What is MDMA (Ecstasy)
3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) or Ecstasy is a drug that is synthetic in its form and psychoactive, meaning it alters the mood and perception of people who take it. It is similar to stimulants and hallucinogens, producing feelings of increased awareness, energy, emotional warmth, pleasure, and distorted time or perception.
“It is an illegal drug that acts as both a stimulant and psychedelic, creating an energizing effect, as well as distortions in time and perception and enhanced enjoyment from tactile experiences.”
It was initially popular in the “nightclub” scene and was frequently used by people who participated in all-night parties or “raves”, but the drug is now used more often, commonly being called ‘molly’ or ‘ecstasy.”
How is Ecstasy taken?
Ecstasy is primarily taken as a tablet or capsule, but it can also be snorted in a powder, or swallowed in a liquid form.
“The popular nickname Molly (slang for “molecular”) often refers to the supposedly “pure” crystalline powder form of MDMA, usually sold in capsules. However, people who purchase powder or capsules sold as Molly often actually get other drugs such as synthetic cathinones (“bath salts”) instead”
Often, people who take ecstasy will take it in combination with other drugs or alcohol which can be extremely dangerous. They also may develop other mental health disorders due to their drug use.
Symptoms of Ecstasy Use
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Excessive thirst
- Heightened emotions
- A sense of euphoria
- Heightened sensory perception
- Having intense feelings for someone, even if there is no personal history
- Engaging in risky behavior, specifically in sexual situations
- Excessive sweating
- Dry mouth
- Tension in the muscles
- Mild confusion
- Teeth clenching
- Increased positive sensations
- Increased capacity for empathy
- Dilated pupils
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Unnatural, long-lasting energy
- Inability to feel, or reduced sense of, pain
- Staying awake for days at a time
- Desire to touch or be touched
What does Ecstasy Do to the Brain?
Ecstasy causes many changes in the brain when someone uses it and it can cause many harmful health effects. The way it effects a person is broken down by 3 brain chemicals.
Types of chemicals in the brain:
Dopamine – acts as a reward system to reinforce behaviors. Causes increased energy and activity levels.
Serotonin – affects functions such as mood, sleep, and appetite. It can trigger certain types of hormones that cause increased arousal and trust. Because of the increase in serotonin, people who take ecstasy will likely experience elevated moods, emotional closeness and empathy.
Norepinephrine – can increase blood pressure and heart rate by people who use. It can be dangerous for those that may suffer from heart or blood vessel problems.
Other health effects include:
- muscle cramping
- involuntary teeth clenching
- blurred vision
How long does Ecstasy last?
Typically, Ecstasy stays in your system anywhere from one to ninety days. There are many factors that play a role in this including frequency of use, type of test and the person’s physical characteristics. A basic guideline to go by is as follows:
- Blood: Up to 2 days
- Urine: Up to 4 days
- Hair: Up to 90 days
- Saliva: Up to 2 days
Addiction to Ecstasy
When you use Ecstasy, it causes many neurotransmitters to enter the brain, which results in the overwhelming feelings of euphoria and uplifting effects. When you stop using the drug, it can be difficult to achieve those same effects naturally, which can create a habit or addiction to the drug.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor memory
Overdose Signs to Watch For
- Feeling faint
- High blood pressure
- Panic attacks
- Loss of consciousness
Treatment for Ecstasy Addiction
Ecstasy is a relatively newer drug and there is not a lot of information out there to determine the best treatment options available to treat it.
“due to the fact that withdrawal symptoms are mostly caused by a deficiency in neurotransmitters like serotonin, drugs that work to increase the amount of these chemicals in the brain can help quite a bit with the detox process.”
Because Ecstasy is similar to other addictive substances, it can be treated with the same methods as other drugs. Some serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) have been known to help treat addiction by increasing the amount of chemicals in the brain, specifically serotonin. Inpatient and outpatient treatment centers are the best option for treating a substance use disorder. Treatment centers offer individual and group counseling, addiction support groups and other therapy methods that are helpful in treating addiction.
Often, people who use Ecstasy will use it in combination with other drugs, which could mean that the person is addicted to multiple substances. Because of this, it’s important to find the right treatment option to treat everything and find the root of the problem.
“We try to share our experience, strength and hope in a way that demonstrates that recovery is available in Narcotics Anonymous. ~It Woks How & Why/Tradition One, pg. 132”
Narcotics Anonymous or known as “NA” refers to a fellowship that meets on a regular basis to help each other stay clean from drugs. It is a program that remains completely abstinent from all drugs. The 12-step program is a positive program that has tools to make recovery possible.
In NA we want every person who comes to our program to get healthy and sober from drugs. Our goal is to support those that come to our program and allow them to get the help that they need in order to live a drug-free life.
“Love is a principle that is expressed in the practice of goodwill toward one another. We contribute to the unity in our meetings by exercise loving care in the way we speak and the way we treat one another. ~It Woks How & Why/Tradition One, pg. 132”
If you or someone you know is suffering from a drug addiction problem, it’s important to get help right away. There are treatment options available near you that can help with the symptoms associated with a drug addiction problem.