Alcoholism could be successfully treated by giving patients MDMA, new research suggests.

The first study to analyse the use of the drug in tackling booze addiction has shown it is both safe and highly effective, it has been reported.

In test cases where alcoholics have been given MDMA alongside psychotherapy, there has been only one relapse and no physical or psychological side effects, scientists say.

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That compares to an overall figure where 80 per cent of patients undergoing traditional treatments are known to be drinking again within three years.

Dr Ben Sessa, the addiction psychiatrist leading the safety and tolerability at Imperial College London, said 11 people had so far completed the experimental treatment.

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A penny farthing cyclist rides past St. John’s, Smith Square, Westminster, London.

2/50 8 September 2019

Australia celebrate the wicket of England’s Craig Overton, which meant they won the fourth test and retained the Ashes.

3/50 7 September 2019

Manchester City celebrate after Caroline Weir scored during their Women’s Super League match against Manchester United at Etihad Stadium. The WSL attendance record was smashed with 31,213 people watching the first Manchester derby of Women’s Super League era – nearly six times the previous WSL record.

4/50 6 September 2019

A bull bumps into a plain clothes police officer (left) while being walked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Darnford Farm in Banchory near Aberdeen. It coincided with the publication of Lord Bew’s review and an announcement of extra funding for Scottish farmers

5/50 5 September 2019

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon cuts the hair of David Torrance MSP raising £1000 for the charity Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

6/50 4 September 2019

Australia’s David Warner looks dejected after being dismissed by England’s Stuart Broad during day one of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford in Manchester.

7/50 3 September 2019

Anti Brexit demonstrators attend a protest at Parliament Square. Lawmakers returned from their summer recess Tuesday for a pivotal day in British politics as they challenged Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s insistence that the UK leave the European Union on 31 October, even without a withdrawal agreement to cushion the economic blow.

8/50 2 September 2019

Set building begins on Waterloo Place in Edinburgh ahead of filming for Fast and Furious 9.

9/50 1 September 2019

Members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club take part during the annual cricket match between the clubs, which takes place on the Bramble Bank sandbank in the middle of the Solent at low tide.
Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate at Whitehall in London.

11/50 30 August 2019

One of the iconic ‘Girl with Balloon’ artworks by anonymous street artist Banksy is carried near one of the original locations the artwork appeared at on the Southbank in London.

12/50 29 August 2019

The sun rises over the sculpture “The Couple” by artist Sean Henry, at Newbiggin-by-the-sea in Northumberland.

13/50 28 August 2019

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14/50 27 August 2019

Nat Lofthouse statue is covered in flags at the University of Bolton Stadium, Bolton.

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16/50 25 August 2019

A competitor swims in the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Llanwryd Wells, Powys.

17/50 24 August 2019

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18/50 23 August 2019

Fans of Bury FC deliver a symbolic coffin to the club’s home at Gigg Lane as the continuation of their membership to the football league lies in doubt. The club will lose their membership at midnight if they don’t find a buyer or prove that they have the means to pay off their debts.

19/50 22 August 2019

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow DEFRA Secretary Sue Hayman during a visit to Rakefoot Farm, Castlerigg, Keswick where they are highlighting the danger of a No Deal Brexit to sheep farmers.

20/50 21 August 2019

Festival goers walk along the towpath of the River Thames as they arrive for the Reading Festival at Richfield Avenue.

21/50 20 August 2019

Police officers gather to pay their respects at the scene near Ufton Lane, where Thames Valley Police officer PC Andrew Harper, 28, died on Thursday. Jed Foster, 20, has appeared at Reading Magristrates’ Court where denied any involvement with the murder.

22/50 19 August 2019

A fire that broke out at the site of Village Bakery on Coed Aben Road, Wrexham Industrial Estate in Wales.

23/50 18 August 2019

England fielders crowd Pat Cummins as he see’s out the final over during day five of the second Ashes Test match against Australia at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The test ended in a draw.

24/50 17 August 2019

Glew (centre) and Monroe Adams (right) pose for a selfie with a member of the public outside DragWorld London 2019, Europe’s largest drag convention, featuring drag stars from the US and UK during a two-day event at Olympia, London.

