Table of Contents
- How To Find And Get Help For Ecstasy Addiction?
- What Is Ecstasy and Why Is It So Addictive?
- Demographics and Statistics of Ecstasy Abuse
- Who Are the People at Risk for Substance Use Disorder?
- What Are the Signs That Someone Is on Ecstasy?
- Can Ecstasy Use Be Fatal?
- Ecstasy Withdrawal, Treatment, and Next Steps
How To Find And Get Help For Ecstasy Addiction?
Ecstasy is usually abused with other drugs and when looking for a treatment facility, it is important that the treatment plan offered is able to personalize it to meet the individual’s needs. This means treating the Ecstasy addiction as well as the other drugs abused and also any underlying mental health conditions. Ecstasy treatment is best provided from an inpatient or residential facility that provides medically supervised detox such as West Valley Detox.
What Is Ecstasy and Why Is It So Addictive?
The scientific name for Ecstasy is MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine). MDMA was first made in 1912 by a German pharmaceutical company and was patented in 1914 as a possible appetite suppressant, but it was never used for any medical purpose.
There are many other names for this drug such as Molly, X, XTC, Beans, Adam, Clarity, Lover’s Speed, and Scoop. Ecstasy is an illegal synthetic Schedule I classified drug that has the properties of both hallucinogens and stimulants which produces a feeling of euphoria, happiness, warmth, energy, and sensory perception distortions.
Ecstasy comes in pill form or as a powder (sometimes mixed with other substances). It is usually swallowed in pill form, but it can also be snorted or injected. The effects of MDMA begin to appear within 30 minutes, peak at around 60-90 minutes, and last for about three hours, but the after-effects can continue for up to a day. It is an illegal drug with no medically approved uses. Most Ecstasy is manufactured overseas and smuggled into the U.S. The makers often make the Ecstasy tablets look like candy or in the likeness of cartoon characters.
Ecstasy is very popular amongst Causacians attendees of raves, clubs, and particularly with the gay nightclub scenes. The drug is typically taken with other stimulants like methamphetamine, cocaine, and ketamine. Gay and bisexual men also take Ecstasy with erectile dysfunction medication such as Viagra to heighten their sexual experience. The drug still remains alarmingly high at raves, dance parties that feature electronica music, brightly colored clothing, glow sticks, and lights.
Compared to other addictive drugs, Ecstasy stands out as its use heightens the feelings of love, empathy, and sexual arousal. Many people who use the drug report feeling overwhelming joy and love for all in the room. They also say that they experience music and dancing better, delighted by their senses, thrilled by bright colors and soft textures, and time seems to pass in a distorted way.
MDMA causes the brain to produce a surge of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine that creates the feeling of happiness and pleasure and diminishes depression and anxiety. However, as the effect of the drug is reduced by the body breaking it down, the brain produces less serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine causing anxiety, confusion, depression, and sleep issues. Coming down from this drug is hard, even for first-time users, and the longer or heavier the abuse of Ecstasy, the longer and more severe the after effects are.
Demographics and Statistics of Ecstasy Abuse
According to reports from The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the use and abuse of Ecstasy have been increasing significantly over the past few decades. Every year, there are hundreds of thousands of new people who try the drug for the first time and the average age of first use is 20 years. Ecstasy, however, has a higher rate of abuse among underage individuals compared to many other drugs.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that almost 36% of high school seniors say that Ecstasy is “fairly easy” or “very easy” to come by. In a particular study, a sample group reported a 70% rate of lifetime use, with 22% reporting taking club drugs recently.
Ecstasy, these days, is primarily abused by teens and young adults. Young people find Ecstasy appealing because the drug is cheap, easy to obtain, and helps reduce inhibition or anxiety in social as well as sexual situations. A tablet can cost between $3 to $45. As the drug is commonly sold in large amounts at music festivals, clubs, and concerts, the drugs may be laced with other drugs or toxic materials which could endanger lives.
Ecstasy users are also very likely to be regular users of other drugs. These polydrug users may take Ecstasy with cocaine, inhalants, LSD, methamphetamine, and heroin. The American Journal of College Health researched and found that 46% of college students used Ecstasy with cocaine, 38% also used the drug with inhalants, another 38% used it with LSD, and 17% combined the use with heroin.
Although initially, Ecstasy was predominantly used by Caucasian adolescents and young adults, aged 18-29, in the nightclub scene, it has been gaining popularity amongst other ethnic groups such as the African American adults.
Who Are the People at Risk for Substance Use Disorder?
