It is popular on the party scene: nightclubs, raves, and parties. Pop stars sing about it. What is it? An illegal drug called ecstasy. Its place in popular culture hides just how dangerous the drug really is.
Ecstasy is also known as E, X, pills, molly, or doves. It is also known as MDMA, an abbreviation of its official name, 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. One form of ecstasy is known as Molly, which itself is a shortened form of the term molecular. This type of ecstasy usually consists of capsules filled with powder, but also comes in the form of tablets. Ecstasy is typically ingested and can also be snorted or smoked.
The drug is synthetic since it does not exist in nature. When people manufacture ecstasy, they sometimes add other illegal drugs and substances, making ecstasy even more dangerous. These added substances can include caffeine, bath salts, methamphetamine (meth), cocaine, or heroin. Another dangerous aspect of the drug is that it shares some similarities with other drugs, such as Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) and para-Methoxyamphetamine (PMA), and dealers sometimes sell these drugs as ecstasy. This is dangerous because PMA is more toxic than ecstasy, so you can easily overdose or die if you mistakenly take a PMA dose in the same amount as your typical ecstasy dose.
Ecstasy has gone from nightclubs to the general population. In 1996, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) captured 13,342 ecstasy tablets. Just four years later, in 2000, the DEA captured 949,257 ecstasy tablets.
If you take ecstasy, the effects of the drug generally last three to six hours. Users often take multiple ecstasy tablets at once in a practice called stacking. Others users take more ecstasy after the effects of the first dose diminish. Some users also use ecstasy in a combination of other drugs, such as cocaine and meth. The practice of taking ecstasy and LSD together is known as candy flipping.
Ecstasy is a psychoactive drug, which means that it affects your brain chemistry. Users haven given ecstasy has its name because it gives feelings of intense euphoria. It also has stimulant properties that can make you feel elated, increased emotions of affection toward others, and increased energy levels. The drug can also produce hallucinations and affect your perception. Users say they take ecstasy because they say it enhances their emotions and senses.
You might take ecstasy to experience these feelings and perceptions. Over time, you could build up your tolerance to the drug, which means your body becomes so accustomed to the drug that you have to take more to achieve the same effects as when you first started. You can also become dependent on the drug, becoming so accustomed to its effects that you feel the negative effects of withdrawal.
If you or a loved one has been taking ecstasy and has been experiencing depression, anxiety, or confusion, you or your loved one might be suffering from addiction. Addiction can be physiological or psychological: you do not need to be physically dependent to be addicted. Many ecstasy addicts are psychologically addicted to the way the drug makes them feel. This can cause the drug to take a central focus in a person’s life.
Some of the signs include:
- Heightened sensory perception
- Heightened emotions
- Increased positive sensations
- Dilated pupils
- A sense of euphoria
- Staying awake for days at a time
- Excessive sweating
- Unnatural, long-lasting energy
- Changes in sleeping habits
This addiction is harmful to the body and brain but ecstasy is also an illegal drug, so possessing it can get you into legal trouble as well.
Ecstasy works almost identically to cocaine. Once in the bloodstreams, the MDMA travels to the brain and interferes with neurotransmitters. However, ecstasy affects three primary neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Ecstasy also has some bad side effects:
- Loss of Appetite
- Decreased libido
- Irregular sleep patterns
Extended use of MDMA can have even worse side effects including:
- Muscle Cramping
- Kidney failure
- Blurred vision
- Heart Failure
It is important to understand the signs of a Ecstasy overdose because immediate treatment can be life saving. If you notice any of these symptoms you may be encountering an MDMA overdose:
- Panic attack
- Urinary retention
- Chest pain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Muscle Cramps
- Loss of consciousness
If you are at a party where ecstasy is present and you notice anyone suffering from an Ecstasy overdose, call medical help right away. You could be saving that person’s life.
When the effects of ecstasy subside, serotonin is no longer affecting your mood or altering your hormone levels. Once the good feelings of the initial high wear off, your body struggles to function because it lacks the serotonin it once had. This creates the anxiety, depression, and confusion of ecstasy withdrawal. Basically, ecstasy highjacks the chemical reward system in your brain.
Detox (or detoxification) is a medical process that removes ecstasy from your body. If you are suffering from ecstasy addiction, you can enter a drug detox program before entering a rehab facility, or go through detox at the same facility where you attend rehab.
This process can be physically painful and emotionally frightening, so it is important to find a good rehab facility. This facility can provide the medical and emotional help you need to remove the physical effects of ecstasy from your body.
There is a wide range of treatment options available for your Ecstasy abuse, some you’ve probably never thought of. The treatment and therapies available for you can be a bit overwhelming, which is why we recommend talking to a professional before you decide on your treatment options.
If you are going to go away for rehab then you might be nervous, excited, afraid or even angry. You should know that you are making the right choice! There are many people who never go to rehab or get clean from their prescription drug addictions. You can be one of the people who lived through addiction and lived to tell it.
Rehab Treatment Process:
Step 1: Intake – When you arrive at your facility you will be assessed by the medical professionals to determine your treatment through detox, as well as your rehabilitation program.
Step 2: Detox – After your assessment or intake you will be taken to your room where you can rest and be monitored while you go through the withdrawal of your drug use. Detox can range from 1 day to a week, depending on the drug of choice and the user.
Step 3: Rehab – After you finish detox you will be ready to begin your addiction treatment, which can range from a variety of different options. This is when you will be able to meet others, attend lectures, participate in group or individual counseling, and learn the tools you need to stay clean.
Step 4: Aftercare – When your time at the facility is over, you will have to go back to your life. This can be a challenge for a lot of people, but part of your treatment includes aftercare. This is usually outpatient counseling in a group or individualized setting, where you are slowly introduced back to your life and responsibilities.
Coming to Terms with Your Ecstasy Addiction
If you are suffering from negative effects from ecstasy, and it has taken hold of your life, then you may be in need of help. Stopping your drug use is possible, but it’s often not something you can handle on your own. Luckily, there are several types of treatment programs and rehab centers that can help you. It is also important to enlist the support of friends and family members to help you overcome your addiction.
Helping a Friend or Family Member Address Their Ecstasy Addiction
It can be difficult to see a family member or friend suffer from an addiction to ecstasy. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make a frightening time less scary.
- Staging an intervention is an effective way to carefully address a loved one’s addiction. Gather friends and family.
- Being honest and specific about your family members’ ecstasy addictions is also important. It is important to give specific instances of how ecstasy use has been harmful.
- It is also helpful to address family members’ addictions at a moment in time when they aren’t using. This way, the addicted people are able to participate more fully in the conversation.
- Finally, it is important to remember that recovery is not a one-time-only process. Supporting family members before, during, and after their treatments will increase the odds that they will lead ecstasy-free lives.
The Bottom Line: You Can Beat Ecstasy Addiction
Given these numbers of ecstasy users, you or someone you know might be addicted to ecstasy and want to seek treatment. Treatment can come in the form of therapy, treatment programs, and inpatient and outpatient rehab centers, or a combination of these. We can help you understand your insurance and see how much your of rehab your benefits will cover. We want to help you make the rehab process as less stressful as possible.