Ecstasy, formally termed MDMA, (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a synthetic chemical that is similar to stimulants and hallucinogens.
Ecstasy became one of the most popular drug in dance music culture, in part because of its ability to alter mood and perception. In most cases, it is taken for producing sensory pleasure. It first gained popularity at raves, concerts, and parties but the profile of modern ecstasy users has broadened since then.
While use among teenagers has dropped in recent years, ecstasy use remains prominent among young adults. 2014 saw the highest recorded numbers with an estimated 0.8% of the young adult population using the drug.
This is not an alarming figure when compared to other substances but given that there is a chance of dependency, it does warrant some concern. Complicating issues further, there is an estimated 50 drug-related deaths each year related to ecstasy.
Is Ecstasy Addictive?
Well, many people believe so. Studies that have been done to assess the addictiveness of ecstasy have recognized the potential for dependency though to a lesser extent when compared to cocaine and other drugs.
Other studies have shown widely varying results, possibly because of the different types of methods used and the population samples. What is certain is that even if users do not become addicted, majority will develop tolerance and experience withdrawal after effects, much like other drugs.
Effects of Ecstasy addiction include:
- Enhanced energy
- Distorted sensory and time perception
- Teeth grinding
- Muscle cramps
- Difficulty seeing
- Loss of appetite
- High body temperature that may lead to kidney and liver failure, rhabdomyolysis and death.
The effects of an ecstasy tablet do not last long, generally around six hours. Most users will take a second tablet before the effects start to fade. Repeated usage in this manner can lead to dependency, giving rise to an array of withdrawal symptoms if users should quit. Most of the psychological withdrawal symptoms that users experience are associated with serotonin depletion. Along with dopamine and norepinephrine, ecstasy triggers and excessive release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can elevate moods. Over time, the serotonin levels in the brain can drop drastically because of this excess release. This limited amount of serotonin can cause ecstasy users to experience severe depression, a common withdrawal symptom.
Additional withdrawal symptoms include:
- Anxiety and Panic attacks
- Ecstasy cravings
- Memory loss
- Poor concentration
- Mood swings
- Muscle rigidity
Withdraw symptoms can vary with each user based on their individual circumstances. Dosage, existing mental disorders, length and frequency of use, method of usage (for example if it’s taken with alcohol), etc. There are numerous factors that may determine what symptoms each user experience and to what magnitude. Over time, serotonin levels may return to normal and cause withdrawal symptoms to decrease but this does not happen overnight. Without professional guidance, it can take an extended period of time for a user’s body to be completely free of the effects of ecstasy.
Coping with withdrawal symptoms on one’s own may do more harm than good. Users dealing with more severe withdrawal symptoms may end up pushing themselves further in ecstasy abuse, and may make recovering more difficult. Contrarily, seeking professional help can increase chances of overcoming dependency, enhanced self-confidence and allow users to regain a motivated healthy lifestyle more easily. Proper detox plays an important role in determining the success of ecstasy dependency. This is why users are encouraged to seek out a professional detox center.
Get Help Now!
Several rehabilitation facilities today offer outpatient and inpatient treatment to prior ecstasy users dealing with serious withdrawal symptoms. In these environments, proper psychological and medical treatment is provided to aid recovery. Medications such as antidepressants can be administered to overcome depression, one of the most common symptoms of ecstasy withdrawal and behavioral therapies done to combat the root cause of addiction. Behavioral therapy is offered in groups as well as individual sessions, to educate users about ecstasy dependency and help them address thoughts of drug abuse. They’re introduced to various coping skills and safer ways to cope with stressful situations rather than turn to drugs. Self-detoxing from ecstasy puts users at a disadvantage but these forms of treatment are proven to help users overcome dependency in the long term.
At BLVD Treatment Centers, we fully understand how difficult it can be to handle ecstasy withdrawal alone. This is why we make it our priority to provide recovering ecstasy users with specialized programs that are proven to help people over dependency and achieve long-term recovery. To find out more about ecstasy dependency treatment or any aspect of our treatment program, feel free to contact us at 1-866.582.9844. Our only goal is to help you lead a healthy and fulfilling life.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. MDMA (ecstasy/molly).
- National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens. MDMA (ecstasy or molly).
- National Drug Intelligence Center: MDMA (Ecstasy) Fast Facts