Ecstasy Addiction

Also known as molly or MDMA, ecstasy is one of the popular substances of abuse that you may find yourself involved with. This is largely because of the pleasurable euphoria that this drug causes. However, you may soon come to regret your initial decision to experiment with ecstasy. Read on to learn why:

What Is It?

Ecstasy is chemically referred to as methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA. On the streets, people call it molly. This drug is a synthetic substance that is derived from amphetamine. It acts as both as a hallucinogen and a stimulant.

If you involve yourself with this drug, it is highly likely that you will do so recreationally. This is because of the pleasurable effects that it will produce a hour or so after you take it. These effects often include enhanced sensory perception, decreased anxiety, and mental stimulation.

However, ecstasy is like any other street drug in the sense that it is often accompanied by many other notable risks and adverse effects. This is particularly true because the drug shares a chemical structure that is similar to both hallucinogens and amphetamine. As such, it produces both sensory altering and stimulant effects, some of which might prove to be dangerous to your health and wellness.

On the street, ecstasy is also known as:

  • Adam
  • Clarity
  • Eve
  • Lover's Speed
  • Peace
  • X
  • XTC

Today, the drug is so commonly abused that NIDA - the National Institute of Drug Abuse - reported that more than 1.4 million Americans above the age of 12 abused it - alongside other hallucinogens - in 2014 alone.

What Are The Effects?

But what happens when you use or abuse ecstasy? Shortly after you take this drug, you may experience a wide variety of effects. This is due to the fact that it comes with both hallucinogenic and stimulant properties. Its acute effects will large anywhere between 3 and 8 hours, and may include:

  • Heightened emotions
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased thirst
  • Euphoria
  • Hallucinations
  • Heightened mental clarity

Using this drug in the short term could also prove dangerous because it might lead to the development of the following additional effects:

  • Blurred vision
  • Chills
  • Elevated anxiety
  • Fainting
  • Hyperthermia
  • Involuntary teeth clenching of the teeth
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Tremors

Taking this drug can also cause you to experience other unexpected effects. This is particularly true if the MDMA pills were adulterated using other substances like ketamine, caffeine, or meth. It might also be adulterated with other additives like selegiline, ephedrine, cocaine, bath salts, and cough medicine.

That said, abusing ecstasy in the long term could give rise to:

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Being unable to derive any pleasure feeling from sexual activity
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Inability to pay attention
  • Increased impulsiveness
  • Lack of interest in any sexual activity
  • Memory problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Suppressed appetite

Signs to Look For If Someone Is Abusing Ecstasy

But how can you tell whether someone you love has been abusing ecstasy? Essentially, you need to look out for some of the common signs and symptoms of ecstasy use and abuse.

In particular, most people who take this drug tend to experience enhanced self-confidence and increased energy. They may also start believing that they are surrounded by friends.

Other signs that could point out that they may be using or intoxicated on the substance include:

  • Changes in their regular sleeping habits
  • Desire to be touched
  • Desire to touch
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Euphoria
  • Excessive sweating
  • Feeling in love with whoever they are with although they may not even have a personal history with them
  • Heightened emotions
  • Heightened sensory perception
  • Impulsivity
  • Inability to feel pain, or a reduced sense of pain
  • Increased or abnormal capacity for empathy
  • Increased positive sensations
  • Mild confusion
  • Muscle tension
  • Paranoia
  • Promiscuity
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced depression
  • Teeth clenching
  • Thirst
  • Unnatural and long-lasting energy

Short and Long Term Symptoms of Ecstasy Addiction

Regular ecstasy abuse will often give rise to the development of a substance use disorder, also known as an addiction. When this happens, you may display some of the signs and symptoms of MDMA addiction - which you would only be able to overcome after checking into a professional addiction treatment and rehabilitation program.

Some of these signs and symptoms include:

Short Term Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings
  • Faintness
  • False sense of love and affection
  • Impaired judgment
  • Involuntary teeth clenching
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Paranoia
  • Severe anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Swelling
  • Teeth clenching
  • Teeth grinding
  • Trouble sleeping

Long Term Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Cardiovascular collapse
  • Convulsions
  • Damage to the areas of the brain that are responsible for regulating critical functions like emotion, learning, and sleep
  • Death
  • Degenerated nerve branches
  • Depression
  • Destroyed nerve endings
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Kidney failure
  • Long term brain damage
  • Memory loss
  • Poor memory
  • Poor thought patterns
  • Psychosis

Ecstasy Overdose Risks

The body naturally absorbs ecstasy quickly. Unfortunately, it does not metabolize it quite as fast. As a result, using the drug in higher doses can cause you to experience negative effects such as cardiovascular problems. It could also lead to a higher risk of suffering an overdose - which could prove to be life-threatening.