25/50 16 August 2019

A grey seal with fishing net tangled around its neck amongst the colony on the beach at Horsey in Norfolk, as RSPCA data show the number of animals affected by plastic litter is at an all-time high, with incidents increasing by 22% in just four years.

26/50 15 August 2019

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27/50 14 August 2019

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during a press conference at the Mayflower Marina in Plymouth, southwest England, on August 14, 2019, ahead of her journey across the Atlantic to New York, aboard the Malizia II IMOCA class sailing yacht, where she will attend the UN Climate Action Summit next month. – A year after her school strike made her a figurehead for climate activists, Greta Thunberg believes her uncompromising message about global warming is getting through — even if action remains thin on the ground. The 16-year-old Swede, who sets sail for New York this week to take her message to the United States, has been a target for abuse but sees that as proof she is having an effect.

28/50 12 August 2019

A hare runs on a moor near Ripon, North Yorkshire.

29/50 11 August 2019

Britain’s Jamie Chadwick wins first-ever W Series title. She pocketed a prize of £410,000 and, having been signed as a development driver for Williams, she keeps up her hopes of making it into Formula One.

30/50 10 August 2019

People gather on the beach as a raft carrying people dressed as clowns heads to shore during the annual Whitby Regatta in Whitby, England. At over 170 years old, the Whitby Regatta is thought to be the oldest sea regatta on the northeast coast of England and draws thousands of visitors each year.

31/50 9 August 2019

Burryman Andrew Taylor, gets a nip of whisky using a straw, from resident Mary Hamblin, 82, as he parades through the town of South Queensferry, near Edinburgh, encased in burrs. The parade takes place on the second Friday of August each year and although the exact meaning of this tradition has been lost through the years it is thought to have begun in the 17th Century. The tradition is believed to bring good luck to the towns people if they give him whisky offered through a straw or a donation of money.

32/50 8 August 2019

A mosque is seen amongst residential housing from the air during a mass take off at the annual Bristol hot air balloon festival in Bristol.
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34/50 6 August 2019

Beer enthusiasts taste beer and ale during The Great British Beer Festival at Kensington Olympia in west London. The Great British Beer Festival, organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), brings hundreds of real ales, international beers and real ciders and perries under one roof.

35/50 5 August 2019

Australia’s Nathan Lyon celebrates after taking the wicket of England’s Joe Root during day five of the first Ashes test at Edgbaston. The hosts were on the end of a thumping, as Australia won the first test by 251 runs.

36/50 4 August 2019

Franky Zapata stands on his jet-powered “flyboard” prior to landing on St. Margaret’s Bay in Dover, during his attempt to fly across the 35-kilometre (22-mile) Channel crossing. The Frenchman achieved his aim today, on his second attempt, after having spent years developing the jet-powered hoverboard.

37/50 3 August 2019

A Cricket fan wears a Donald Trump inflatable, during day three of the first Ashes test cricket match between England and Australia at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

38/50 2 August 2019

An RAF Chinook helicopter flies in sandbags to help repair the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir which was damaged in heavy rainfall.

39/50 1 August 2019

Stuart Broad celebrates after taking the wicket of David Warner during day one of the first Ashes test between England and Australia at Edgbaston. England fans celebrated the loss of David Warner and Cameron Bancroft dismissals by waving sandpaper after they both faced bans for their roles in the Sandpaper scandal last year. Australia were all out for 284 after Steve Smith frustrated the hosts with a total of 144. He helped drag his side from 122-8.

40/50 31 July 2019

A collapsed bridge near Grinton, North Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.

41/50 30 July 2019

Acrobats Beren d’Amico, Louis Gift and Charlie Wheeller, from Barely Methodical Troupe perform a routine on Calton Hill in Edinburgh as they bring their debut show Bromance to the Edinburgh Fringe.

42/50 29 July 2019

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43/50 28 July 2019

Competitors during the World Stinging Nettle Eating Championship at The Bottle Inn in Marshwood. Competitors are served 2-foot long stalks of stinging nettles from which they pluck and eat as many leaves as possible.

44/50 27 July 2019

A woman in character as La Muerte from film The Book of Life, during the MCM Manchester Comic Con which see thousands of sci-fi fans, gamers, comic collectors, movie buffs and anime enthusiasts visit Manchester Central.

