What is ecstasy?
Ecstasy also known as MDMA is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that is very similar to meth and mescaline. Ecstasy produces intense feelings of energy, euphoria, emotional warmth, and distorts time, perception and reality.
Ecstasy drug abuse
Ecstasy is most often taken orally in a capsule or tablet form. Ecstasy drug abuse became popular through nightclub scene and weekend-long dance parties known as raves. Ecstasy was most commonly used by white adolescents and young adults but the profile of ecstasy users has definitely broadened for instance it is very popular among gay males. Ecstasy drug abuse is also common when combined with other drugs to heighten a drug experience. For example, some people will mix ecstasy with marijuana, cocaine, meth, ketamine, Viagra, and other illegal substances.
How does ecstasy drug abuse affect the brain?
The primary effects of ecstasy drug abuse are in the brain. Ecstasy drug abuse affects the neurons that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with other neurons. Serotonin regulates mood, aggression, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain. So when ecstasy binds to the serotonin transporter it prolongs the serotonin signal-giving off more serotonin for longer periods of time which makes ecstasy users feel “good” or “high”. Ecstasy drug abuse also affects the neurotransmitter norepinephrine which can increase heart rate and blood pressure. It also releases dopamine but it doesn’t have as large of an effect on those neurotransmitters.
Ecstasy drug abuse can produce confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, and severe anxiety. These negative side effects can happen almost immediately after taking ecstasy and last even weeks after taking it. Those who abuse ecstasy chronically perform more poorly than nonusers on certain types of cognitive or memory tasks. Some research has shown that just using ecstasy a few times can permanently damage the brains neurotransmitters.
Is ecstasy drug abuse potentially addictive?
Yes. For some people ecstasy drug abuse can be addictive. Ecstasy users can sometimes end up using the drug despite negative consequences, experience withdrawal effects, and build a tolerance. Abstaining for ecstasy drug abuse after using ecstasy drug for a long period of time can cause withdrawal symptoms which include- fatigue, loss of appetite, depressed feelings and trouble concentrating.
Is ecstasy drug abuse dangerous?
Ecstasy drug abuse can be dangerous to anyone’s overall health and in some occasions can be deadly. Ecstasy drug abuse has many of the same effects as other stimulants which means it can increase your heart rate and blood pressure-this can cause circulatory problems or heart disease or other symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching (Bruxism), nausea, blurred vision, faintness, and chills and sweating.
Ecstasy drug abuse in high doses can also inhibit the body’s ability to regulate temperature which can lead to heat exhaustion, sharp increases in body temperature (hyperthermia), and excessive sweating. This can lead to more lethal problems such as liver and kidney failure, cardiovascular failure and death.
Help for those who abuse ecstasy
For those who have a problem with ecstasy drug abuse there are no specific treatment just for them but there are drug rehabilitation centers that are effective in the treatment of alcohol and drug abuse. Using self-help groups such as NA or AA and cognitive behavioral therapy offered at a drug treatment center can be very effective in helping someone with an ecstasy drug abuse problem.