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There’s the use of illicit drugs, and then there’s the case of a patient known only as “Mr. A,” who doctors say took more than 40,000 ecstasy tablets over the course of nine years.
This cautionary tale has become something of an underground legend for culture lovers ever since its story broke in the psychosomatics magazine in 2006. Now, in a new interview with the iconic British style magazine FaceDr. Christos Kouimtsidis, a psychiatrist who co-authored the case study, explains why Mr. A’s epic story of drug use remains so compelling after all these years.
The details of Mr. A’s case study are the stuff of pure party mythology: Between the ages of 21 and 30, the subject took what can only be described as a cubic ton of MDMA, plus whatever garbage might have been packaged. in the pills. Initially, he started taking five pills every weekend (already a profoundly excessive amount) for a few years, then increased the dose to 3.5 pills per day for another three years, and thereafter took an average of 25 fucking tablets a day by four years in a row.
As the team from St. George’s Medical School in London who conducted the Mr. A case study noted in their article, the man was 37 years old at the time they began working with him, but had stopped taking most drugs except cannabis seven years earlier.
Regardless, he continued to experience a number of alarming physical and mental effects even after quitting, ranging from “‘tunnel vision’ episodes” to the development of “severe panic attacks, recurring anxiety, depression, [and] muscle rigidity” that gave way to hallucinations and paranoia, the 2006 study noted. Mr. A also experienced short-term memory problems, temporal disorientation and poor concentration.
These prolonged symptoms, and the fact that the subject was so severely dependent on the drug, despite its reputation for non-habit forming, were as fascinating to Kouimtsidis as they were debilitating to Mr. A.
“That was an exceptional case of high usage over an extended period of time,” the doctor said. Face in his recent interview. “Typical use is not every day and not the number of tablets I was taking. It was extreme, his use was very, very high. And then he went into withdrawal. He couldn’t move for several weeks and had tunnel vision.”
Although Mr. A was taking many other drugs during his nine years of MDMA use, including heroin, cocaine, LSD and amphetamines, Kouimtsidis said the St. George team was able to identify some of his later memory problems in particular with the ecstasy. .
“You can’t say 100 percent,” he told the magazine, “but we can safely attribute the memory difficulties he experienced when I saw him to heavy use of ecstasy over an extended period of time.”
Mr. A seemed, unsurprisingly, to be “very much into the club scene,” Kouimtsidis said. Facebut as his use of E increased, he began to use it in a different way than most of his peers.
“It was more like mood management rather than excitement and fun” and seemed to be “using ecstasy like it was an antidepressant,” the brutal flip side of partygoers with effects telling the magazine. Pleasure enhancers (and, more recently, some therapy seekers) have used it to achieve for decades.
It is worth noting, as Kouimtsidis did in his interview with Facethat “we have to be very careful how we use those edge cases,” such as that of Mr. A, who at his highest rate of use took more MDMA in a day than many enthusiasts would take in a lifetime.
In fact, viewing this case as a fascinating anomaly is perhaps even more important now than when the study was published in 2006 given that the therapeutic uses of MDMA, which was, some drug nerds may remember, the purpose for which Merck originally synthesized the drug 110 years ago, they are gaining some mainstream (and legal) acceptance alongside similar therapies involving psychedelics and ketamine.
The moral of Mr. A’s story is, of course, that you shouldn’t take that much molly, but if you do, make sure you sign up for psychiatric studies afterwards.
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