45/50 26 July 2019

England’s Jonny Bairstow takes the catch to dismiss Ireland’s William Porterfield during their test march at Lord’s. Ireland were bowled out for 38 in their second innings in just 15.4 overs – the second lowest total in Test match history.

46/50 25 July 2019

Hamza and Haris splash in the water feature beside the National Football Museum in central Manchester, as the UK braces itself to encounter the hottest July day on record.

47/50 24 July 2019

Boris Johnson waves as he enters 10 Downing Street following his appointment as Prime Minster by the Queen. The former London mayor and foreign secretary won his leadership bid by beating Jeremy Hunt in the Tory race the day before. Theresa May stepped down following her resignation as Conservative Party leader on 7 June.

48/50 23 July 2019

Swimmers have fun in the sea on a giant inflatable Flamingo, South Beach,Tenby, Pembrokeshire.

49/50 22 July 2019

New Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson addresses the audience onstage after she was named as Sir Vince Cable’s successor. Swinson beat fellow candidate Ed Davey by 47,997 votes to 28,021 votes.

50/50 21 July 2019

Adam Peaty broke his own world record in the men’s 100 metre breaststroke at the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. The 24-year-old smashed the previous record of 57.10 seconds he set at last year’s European Championships to win in 56.88. In doing so, the Britain achieved one of his career goals of becoming the first man to break the 57-second barrier in the event.
A penny farthing cyclist rides past St. John’s, Smith Square, Westminster, London.

2/50 8 September 2019

Australia celebrate the wicket of England’s Craig Overton, which meant they won the fourth test and retained the Ashes.

3/50 7 September 2019

Manchester City celebrate after Caroline Weir scored during their Women’s Super League match against Manchester United at Etihad Stadium. The WSL attendance record was smashed with 31,213 people watching the first Manchester derby of Women’s Super League era – nearly six times the previous WSL record.

4/50 6 September 2019

A bull bumps into a plain clothes police officer (left) while being walked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Darnford Farm in Banchory near Aberdeen. It coincided with the publication of Lord Bew’s review and an announcement of extra funding for Scottish farmers

5/50 5 September 2019

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon cuts the hair of David Torrance MSP raising £1000 for the charity Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

6/50 4 September 2019

Australia’s David Warner looks dejected after being dismissed by England’s Stuart Broad during day one of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford in Manchester.

7/50 3 September 2019

Anti Brexit demonstrators attend a protest at Parliament Square. Lawmakers returned from their summer recess Tuesday for a pivotal day in British politics as they challenged Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s insistence that the UK leave the European Union on 31 October, even without a withdrawal agreement to cushion the economic blow.

8/50 2 September 2019

Set building begins on Waterloo Place in Edinburgh ahead of filming for Fast and Furious 9.

9/50 1 September 2019

Members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club take part during the annual cricket match between the clubs, which takes place on the Bramble Bank sandbank in the middle of the Solent at low tide.
Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate at Whitehall in London.

11/50 30 August 2019

One of the iconic ‘Girl with Balloon’ artworks by anonymous street artist Banksy is carried near one of the original locations the artwork appeared at on the Southbank in London.

12/50 29 August 2019

The sun rises over the sculpture “The Couple” by artist Sean Henry, at Newbiggin-by-the-sea in Northumberland.

13/50 28 August 2019

A person wearing a Boris Johnson ‘head’ digs a grave at the foot of a tombstone during a protest organised by Avaaz and Best for Britain, outside Downing Street in London.

14/50 27 August 2019

Nat Lofthouse statue is covered in flags at the University of Bolton Stadium, Bolton.

15/50 26 August 2019

Performers take part in Notting Hill Carnival. Nearly one million people were expected to attend Sunday and Monday’s carnival to celebrate Caribbean culture.

16/50 25 August 2019

A competitor swims in the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Llanwryd Wells, Powys.

17/50 24 August 2019

People flock to Bournemouth beach as a heatwave spells potentially record high temperatures for the bank holiday weekend.

18/50 23 August 2019

Fans of Bury FC deliver a symbolic coffin to the club’s home at Gigg Lane as the continuation of their membership to the football league lies in doubt. The club will lose their membership at midnight if they don’t find a buyer or prove that they have the means to pay off their debts.

19/50 22 August 2019

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow DEFRA Secretary Sue Hayman during a visit to Rakefoot Farm, Castlerigg, Keswick where they are highlighting the danger of a No Deal Brexit to sheep farmers.

