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Navigation: Ecstasy Overview: What is it?, Effects of MDMA Abuse, Ecstasy Addiction

Ecstasy, also known as molly or MDMA, is a very popular “party drug”. But what many people don’t realize is that abusing this substance can cause serious and long-lasting health effects.

Most of the time, it serves as a gateway drug to substances like marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin—92 percent of those who abuse ecstasy later turn to other drugs, to be exact. Most of ecstasy’s users are teens and young adults. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates the number of ecstasy users worldwide to be approximately 9 million.

Since ecstasy gained its reputation as a “club drug,” emergency room visits related to ecstasy increased by more than 1,200 percent. It has become the drug of choice at all-night raves.

Here we discuss the various health effects of ecstasy, and how addiction can put a person’s life at risk.

Ecstasy Overview: What is it?

Ecstasy is the street name for a version of MDMA. It is an illegal, synthetic drug that is classified as a stimulant. Ecstasy also has potentially hallucinogenic properties. Molly is another name for MDMA.

Both ecstasy and molly are made from MDMA. The difference is that ecstasy comes in pill or tablet form, while molly is a white powder or crystal-like substance. Molly is usually marketed as a “pure” form of MDMA, there is really no way for users to know what is in it.

Both ecstasy and molly may be cut with other ingredients like cocaine, LSD, heroin, caffeine, amphetamine, and even rat poison. Pure MDMA is therefore difficult to come by. It is classified as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse. It also means MDMA has no accepted medical use.

Effects of MDMA Abuse

When taken, ecstasy and molly create feelings of well-being and happiness. The user’s senses are also affected, making them more sensitive to lights, sounds, and other sensations. This is what makes MDMA so popular at raves: the drug enhances the experience.

Users reportedly feel more relaxed and calm, while also feeling energetic. Their lowered inhibitions allow them to enjoy social interactions more.

Because of its pleasant effects, MDMA is prone to being abused. And like most drugs, ecstasy and molly can interfere with the brain’s pleasure center, affecting the natural levels of dopamine. Because ecstasy is illegal, any use of it is considered abuse.

Ecstasy can create a high that lasts between 3 to 5 hours, depending on factors such as gender, body weight, amount taken, and method of administration. Ecstasy’s effects can last up to 8 hours. The “crash” following the high can last for days.

It is interesting to note that some versions of ecstasy and molly do not contain any MDMA at all—and usually the buyer has no idea. Sometimes MDMA is replaced with PMA, which may create similar feelings to MDMA, but the onset is longer. When taking PMA, people try to take more just to achieve the same euphoric high they normally get from MDMA, so overdose is a serious possibility.

Signs of ecstasy overdose include seizures, foaming at the mouth, and a rapid spike in body temperature. Some people experience heatstroke. In other cases, the overdose aggravates an underlying heart condition, which can sometimes be fatal.

Ecstasy Addiction

This party drug is very popular among college students, especially at raves and concerts. In fact, studies suggest that approximately 1 out of every 10 college students have experimented with the drug.

The rates of polydrug abuse—abusing more than one drug at a time—are far higher among ecstasy users than other groups of drug users. Ecstasy abusers are far more likely to abuse inhalants, LSD, heroin, and cocaine.

Interestingly, researchers and medical experts have various viewpoints on how addictive ecstasy is. Some even debate over whether or not it is addictive at all. This may stem from the fact that clinical research on the subject is less extensive compared to other drugs. A number of studies have indicated that ecstasy is in fact addictive, though to a lesser extent than many other drugs. However, this does not mean that a developed ecstasy addiction is not a serious problem.

Due to the lack of obvious withdrawal symptoms, it can be difficult to recognize an addiction to ecstasy, molly, or MDMA. Regardless, continued use of these substances can lead to psychological and physical dependence.

When a person is addicted to ecstasy, they will continue to use the drug despite knowing the consequences. Addicted individuals tend to continue taking drugs even when they are already suffering from its effects. And because ecstasy has the tendency to encourage polydrug abuse, addicted individuals may suffer from even more serious health problems.

The most telling sign of an ecstasy addiction is wanting to quit but being unable to. The person may begin developing a tolerance to ecstasy, or spend a lot of time trying to acquire and use it.

If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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