If you mix ecstasy with any other intoxicating substance, such as alcohol or just about any addictive drug, there is also a high risk that you may experience an overdose. This overdose will be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Extremely high blood pressure
  • Fainting spells
  • Feeling faint
  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperthermia
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Panic attacks
  • Renal failure
  • Seizures

Although this is rare, overdosing on ecstasy could also cause you to suffer sudden death as a result of kidney, liver, or heart failure or hyperthermia. Additionally, this drug often masks the natural need for rest, water, and food. At the same time, it will increase your levels of physical activity and body temperature. To this end, it could cause you to experience severe dehydration.

You may also drink water in excess to counteract this dehydration. As a result, there is a high risk that you may suffer serious brain swelling and electrolyte imbalance due to the water retention.

Most of the acute effects of ecstasy intoxication will pass about 3 to 6 hours after your last dose. However, even using this drug in moderation could cause adverse effects that may persist for about a week. These effects will seem like another health issue.

Even so, it is recommended that you seek emergency medical assistance if you experience any of the following additional symptoms of a MDMA overdose:

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Concentration issues
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Loss of all interest in sex
  • Problems with memory

If you suspect that someone might be overdosing on ecstasy, you should call 911 or any other emergency medical services immediately. In the meantime, you should prepare yourself to initiate CPR in case you cannot detect their pulse or they have stopped breathing. You can also:

  • Lay them down
  • Turn them to the side so that they do not aspirate
  • Ensure that their airway is clear
  • Remove all objects around them in case they suffer a seizure
  • Keep them calm (as well as yourself) as you wait for the emergency services to arrive

When they get to the hospital, the emergency medical personnel will ask for their personal history and information on every drug that they might have taken. They will also conduct imaging studies and perform lab work.

Additionally, they may administer activated charcoal because it will neutralize all drugs that are still in the stomach. Further, they will address all emergency medical conditions - including cardiac issues, high body temperature, and elevated blood pressure.

After stabilization, the overdose victim could be asked to stay in the hospital for further medical treatment. They may also be transferred to a drug detox or an addiction treatment program.

Best Options for Recovery

The best way to recover from ecstasy abuse and addiction is through a professional addiction treatment program. Although you might not think that you are addicted, the development of tolerance and dependence means that you may be.

Tolerance occurs when you find yourself taking more of the drug or on a more regular basis to experience its pleasurable effects. Eventually, it will give rise to the development of physical and psychological dependence.

Another sign that you may be addicted to ecstasy would be if you suffer any adverse effects when you stop using it. These effects are known as withdrawal symptoms, and they include:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Problems concentrating

You may also be addicted if everything else in your life has become subordinate to ecstasy - including your relationships, commitments, school, and work. At this stage, you would need an addiction treatment program to overcome your growing substance use disorder.

When you are enrolled in such a program, you will first go through a medically managed detox episode. During this time, you will be provided with medical services like round the clock supervision and monitoring. This is to ensure that you do not suffer too much from your withdrawal symptoms and that your drug cravings do not lead to a relapse.

After detox has been termed successful, you will be provided with additional rehabilitation services. These may include cognitive behavioral interventions, addiction education, individual and group therapy, support group meeting participation, relapse prevention, and aftercare planning.

In the long term, it is recommended that you go for addiction treatment and rehabilitation as soon as you realize that you have a substance use disorder. This will ensure that you overcome your ecstasy abuse, tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

CITATIONS

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.827.8354&rep=rep1&type=pdf

http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/drug-facts/ecstasy

https://archives.drugabuse.gov/publications/nida-community-drug-alert-bulletin-club-drugs/methylenedioxy-methamphetamine-mdma

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/821572-treatment#d10

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/club-drugs

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/mdma-ecstasymolly

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery

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https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2016/NSDUH-FFR1-2016.htm

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