20/50 21 August 2019

Festival goers walk along the towpath of the River Thames as they arrive for the Reading Festival at Richfield Avenue.

21/50 20 August 2019

Police officers gather to pay their respects at the scene near Ufton Lane, where Thames Valley Police officer PC Andrew Harper, 28, died on Thursday. Jed Foster, 20, has appeared at Reading Magristrates’ Court where denied any involvement with the murder.

22/50 19 August 2019

A fire that broke out at the site of Village Bakery on Coed Aben Road, Wrexham Industrial Estate in Wales.

23/50 18 August 2019

England fielders crowd Pat Cummins as he see’s out the final over during day five of the second Ashes Test match against Australia at Lord’s Cricket Ground. The test ended in a draw.

24/50 17 August 2019

Glew (centre) and Monroe Adams (right) pose for a selfie with a member of the public outside DragWorld London 2019, Europe’s largest drag convention, featuring drag stars from the US and UK during a two-day event at Olympia, London.

25/50 16 August 2019

A grey seal with fishing net tangled around its neck amongst the colony on the beach at Horsey in Norfolk, as RSPCA data show the number of animals affected by plastic litter is at an all-time high, with incidents increasing by 22% in just four years.

26/50 15 August 2019

A flock of sheep are herded past government buildings in London by members of Farmers for a People’s Vote, a campaign group.

27/50 14 August 2019

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks during a press conference at the Mayflower Marina in Plymouth, southwest England, on August 14, 2019, ahead of her journey across the Atlantic to New York, aboard the Malizia II IMOCA class sailing yacht, where she will attend the UN Climate Action Summit next month. – A year after her school strike made her a figurehead for climate activists, Greta Thunberg believes her uncompromising message about global warming is getting through — even if action remains thin on the ground. The 16-year-old Swede, who sets sail for New York this week to take her message to the United States, has been a target for abuse but sees that as proof she is having an effect.

28/50 12 August 2019

A hare runs on a moor near Ripon, North Yorkshire.

29/50 11 August 2019

Britain’s Jamie Chadwick wins first-ever W Series title. She pocketed a prize of £410,000 and, having been signed as a development driver for Williams, she keeps up her hopes of making it into Formula One.

30/50 10 August 2019

People gather on the beach as a raft carrying people dressed as clowns heads to shore during the annual Whitby Regatta in Whitby, England. At over 170 years old, the Whitby Regatta is thought to be the oldest sea regatta on the northeast coast of England and draws thousands of visitors each year.

31/50 9 August 2019

Burryman Andrew Taylor, gets a nip of whisky using a straw, from resident Mary Hamblin, 82, as he parades through the town of South Queensferry, near Edinburgh, encased in burrs. The parade takes place on the second Friday of August each year and although the exact meaning of this tradition has been lost through the years it is thought to have begun in the 17th Century. The tradition is believed to bring good luck to the towns people if they give him whisky offered through a straw or a donation of money.

32/50 8 August 2019

A mosque is seen amongst residential housing from the air during a mass take off at the annual Bristol hot air balloon festival in Bristol.
An Asiatic lioness eats meat during feeding time ahead of World Lion Day at London Zoo.

34/50 6 August 2019

Beer enthusiasts taste beer and ale during The Great British Beer Festival at Kensington Olympia in west London. The Great British Beer Festival, organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), brings hundreds of real ales, international beers and real ciders and perries under one roof.

35/50 5 August 2019

Australia’s Nathan Lyon celebrates after taking the wicket of England’s Joe Root during day five of the first Ashes test at Edgbaston. The hosts were on the end of a thumping, as Australia won the first test by 251 runs.

36/50 4 August 2019

Franky Zapata stands on his jet-powered “flyboard” prior to landing on St. Margaret’s Bay in Dover, during his attempt to fly across the 35-kilometre (22-mile) Channel crossing. The Frenchman achieved his aim today, on his second attempt, after having spent years developing the jet-powered hoverboard.

37/50 3 August 2019

A Cricket fan wears a Donald Trump inflatable, during day three of the first Ashes test cricket match between England and Australia at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

38/50 2 August 2019

An RAF Chinook helicopter flies in sandbags to help repair the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir which was damaged in heavy rainfall.

