What is Ecstasy?

Ecstasy Defined

Ecstasy is the street name for MDMA, a substance that is comprised of 3,4 methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. It is a synthetic drug, classified as a stimulant and is illegal with potentially hallucinogenic properties. Ecstasy refers to the designer version of MDMA and is in pill or tablet form. Another name for MDMA is “molly” and both ecstasy and molly are made from MDMA. Molly is used to describe the version that is a white, crystalline powder substance.

What is Ecstasy?

There is no way to know for sure what is in the ingredients in Molly or Ecstasy. Both molly and ecstasy may be formed with other ingredients, including:

  • Cocaine
  • Rat poison
  • LSD
  • Caffeine
  • Heroin
  • Amphetamine

Finding MDMA in its pure form is a challenge as it is usually laced with something else. Most of the time, the drug is smuggled in from Canada to the U.S. and is classified as a Schedule 1 Substance, which means it has a high potential for misuse and addiction.

Signs of Ecstasy Use

When taking Ecstasy, the drug acts on three different neurotransmitters that come from the central nervous system, including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine that effect areas such as mood, sexual triggers, pleasure, wakefulness and sleepiness.

Typical mental and physical side effects could include::

  • A sense of extreme wellbeing (euphoria)
  • Improved physical and emotional energy
  • A feeling of excitement, calm or peace
  • Relaxation
  • Feelings of wellbeing
  • Increased sociability and closeness
  • Heightened sensitivity

Although there are common side effects that produce good feelings, there are also negative side effects that come along with it. These include:

  • Sweating
  • Muscle tension
  • Ataxia, or the loss of full control of bodily movements
  • Dry mouth
  • Mild intoxication
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Empathy
  • Changes in perception

How to Make Ecstasy

Some research has shown that it can be somewhat easy to make ecstasy on your own. If you have knowledge of chemistry, in theory you should be able to make the pills yourself. Although, it may be easy to make, there are very tight restrictions in the U.S. that prohibit people from buying particular ingredients that are used to make ecstasy. The ingredients include chemicals like isosafrole and MDP2P.

People who import ecstasy can get it in a powdered form that they can use to press into pills, or it is possible to buy pills in bulk and sell or distribute them that way.

Difference Between Ecstasy, Molly and MDMA

Traditionally, molly would refer to a purer form of MDMA, but currently, because pure forms are so hard to find, molly and ecstasy are often interchanged as street names for MDMA. Typically, when people purchase the drug, they know they are getting additional unknown ingredients in it.

From drugrehab.com, “Studies have found that ecstasy tablets contain multiple substances in addition to MDMA. Some of these substances included caffeine, ketamine, methamphetamine, PCP, cocaine and heroin.”

Rarely, is ecstasy used alone in its own form. Often, people will take ecstasy along with consuming alcohol, smoking marijuana or using other substances in combination with it. Taking molly along with other things can enhance the sensation of the drug and potentially be more dangerous.

Addiction to Ecstasy

How a person reacts to ecstasy, molly or MDMA depends on the dosage that they take. When taken, it can create effects such as hallucinations, paranoia, dilated pupils or impulsivity.

“The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) currently classifies all forms of MDMA as Schedule I controlled substances, indicating that these substances are not legally available except with special permissions from the government, and the drug is considered to be a drug with an extremely high potential for abuse and the development of physical dependence.”

Because of the flood of serotonin that ecstasy creates in the brain, there are many pleasurable results which makes the drug more desirable and people often become addicted. When someone stops using ecstasy, they may find it difficult to achieve the same level of happiness because the brain has depleted its serotonin supply.

Symptoms of Ecstasy Addiction

  • Depression
  • Increased desire for the drug
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Worry
  • Poor memory

Risk Factors

Up until recently ecstasy was most prominent among Caucasian adolescents and young adults who frequented night clubs. Now, it is becoming increasingly more popular among African American adults and other non-Caucasian groups. It remains popular among young, college-aged people who like to go to nightclubs on a consistent basis.

“The use of “club drugs,” a group of drugs that includes ecstasy, among adults age 18-29 who regularly attend nightclubs is alarmingly high. In one study, the sample group reported a 70 percent rate of lifetime use, with 22 percent reporting taking club drugs recently. In comparison, only 9.4 percent of the population are current users of any illicit substance.”

The age that people typically begin using is 20 years old, however there is a significant risk of addiction for underage adolescents. Generally, people who take ecstasy have a higher likelihood of taking other substances.

Treatment for Ecstasy Addiction

The right treatment plan depends on the individual, what drugs they are using, for how long and their mental health history. There is treatment for ecstasy addiction available near you. The first step is usually detoxification from the drug and following that is either an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility.

Detoxification from Ecstasy

This process of discontinuing drug use which often results in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms is detoxification. Unlike other drugs, ecstasy usually causes more psychological symptoms upon withdrawal than physical symptoms.

Withdrawal Symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue

The safest way to detox from a drug is in a controlled, monitored environment with a medical professional.

Inpatient Rehab Program

Some ecstasy addiction problems will warrant a residential or inpatient treatment center, and often they are very successful. While the person is in treatment, they are able to focus completely on their recovery and are supported by staff 24-7 to help them with their care.

“Inpatient rehab programs for ecstasy range from 30 days to six months or longer.”

How long someone is in treatment will depend on the severity of use and any other underlying health issues or concerns.

Ongoing Recovery from Ecstasy

It’s essential to continue your recovery after treatment with support groups that include individual and group counseling. They can provide long-term and lasting help that allow someone to be successful in their recovery.


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