MDMA is the empathogenic drug that is commonly known to the public as ecstasy. Ecstasy is considered by many to be a party drug. It’s taken in pill form and causes the individual to get lost within her own mind. Described in one word, ecstasy is liberating.
When high on ecstasy, the individual feels as though she no longer cares what other people think. She is filled with super-charged feelings, making everything happy and euphoric. She will likely also experience an altered perception of space and time, as well as mania, hallucinations, increased self-confidence, and hyper-physical sensitivity.
Ecstasy is often ingested with other psychedelic drugs like LSD or mushrooms. This combination of drugs has resulted in a variety of terms such as “candy flipping” or “hippy flipping.” In this context, flipping refers to the quick “flip” people experience between the lucid state and the psychedelic state. Individuals usually feel the effects within 30-60 minutes of taking ecstasy. They peak at 75-120 minutes, and then hit a plateau around 3.5 hours. Like any other drug, the user will come down from the high and experience a drop in energy.
Because the sensations that come from ecstasy appear to be satisfying, the common misconception is that ecstasy is not dangerous unless it is tainted with other illegal, unknown drugs. But this is not the case, as is much of illegal drug information. The truth is, ecstasy is extremely dangerous and its effects often wreak havoc on the brain that cannot be reversed.
Short-term physical effects of using ecstasy include difficulty concentrating, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, dry mouth, and loss of appetite, which can lead to hyperthermia and hypothermia. Because of the mania-like side effects, using ecstasy can induce prolonged activity (dancing) and fluid loss (perspiration) without proper attention to rest and hydration. Adding alcohol to the mix can increase the risk of this bodily harm.
Ecstasy, like other drugs that elicit a euphoric feeling, can become very addicting. When people start to use ecstasy in excess, there is an increased rate of depression and anxiety, even after quitting the drug. Though the long-term effects of ecstasy are still hard to define, early studies suggest that ecstasy reduces the concentration of serotonin transporters in the brain. Meaning, an ecstasy addiction will cause damage to your brain in the area of moods and emotions—damage from which your brain will likely not recover.
Ecstasy doesn’t always get the reputation it deserves as a dangerous drug, simply because the nature of the drug is not as chronic as cocaine and meth. But addiction still occurs; we have seen it first-hand here at Prominence. And when someone arrives with an ecstasy addiction, we often are working with a dual-diagnosis, where the patient often has more than one mental disorder, such as depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety are major factors in finding the best treatment for an ecstasy addiction. Both of these factors can be a combination of chemical imbalance when ecstasy is abused and the underlying cause of substance abuse. And in order to treat these disorders properly, both issues must be addressed.
At some point, the party has to end. And if you’ve partied hard enough, the crash can be crushing. When this happens, please contact Prominence Treatment Center. You’ll be in capable and caring hands. We’ll find a way to work with you to come up with the best treatment.