Dr. Traynor

Exploring MDMA as potential treatment for BPD.

Dr. Traynor’s blog:

A review article discussing the potential for research on 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy for borderline personality disorder (BPD) was published in the American Psychiatric Association’s journal FOCUS in October, 2022. The first author of the article was BBRF Young Investigator, Dr. Jenna Traynor, Ph.D., of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Based on growing evidence that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy may be helpful for treating disorders that commonly co-occur with BPD (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder), Dr. Traynor and colleagues advocate for initial research to investigate its effectiveness as a treatment for BPD. They posit that MDMA may be combined with psychotherapy for BPD to target difficulties such as relationship functioning, identity disturbance, emotion dysregulation, and suicidal thinking. They hypothesize that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy may work by helping patients with BPD to lower their avoidance of difficult emotions and increase feelings of trust and rapport with the therapist. The authors provide a number of considerations for how researchers may begin to design clinical trials to examine whether MDMA may be used together with psychotherapy to treat BPD. They emphasize that people with BPD have historically been excluded from clinical trials involving MDMA and other psychedelics, but comment that “exploring the use of MDMA in individuals with BPD appears fully warranted.”

The article can be found here.