39/50 1 August 2019

Stuart Broad celebrates after taking the wicket of David Warner during day one of the first Ashes test between England and Australia at Edgbaston. England fans celebrated the loss of David Warner and Cameron Bancroft dismissals by waving sandpaper after they both faced bans for their roles in the Sandpaper scandal last year. Australia were all out for 284 after Steve Smith frustrated the hosts with a total of 144. He helped drag his side from 122-8.

40/50 31 July 2019

A collapsed bridge near Grinton, North Yorkshire, after parts of the region had up to 82.2mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday.

41/50 30 July 2019

Acrobats Beren d’Amico, Louis Gift and Charlie Wheeller, from Barely Methodical Troupe perform a routine on Calton Hill in Edinburgh as they bring their debut show Bromance to the Edinburgh Fringe.

42/50 29 July 2019

Theresa the robotic waitress at The Tea Terrace’s Cobham branch in Surrey. Theresa represents the 6th Generation of robotic waitresses which were first launched in Japan a few years ago. The robot comes with autonomous navigation; automatic obstacle avoidance, voice conversation, and automatic dish delivery. It integrates core technologies in automatic control, multi-sensor perceptual collision avoidance and route planning.

43/50 28 July 2019

Competitors during the World Stinging Nettle Eating Championship at The Bottle Inn in Marshwood. Competitors are served 2-foot long stalks of stinging nettles from which they pluck and eat as many leaves as possible.

44/50 27 July 2019

A woman in character as La Muerte from film The Book of Life, during the MCM Manchester Comic Con which see thousands of sci-fi fans, gamers, comic collectors, movie buffs and anime enthusiasts visit Manchester Central.

45/50 26 July 2019

England’s Jonny Bairstow takes the catch to dismiss Ireland’s William Porterfield during their test march at Lord’s. Ireland were bowled out for 38 in their second innings in just 15.4 overs – the second lowest total in Test match history.

46/50 25 July 2019

Hamza and Haris splash in the water feature beside the National Football Museum in central Manchester, as the UK braces itself to encounter the hottest July day on record.

47/50 24 July 2019

Boris Johnson waves as he enters 10 Downing Street following his appointment as Prime Minster by the Queen. The former London mayor and foreign secretary won his leadership bid by beating Jeremy Hunt in the Tory race the day before. Theresa May stepped down following her resignation as Conservative Party leader on 7 June.

48/50 23 July 2019

Swimmers have fun in the sea on a giant inflatable Flamingo, South Beach,Tenby, Pembrokeshire.

49/50 22 July 2019

New Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson addresses the audience onstage after she was named as Sir Vince Cable’s successor. Swinson beat fellow candidate Ed Davey by 47,997 votes to 28,021 votes.

50/50 21 July 2019

Adam Peaty broke his own world record in the men’s 100 metre breaststroke at the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. The 24-year-old smashed the previous record of 57.10 seconds he set at last year’s European Championships to win in 56.88. In doing so, the Britain achieved one of his career goals of becoming the first man to break the 57-second barrier in the event.

“We have five people who are completely dry and we have four or five who have had one or two drinks but wouldn’t reach the diagnosis of alcohol use disorder,” he told The Guardian.

Just one has completely relapsed, he confirmed.

Because most addiction is based on underlying trauma, often from childhood, “MDMA selectively impairs the fear response,” Dr Sessa added. “It allows recall of painful memories without being overwhelmed.”

He said: “MDMA psychotherapy gives you the opportunity to tackle rigidly held personal narratives that are based on early trauma. It’s the perfect drug for trauma-focused psychotherapy.”

The treatment itself sees patients given an eight-week course of therapy with powerful doses of MDMA administered in week three and six.

Discussing possible dangers associated with the drug, including the well-reported death of some recreational users, Dr Sessa said: “Scientists know it’s not dangerous. The Sun newspaper thinks it’s dangerous because the tiny number of fatalities that occur every year all get on their front page.”

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He added: “If there was a craze of people going around abusing cancer chemotherapy drugs, you wouldn’t then think, ‘Oh well, it’s not safe to take cancer chemotherapy when doctors give it to you’.”

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Further research, which compares the study’s results with a random control group who receive a placebo instead of MDMA, will now need to be carried out.

This content was originally published here.

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