Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, or ecstasy) first garnered attention as a popular “club drug” over 20 years ago in the US. Initially it was considered a safe and fun substance strictly amongst those on the all-night rave/party circuit, but now there are an estimated 10 million Americans who admit having used ecstasy at least one time.
What is ecstasy, exactly? The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that it is illegal drug is both a stimulant and a powerful hallucinogenic substance. When consumed, ecstasy makes the user feel high energy and distorted perception. It is usually ingested in a small tablet form orally, and the high can last up to 6 hours long. Demographically speaking, ecstasy use is more common amongst those under the age of 25, but teenagers and young adults have reported taking ecstasy as well.
Ecstasy abuse has been steadily on the rise since the early 1990s, and it is known to potentially cause lasting damage to important brain cells damage. In more recent years reports have surfaced indicating that ecstasy tablets can be mixed with other drugs and chemicals, raising health concerns in addition to those already in existence, due to the sheer unpredictability of the substance.
Dangers and Effects of Ecstasy
Although many myths surround ecstasy which state the drug is not addictive, research has disproven this and shown that ecstasy, like all other drugs, can be highly addictive for many abusers.
Because ecstasy produces both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects on its abusers, the high can be particularly dangerous in the arena of awareness, perception, sexual interaction and cardiovascular function.
Some of the desirable feelings that can be associated with an ecstasy high include:
- Emotional warmth
- Seemingly “enhanced” perceptive skills
- Mental and physical stimulation
- Strong attraction to others
Not all ecstasy users react the same way to the drug. While one person may experience temporary positive feelings, others experience:
- Recklessness and loss of control
Ecstasy is not considered safe or harmless, rather it is classified on a federal level as an illegal and dangerous drug with a laundry list of negative effects on personal health. Some of the acute or chronic physical damages of ecstasy can include:
- Nausea, vomiting and a loss of appetite
- Difficulties with vision
- Muscle cramps
- Jaw clenching and teeth grinding
- Feeling faint or weak
More severe adverse reactions to ecstasy can include high blood pressure, loss of consciousness, respiratory difficulties, seizures and heart failure. All of these conditions, if not rapidly responded to, can be fatal.
Because ecstasy is most popular amongst the rave scene and in dance settings, cases of extreme dehydration and hyperthermia (overheating; rapid rise in body temperature) are also common. This condition can result in kidney failure and other health problems.
Rehab for Ecstasy Addiction
Because it has become more apparent to treatment professionals that ecstasy abusers are at risk of addiction, rehab for MDMA dependency has become more mainstream.
Some ecstasy abusers report that the extreme and powerful high of MDMA produces an extreme adverse “crash” following the 3-6 hour long high. Severe depression, fear, anxiety and other negative emotions are seemingly only resolved by taking another hit of ecstasy.
Proven workable methods of rehab for ecstasy addiction include:
- Emotional Counseling
Learning techniques for dealing with negative emotions without leaning on substance abuse as a means of escape.
- Life Skills and Goal Setting
Rehabilitating basic life skills (such as communication, planning and organizing) for the achievement of one’s goals.
- Support Structure Development
Choosing the right friends, family and loved ones and learning to utilize this support structure in times of need. It is important to know the signs of Ecstasy use and help the abuser see treatment as soon as possible. As stated above the depressive symptoms of using this drug continue to increase with continued use.