% further noted that this effect persisted for more than two years. It is hoped that this drug can be administered infrequently in clinical settings to reduce social anxiety directly and to promote the formation of a more productive relationship between an individual and his or her therapist.

The proposed study is FDA-compliant, IRB-approved, and will employ a placebo-controlled, double-blind methodology.


  1. That’s all we need. Autistic people getting off on tranz/dance music, hugging everyone, and sucking on soothers.

    • Well, I’m an autistic adult that sometimes take a half when going to these parties and yes, it makes me have fun and dance instead of being anxious around other people and makes me feel included, one of the only times in life I can feel that way.

      How is that a problem? It’s less of problem than people drinking too much to compensate.

  2. I used to take this a few times during the early 00’s and hit the rave scene in Dallas. Girls used to come up to me all the time and give me lots of hugs. I used to be known as “Chocolate Love”. It helped me get over my social anxiety over time. I started leaving the house more and socializing in public.

  3. MDMA was one of the two ‘street’ / currently illegal drugs (the other, small doses of LSD) that gave me relief from my PTSD, without the stress of taking a pill every day. I’m not on the autistic spectrum (that I know of), but I can definitely vouch for the drugs “opening metaphorical doors” in places that I’ve left untapped; for example, approaching empathy and acceptance of one’s emotions. I am happy to hear it’s making progress in the psych world.

  4. TeTepretty Brownbrown on

    i took it and liked it. Made me get into people I wouldnt normally have met at all. I lost 30 pounds and spent all my money partying. The gooo effects don’t outway the bad in my opinion.

      • TeTepretty Brownbrown on

        Apparently there are a lot of us otherwise we wouldn’t know the benefits or downfalls of it. If that’s all you can say. Your comment is worthless.

        • I masturbate #Deactivated on

          You’re a black woman. You can’t be calling anything worthless. Nothing. You’re at the bottom of every barrel. You’re ugly, look like baboons, your vagina has a nasty ass odor and you have no real hair. Kill yourself, druggie.

          • TeTepretty Brownbrown on

            I masturbate that’s respectable…hahahahahah your hilarious dummy. I can’t be called anything worthless. I know but you can…you have a black woman’s photo up. You sound dumber than you look.

          • TeTepretty Brownbrown on

            Your worthless that y you masturbate and get them teeth fixed; looking like a shim chewing on rocks

          • I masturbate #Deactivated on

            Lol. It’s not me. Hold this L. Nah, but I’m just playing. I didn’t mean that ish. I apologize. I love black women. Again, I’m sorry..

          • TeTepretty Brownbrown on

            The comments were funny though, no worries…. that’s good you like chocolate. I know people look down on black women though…so many people call me ugly it doesn’t phase me but I love to clap back on them. We all have flaws no matter how beautiful we are.

          • I masturbate #Deactivated on

            Woman, you are far from ugly. I’d wife u up and spoil you in a quick sec. lol and i agree