Understanding Ecstasy Addiction
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as ecstasy or MDMA, is a powerful psychoactive drug of the phenethylamine and amphetamine classes. The stimulant and hallucinogenic effects are highly sought after for social events like parties, concerts, and music festivals.
While ecstasy or MDMA is most often used recreationally, the drug was briefly explored as a therapeutic drug. Some psychotherapists experimented with it as it had the potential to increase empathy and understanding in their patients.1 These studies were interrupted by the criminalization of MDMA in 1985 when it was classified as a Schedule 1 drug.2
Today, one of the major dangers associated with ecstasy or MDMA use is due to how the drug is sold. Generally, Ecstasy or MDMA is sold to users in the form of a pressed pill. The drug may be mixed or “cut” with several other substances that you would be unable to identify without prior experience or proper testing.
Why is Ecstasy Addictive?
Ecstasy works by influencing how major chemicals in our brain interact with each other. Specifically, when someone takes MDMA, it causes serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine to be released. This results in an increase in neurotransmitter activity in the brain and results in the euphoric feeling people use the drug for.1
The immediate effects of ecstasy or MDMA take place roughly 45 minutes to an hour after taking a dose. While the size of the does may impact the total time period the user feels its effects, this will generally last 4-5 hours. To most users, this is could be interpreted as less risky in comparison to other hallucinogens like psilocybin mushrooms or LSD (Acid) which can last for significantly longer periods of time.
Unfortunately, though ecstasy is often seen as safe or less risky to young adults, the drug is addictive, dangerous, and in some cases even lethal.3,4
Side Effects & Symptoms of Ecstasy Addiction
Along with the desired effects of ecstasy and MDMA, almost immediately after using the drug, you are likely to experience the following side effects:1,2
- Increased heart rate & blood pressure
- Increase body temperature
- Grinding teeth and locked jaw
- Decreased libido or sexual impotence in males
After your body has metabolized the drug, you are then likely to experience the often negative “come down” effects of ecstasy. These include:1,2
These side effects are a result of how ecstasy impacts your brain. By artificially releasing the chemicals in your brain that promote euphoria and happiness, you then experience a shortage in those chemicals. Specifically, lower levels of serotonin will often leave you sad or even depressed as a result. In short, ecstasy has both significant physical effects and can have a negative impact on your mental well-being.
The nature of recreational ecstasy abuse sometimes makes it difficult to diagnose addiction. Ecstasy users often deliberately take it in conjunction with other substances such as cocaine or alcohol that may present their own symptoms and mask the underlying dependency on ecstasy.
The definitive sign that someone is addicted to ecstasy is the persistent and escalating the use of the drug in the face of mounting social and economic consequences. Continuing to seek out and use ecstasy when it has already caused job loss, led to jail time, or damaged relationships with loved ones is a major indicator of clinical ecstasy addiction.
Are You Struggling with Ecstasy Addiction?
If you are concerned that you may have an ecstasy addiction, reading this article is a good way to learn about what it is and what the dangers are. If you recognize one or more of the symptoms listed above, you may want to consider seeking help. If you are looking for help but don’t know how to go about it, ecstasy addiction treatment is available. Treatment can help free you or a loved one from an addiction to ecstasy.
How American Addiction Centers Can Help
As the leading provider of addiction treatment in the U.S., American Addiction Centers offers high-quality care using effective treatments and unique amenities to make you comfortable while in treatment.5
Our treatment model focuses on identifying any existing mental illnesses or mental health issues that may stimulate the need to cope with issues by using ecstasy.
The next step in our treatment provides an initial support system for those attending treatment and teaches them healthier ways to cope with their addiction.
We offer a full continuum of care that encompasses the primary types of treatment all the way from detox for those initially struggling to aftercare options like sober-living, counseling sessions, and support groups for those maintaining their recovery.6
To find out more, or to get started, American Addiction Centers operates a confidential addiction hotline available 24/7 to help people find their path to recovery.