What are the Signs and Symptoms of Ecstasy Abuse?
Lifetime prevalence rates for ecstasy use is 7% in adults ages 26 and older. This popular party or club drug is an entactogen, and dramatically increases the user’s mood, sociability, and also produces an intense and short-lived high. On the black market, ecstasy is sometimes referred to as E or X. The drug is taken in a tablet form, and is MDMA powder mixed with other drugs. There is no way for a user to know precisely how much MDMA is in each ecstasy tablet, and what other drugs the tablet contains. For this reason, each time a person takes an ecstasy tablet, they don’t know how intense or long-lasting the high will be. Mixing unknown substances also increases the drug’s harshness, and its ability to cause severe, long-term consequences in frequent and heavy ecstasy users.
Who is at risk of developing an ecstasy addiction?
Current research has uncovered interesting findings on ecstasy users. Previously, it was thought that people who lived in urban areas, and young men were the most likely ecstasy abusers. But recent studies have found that it is young women who are the most likely to use and abuse the drug. This result remains the same even when other factors are accounted for, such as household income levels, and the population density of the place where the participants lived.
It’s difficult to predict who will become addicted to a drug, and who can try an addictive substance without becoming dependent. However, there are a few risk factors that can increase the chances of someone becoming addicted to a drug like ecstasy:
- Obtaining a low education level
- Being part of a low socioeconomic group
- Having a close family member with a substance use disorder
- Having a mental health disorder
Mental health disorders are major risk factors for drug abuse and addiction. The range of distressing and debilitating mental health disorder symptoms a person can experience can influence the person to use a substance for some relief. Alcohol can help alleviate anxiety and depression, while nicotine can calm a racing mind. Ecstasy can also lower a person’s anxiety and also dramatically increase their mood and happiness levels.
When it comes to treating an addiction disorder, comorbid mental health conditions are often a major contributing factor to a person’s drug use. Treating mental health conditions at the same time as substance use disorder can significantly increase the chances of a person achieving and maintaining sobriety.
What are the signs of ecstasy abuse?
The signs of ecstasy abuse and addiction can be broken down into several categories – physical and mental signs, and also the symptoms of abuse once someone starts to “crash” from an ecstasy high.
Acute Physical and Mental Signs of Ecstasy Abuse:
- Dilated pupils
- Increased body temperature
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Decreased appetite
- Increased extroversion
- Heightened physical sensations
- Wanting to connect with others
- Unusually high level of energy
- Not sleeping
When a person comes down from ecstasy, they will exhibit the following symptoms:
- Involuntary jaw and muscle clenching
- Stomach upset and nausea
- Lack of appetite
- Extreme thirst
- Muscle cramps
- Blurred vision
- Cognitive impairment
- Depression and anxiety
- Trouble sleeping
What makes ecstasy so dangerous is that casual use is also associated with adverse effects. People who take even a modest dose of ecstasy will experience changes in heart rhythm and the heart’s ability to pump blood adequately.
What is the worst thing that can happen to someone if they abuse ecstasy?
Although overdosing on ecstasy is rare, it is possible to die from ecstasy abuse. Users can quickly overexert and overheat themselves. Hyperthermia will damage the organs, especially the kidneys. Ecstasy abusers can also go onto experience a seizure, become comatose, and die.
Also, ecstasy abuse can cause a range of long-term, adverse health consequences, and other problems. Several studies have found that ecstasy use is associated with higher rates of HIV and other STIs than control groups. People who abuse ecstasy will also experience cognitive decline and memory issues. Long-term ecstasy use is also associated with increased rates of depression and anxiety. In users who are already susceptible to these mental health disorders, this side effect of ecstasy abuse can be especially dangerous.
Where can someone go for help for ecstasy abuse?
It’s challenging for people who are dependent on ecstasy to quit and maintain sobriety without outside intervention. Drug addiction is a chronic disease like hypertension or diabetes and requires ongoing maintenance and care to prevent relapse. Attending a medically-assisted detox center to safely withdrawal from ecstasy is ideal. In a detox center, users are kept away from harmful, outside influences who may tempt them to retake ecstasy or a different substance to cope with painful withdrawal symptoms.
When someone who is addicted to drugs attempts to quit cold-turkey, their body has built up a tolerance and a physical dependence on the substance. The user will experience painful withdrawal symptoms. This withdrawal and detox timeline is the part of the recovery process that comes with a high risk of relapse. Users will retake a drug or replace it with another substance in order to cope with withdrawal symptoms or alleviate them entirely. Medical detox centers remove access to drugs and alcohol and replace it with access to trained medical staff instead. Doctors can prescribe safe, non-addictive medications to alleviate the severity of withdrawal symptoms and lessen their severity.
People who become addicted to drugs have specific triggers for drug use. By attending a rehabilitation center, users can work closely with a trained therapist, and learn what their triggers are, and how to prevent them and learn to cope with triggers in healthy ways that don’t include turning to drugs and alcohol. With help from trained therapists and doctors, people who are addicted to ecstasy can go on to live a life free from addiction and drug abuse.
If you or a loved one are struggling with ecstasy abuse and addiction, there is help. Please contact the representatives at Windward Way to explore your options for detox and rehab.