A substance use disorder can affect anyone and there are no single criteria. that can predict whether a person may develop an addiction or not. However, a person is more likely to suffer from drug use due to:
- Genetic makeup, ethnicity, gender, and mental health issues – 66% of those in addiction treatment are men and certain ethnicities are of higher risk.
- Environmental factors such as stress, peer pressure, trauma, physical or sexual abuse as well as exposure to drugs at an early age can increase the risk.
- Age, particularly those in their teens who start taking drugs as the parts of the brain that control judgment, decisions, and self-control are not fully developed.
Most people with SUD also have mental health conditions and these mental illnesses are present prior to the addiction. In some cases, the addiction triggers or worsens a mental health disorder. In these situations, effective and long-term recovery can happen when both conditions are treated properly at the same time.
What Are the Signs That Someone Is on Ecstasy?
It is important to be able to see the signs that someone you love is abusing Ecstasy so that you can get them help. Apart from the person who is on Ecstasy experiencing increased energy, self-confidence, and believing everyone around them loves them and is their friend, the other common signs may be:
- Dilated pupils, muscle tension, and excessive sweating
- Elevated sight and touch perceptions and heightened emotions
- Feeling in love with strangers, unusual feelings, and expressions of love
- Impulsiveness, wanting to be touched and be touched, and promiscuity
- Increased capacity for empathy
- Increased thirst, teeth clenching, and dry mouth
- Mild confusion and paranoia
- Reduced anxiety and depression and inability to feel or sense pain
- Staying awake for days and unnatural amounts of energy
- Changes in social circle
- Depression, mood swings, and oversleeping when not using
- Concealing the drug around the home
- Inability or unwillingness to stop when Ecstasy abuse causes problems
- Issues with the law and difficulties with finances
- Secretive behavior and lying
- Reluctance to attend social or family events where Ecstasy is not available
- Difficulty in work, school, or relationship responsibilities
The Long-term Effects of Ecstasy Abuse
When Ecstasy is used long-term, it can lead to compulsive behaviors and neglect of important work, school, and family responsibilities. Long-term uses present a higher rate of engaging in impulsive, dangerous behaviors or illegal activity. These behaviors may be to procure more of the drug without thought to the repercussions.
Chronic use of Ecstasy can damage the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, as well as cause long-term damage to nerves, the brain, and other vital organs. Other effects could also include:
- Cardiovascular collapse
- Depression, anxiety, and memory loss
- Kidney failure
- Long-lasting brain damage
- Nerve degeneration
Can Ecstasy Use Be Fatal?
- Multiple doses are taken in one session.
- Uncontrolled drug manufacturing means there is no quantitative way of knowing the amount of MDMA consumed
- Other drugs are mixed into the tablets.
- Physical activity when the drug is often used can lead to dehydration.
Many deaths and thousands of hospital admissions have been attributed to Ecstasy. It is not deemed as a harmless non-addictive drug as many users believe it is.
One of the main reasons that Ecstasy has resulted in death is hyperthermia or overheating. Since the drug is typically a rave drug, with the overheating from the location coupled with dancing and the lack of hydration, the organs start shutting down. If this goes untreated, the vital organs will stop. Undiagnosed heart defects can be aggravated by the drug resulting in heart failure.
Pure MDMA is hard to come by and many dealers sell Ecstasy pills that are cut with other ingredients This can be anything from cocaine, heroin, caffeine, meth, and even rat poison. The effects of the Ecstasy pill can be unpredictable.
Furthermore, research has shown that brain damage can occur with the use of Ecstasy, even with a brief exposure that can last for many years.
Ecstasy Withdrawal, Treatment, and Next Steps
Withdrawal symptoms from Ecstasy abuse can be physical or psychological and they arise because both the body and mind are chemically dependent on the drug. The chemicals produced in the body are to create feelings of normalcy. Stopping the use of Ecstasy or detoxing from it is unlikely to cause any major health concerns. However, a medically supervised detox will help any discomfort felt or some of the Ecstasy withdrawal symptoms.
Ecstasy users have a choice of different levels of care and treatment, depending on their needs. Inpatient treatment provided at a residential facility uses a treatment methodology that helps separate users from their daily Ecstasy use disorder triggers and teaches them to live a life free of chemical dependency. An intensive outpatient treatment option is highly recommended as ongoing care after inpatient treatment. It is effective to continue with individual and group counseling to strengthen the road to recovery.
These counseling sessions help with depression and anxiety. are common post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps recovering users to learn connections between their thoughts, feelings, and actions and increases awareness of how these things impact recovery.
If you or a loved one is an Ecstasy user, call us today at West Valley Detox to speak to one of our highly trained and experienced staff to work out the best treatment options available. Substance abuse can be treated and it is never too late to revert to a healthy wholesome life.