Understanding Ecstasy Addiction and Treatment
Once a staple of the rave subculture, MDMA has now become one of the most commonly abused illegal substances in the United States. More commonly known as ecstasy or Molly, MDMA is known for producing feelings of extreme emotional satisfaction and physical euphoria. However, the drug is equally infamous for its devastating effects on the body.
In some cases, long-term ecstasy use results in significant losses in cognitive ability. This trend emphasizes the importance of access to reliable information about MDMA and ecstasy addiction. The following stats and facts about Ecstasy addiction and treatment can help struggling individuals and their loved ones to stay informed about options for recovery.
A Brief History of Ecstasy and MDMA
MDMA was initially produced in the 1910s. It wasn’t until the 1970s, however, that the substance was examined as a potential method for enhancing psychotherapy.
In the 1980s, MDMA rose to prominence as a street drug. With time, ecstasy became an iconic part of the underground party culture. Today, the substance is still commonly used at electronic dance music venues, raves and music festivals.
Ecstasy refers specifically to a mixture of MDMA and adulterants pressed into a pill form, while Molly refers to the crystalline powder form of MDMA, which sometimes comes in capsules.
Scientists have continued to posit new strategies for using MDMA but, as of 2017, the drug’s tendency to impair the nervous system has limited its applications in medication and research.
Health Effects of Ecstasy
MDMA is extremely effective in altering the chemistry of the brain. Ingesting the substance forces the brain to generate excessive amounts of three important brain chemicals:
- Serotonin – Increased production of this chemical is responsible for the sense of increased intimacy experienced when abusing MDMA.
- Dopamine – MDMA produces a sense of euphoria by flooding the brain with dopamine.
- Norepinephrine – A surplus of this chemical is responsible for increased heart rate and blood pressure, both of which are commonly experienced when taking MDMA.
While these are the primary effects of taking MDMA, the substance has numerous unhealthy side effects as well. These unwanted side effects of MDMA can include:
- Lessened interest in physical intimacy
- Hindered brain function
- Heart and kidney failure
- Mood swings
- Increased aggression
- Inability to sleep
- Muscle pain
MDMA naturally interferes with the body’s ability to metabolize itself and other drugs. As a result, overdose risks are very real when abusing ecstasy, especially if the substance is ingested multiple times in a short period. MDMA’s severe overdose risks are made worse by the fact the drug is regularly consumed during extended periods of spirited physical activity, such as dancing.
Fatigue and dehydration can make the following overdose symptoms considerably worse and potentially fatal:
- Bodily seizures
- Frequent panic attacks
- Elevated blood pressure
- Susceptibility to fainting
Ecstasy Use in the United States
MDMA is no longer limited to the festival scene. These days, recreational ecstasy use is finding a home at more and more clubs and house parties. As a result, new demographics have begun to encounter and abuse MDMA. Data collected in the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicated that almost 7 percent of Americans above the age of 12 had abused MDMA at least once in their lifetime.
It is useful to note that MDMA use is especially prevalent among recent college graduates. According to a report published by The American Journal on Addictions, the most common users of ecstasy are white (74 percent), male (65 percent) college graduates who are employed and reside in a major urban locale.
The Need for Ecstasy Treatment
While MDMA is less addictive than substances like cocaine or heroin, many former users have chosen to seek help after extended periods of using ecstasy. These individuals need help removing the drug from their system, so they seek out help with medically assisted detox. Others recognize the potential for developing a psychological dependence on MDMA and look for help with transforming their dangerous lifestyle.
At The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches, we utilize a multidisciplinary approach to drug treatment that responds to the physical, mental and spiritual needs of our clients. You can learn more about how we treat ecstasy addiction by contacting our admissions counselors at (866) 295-6003. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions about ecstasy addiction and treatment.