Ecstasy is the most common street name for the drug MDMA, which acts a hybrid between a stimulant and a hallucinogenic. The terms “ecstasy” comes from the feelings the drug produces, causing users to feel increased levels of caring and compassion, warmth, connectedness, and bliss. Because it is a hallucinogen, ecstasy causes subtle visual hallucinations, and makes the user’s reality fuzzy and distorted. Ecstasy is generally taken as a pill, but can be crushed up and snorted for a stronger more pronounced effect.
Effects and Symptoms of Ecstasy/MDMA
In addition to the effects already mentioned, MDMA amplifies the user’s sensitivity to sensations, causing sounds, smells, and touch to be extremely pleasurable. Ingestions dilates the pupils, and makes users more light sensitive. As a stimulant, some of its effects are similar to methamphetamine, causing the addict to grind their teeth obsessively, lose their appetite, and experience lack of sleep and disorientation.
“Raves” are also commonly associated with MDMA use. Although the details vary, raves are generally late night dance parties, which include bright lights, electronic music, and drug use (specifically ecstasy). The stimulant effects of MDMA, combined with the feelings of warmth, connectedness, and sensation pleasure, serve as the ideal drug for dancing all night and engaging in promiscuity.
Effects of the Brain
Ecstasy acts on the brain by boosting the activity of the three neurotransmitters associated with please: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. This causes the warm, social feelings and behaviors most commonly associated with the drug, which are most influenced by the flood of serotonin to the brain. The release of serotonin also produces an increase in hormones like vasopressin and oxytocin, which contribute to feelings of love and arousal. The release of these hormones is likely responsible for many of the affection, elated feelings and behaviors in users.
Because ecstasy causes the rapid release of pleasure inducing hormones and neurotransmitters, their reservoirs are soon depleted, which can result in negative side effects. Depression, lethargy, anxiousness, insomnia, and anxiety can occur soon after using the drug, and can last from anywhere between a few days and a few weeks.
Heavy, frequent use of ecstasy can amplify and lengthen these effects, causing long term issues with depression, insomnia, concentration, and memory. As a stimulant, it can extremely dangerous for individuals who are already have circulatory or heart issues. High doses can disrupt temperature regulation, which can cause organ failure in the kidney or liver, causing death. Ecstasy also inhibits the metabolism, which can cause fatal amounts of the drug to build up in the body.
Additionally, the feelings of closeness and sociability can result in unsafe sexual promiscuity and risk taking behaviors, which increase the likelihood of users contracting fatal STIs like HIV and hepatitis.
Treatment for Ecstasy/MDMA Abuse
Treatment for ecstasy abuse starts with an individualized treatment plan based on the specific needs of our client. Northbound Treatment Services utilizes a wide variety of evidence-based recovery strategies, including cognitive behavioral therapy, one-one-one therapy, group processing, experiential therapy, and 12 Step support. Because ecstasy abuse can result in depression and anxiety, we focus on mood improving and stabilization strategies for our clients recovering from MDMA addiction.
The days immediately after quitting MDMA use can be dreary and dull, so we do everything we can to offer treatment approaches which are proven to shorten depression and promote positive coping skills in recovery. If you or someone you love is seeking treatment for addiction to ecstasy, then California addiction rehab Services can help. Contact us today at (866) 538-4356.