Treatment For Ecstasy Addiction
What Is Ecstasy?
Ecstasy, known more formally as MDMA, is a drug that functions as both a hallucinogen as well as a stimulant. All in all, what this means is that ecstasy functions as a psychoactive substance that provides its users with a mind altering high (which can affect both their perception and their mood).
While ecstasy was originally used mainly as a club drug – finding most of its user base in places like nightclubs, lounges, raves, and dance clubs – being used mostly by young adults and teenagers. However, this description of the user base of ecstasy has changed over the years, broadening to now affect a wider and more comprehensive portion of the country’s population.
Ecstasy And Its Usage
Although ecstasy is frequently compared to LSD – another popular psychoactive drug – on a chemical level it is actually much more similar to methamphetamines (ecstasy is actually a part of the amphetamine family of drugs), which have been known to cause brain damage. As stated before, ecstasy is a psychoactive drug; and it has been praised by many of its users for giving them enhanced pleasure and sensitivity related to emotional responses (one popular nickname being the “hug drug”) as well as their sensory experiences.
Even though ecstasy does not usually cause the typical symptoms that are associated with physical addiction, as an abused substance it has been known to be the source of extremely strong psychologically addictive properties. As the drug has become more and more mainstream, it often seems as if both addicts and the general public have forgotten that ecstasy addiction can actually be a real issue.
Under its alternative nickname “Molly”, the drug has seen a resurgence in popularity among certain celebrities; particularly musicians and singers. One popular example of this is Miley Cyrus’ song “We Can’t Stop”, where she blatantly sings: “We like to party / dancing with Molly / doing whatever we want”.
Symptoms Of Ecstasy Addiction
The effects of ecstasy can be separated into two main categories; short-term effects and long-term effects.
Short-term effects of ecstasy:
- Increased energy
- Pupil dilation
- Distortions in sensory/time perception
- Grinding/clenching teeth
- Increased sociability
- Positive feelings/love toward others
- Mild hallucinations
- Enhanced sexuality
Long-term effects of ecstasy:
- Memory impairment
- Increased risk of cerebrovascular accident; i.e. stroke
- Changes to brain chemistry; in particular its serotonergic systems
- Degeneration of cognitive and psychomotor functioning
- Sleep abnormalities
Why Ecstasy Addiction Occurs
Most of the people who use ecstasy often state that they experience feelings of pleasure and sometimes even a relaxing state of mind. Chemically, ecstasy affects the user’s brain by focusing on its neurotransmitters – mainly dopamine and serotonin.
Serotonin is responsible for regulating things such as; appetite, mood, pain, sex drive, and pain – and ecstasy causes the brain to release increased levels of serotonin.
It is the feelings that ecstasy causes that are usually the most addictive part of using the drug. However, at times there are also users who are drawn to ecstasy for very specific reasons, such as weight loss (since the drug usually decreases the person’s appetite).
Soon after they come down from an ecstasy high, users can experience withdrawal symptoms because their serotonin levels are lowered. This can lead to them becoming irritable, depressed, or tired. Ecstasy dependency and addiction usually comes about as a result of users having such low levels of serotonin when they are not taking the drug and as a result they only feel happy when they use the drug once more.
How Widespread Is Ecstasy Addiction
From data pulled from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it can be seen that in 2007 alone, approximately 503,000 US citizens, aged 12 or older, used ecstasy. In 2008 it was also seen that usage of the drug among teens was rapidly increasing, with usage among people aged 12 to 17 increasing from 1.0 percent of this age bracket in 2005 to 1.4 percent in 2008.
In fact, through data compiled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse it was found that during a selected seven year period of time, lifetime ecstasy usage showed an increase from 4.3 percent to 5.7 percent, when looking at individuals aged 12 and older. While this percentage increase might not seem like a lot, it actually correlates to an increase of approximately 4 million individuals using ecstasy.
Don’t Let Ecstasy Addiction Rule Your Life
Oftentimes it may seem difficult to find treatment programs that are dedicated towards ecstasy addiction – compared to addictions to other substances, since these addictions are often viewed as more debilitating. However, at Blvd Treatment Centers, not only do we offer personalized treatment programs that cater to the specific needs of the individual, we also have a wide range of specialists on staff who have experience dealing with psychological addiction.
Don’t let ecstasy addiction rule your life or the life of a loved one any longer; call us now and get started on the road to a better you today.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – Drug Facts; MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly)
- National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA) – MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Trends in the Prevalence of Marijuana, Cocaine, and Other Illegal Drug Use National YRBS: 1991—2015
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Hallucinogens
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – Ecstasy or MDMA
- National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) – Club Drugs: Facts and Figures