What Is Ecstasy (MDMA)?
Ecstasy is a potent central nervous system stimulant that also has hallucinogenic properties. It was initially developed as an appetite suppressant, but it quickly became famous for its ability to produce feelings of euphoria and enhance sensations. The drug was widely used in the 1980s and 90s, especially at raves. Today, ecstasy is still popular worldwide, but it’s often cut with other ingredients that can cause unexpected effects or be dangerous.
Why Is Ecstasy So Addictive?
Ecstasy works by flooding the brain with serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. This increase in neurotransmitters leads to increased energy levels and an altered sense of time and pleasure. Once a person uses ecstasy regularly, it can be difficult for them to feel normal without being high or intoxicated from their drug use, so they continue taking more even when there are negative consequences at home, work, school and so forth.
Ecstasy Abuse Signs
The signs of ecstasy abuse are usually pretty easy to spot. They include:
- Dilated pupils. Just like many other stimulants, ecstasy will dilate your pupils.
- Rapid eye movement. If you notice someone staring at a fixed point with their eyes rapidly moving from side to side, they might be on ecstasy. This symptom can also indicate methamphetamine abuse.
- Fast talking. High people tend to talk excessively than usual and have difficulty carrying on a conversation or staying focused.
- Dry mouth. Dry mouth is expected when coming down from ecstasy or amphetamine (speed) use.
- Lack of coordination and balance problems. This could be because the drug makes it hard for blood pressure to regulate itself, which affects body temperature regulation and muscle control.
- Excessive sweating. Although this symptom is not specific to ecstasy, you will often see people on the drug sweating more than usual.
- Loss of appetite. MDMA can suppress your appetite, which in turn causes weight loss.
- Tremors. These uncontrollable shakes are usually a sign of ecstasy abuse
How Does Ecstasy Affect the Brain?
Ecstasy has numerous effects on the brain, including:
Many people report that they suddenly become very energetic when using this drug. However, it can cause fatigue as well, depending on how much was taken and if other drugs were used simultaneously.
Ecstasy suppresses hunger, so most people who use it tend to eat less than usual. Many will even forget to eat altogether, making them lose weight quickly over time with prolonged use.
Many people who use ecstasy report that they experience memory problems and difficulty thinking clearly. This is because the drug affects serotonin levels in your brain, which are responsible for mood regulation and some cognitive functions like learning, reasoning and decision-making abilities.
How Does Ecstasy Affect the Body?
Ecstasy affects your body in many ways, including:
MDMA depletes serotonin levels which regulates muscle control and movement, so if you take too much ecstasy at once, your muscles will cramp.
The drug also causes muscle tension which contributes to body stiffness and tremors.
Many people who use ecstasy report feeling restless inside their bodies, making them unable to sit still for very long. They feel hot and sweaty, but they may not regulate their temperature correctly due to increased sweating caused by the drug.
Ecstasy is known to trigger attacks, especially when mixed with drugs like MAO inhibitors or SSRIs (antidepressants) as well as cocaine, methamphetamine or ketamine.
Rapid Heart Rate
The drug increases blood flow so it also speeds up your heartbeat. This can be dangerous for people with existing cardiovascular conditions.
High or Low Blood Pressure
Ecstasy can cause either high or low blood pressure, which could lead to a heart attack if it drops too low.
Increased Body Temperature
Ecstasy users tend to feel very hot and may even experience heatstroke when the drug wears off. Those who use this drug while dancing also risk overheating along with dehydration.
You might get chills as your body tries to regulate its temperature by producing sweat on some parts of your skin to cool down (like underneath your armpits) and creating goosebumps where there isn’t much insulation like on your arms.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Ecstasy
Even though it’s a relatively short-acting stimulant that leaves your system quickly after use, quitting Ecstasy suddenly may cause some pretty severe withdrawal symptoms such as:
Depression and Anxiety
The way serotonin works is affected by taking large doses of ecstasy over time. When you stop using it or take too much at once, levels drop and result in depression. This also contributes to feelings of fatigue and sadness mixed with irritability.
Because Ecstasy increases dopamine levels in your brain, you might find it difficult to fall or stay asleep after coming down from the drug. The primary cause of this is because serotonin helps regulate sleep-wake cycles.
Some people who use ecstasy report that they see and hear things that aren’t real when withdrawing from the drug. This symptom happens more often if other drugs were used with MDMA as well.
Another common withdrawal symptom involves increased anxiety and feelings of paranoia. Someone may feel like everyone is out to get them making social situations very uncomfortable for those experiencing these effects even though there’s no real threat. This symptom can also be indicative of schizophrenia or other forms of psychosis.
Treatment Options for People With an Addiction to Ecstasy
Ecstasy is a very potent stimulant, so it’s essential to seek help from medical professionals when trying to quit. The first step in recovery is detox, and since this drug can be fatal, professional supervision with trained addiction specialists may be necessary for a while. This means that you will need to go into an inpatient or outpatient rehab facility where there are doctors on call 24/7 for any issues that might arise while weaning yourself off of Ecstasy.
The most common treatment options for ecstasy include:
Treatment in a Residential Rehab Facility
Many people find that the best way to treat their addiction is in a residential rehab center with 24-hour care and support. This means living on-site at the treatment program while going through detox and therapy for several weeks until you’re ready to transition back into everyday life.
Inpatient or Outpatient Rehab Programs
There are other forms of intensive day treatment where you live at home but go directly from your place of residence to an offsite location during specific hours each day for individualized therapies, counseling sessions, medical monitoring, etc.
Some people have success quitting Ecstasy by attending 12-step meetings where they can get peer support and share their experiences and struggles with addiction. This also includes support groups like SMART Recovery, where you can get online help for quitting using ecstasy.
Group Therapies, Such as CBT and DBT
Some people find it helpful to attend group therapies during treatment with a focus on changing behavior, thought patterns and feelings that contribute to their addiction. These types of groups include Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).
Ecstasy detox is a long process where you gradually taper off of your drug use so the body can adjust to getting back to normal serotonin levels. This means that it’s possible to experience some pretty severe side effects as MDMA leaves your system, and those who want to quit taking Ecstasy may find this very difficult without professional help to manage their symptoms. Most people find success with staying in treatment for a while after they stop using Ecstasy because it makes the transition much smoother than quitting cold turkey on their own.
What Can You Do If You’re Struggling With Ecstasy Addiction?
If you’re dealing with ecstasy withdrawal symptoms, there are several things that you can do to cope. These include:
- Avoid any triggers. Staying away from people, places or activities that remind you of the drug is often helpful when trying to quit MDMA because this will make quitting easier on yourself in the long run.
- Exercise regularly. Another way to deal with ecstasy cravings when they arise is exercising, especially if you like participating in physical activity, anyway. This helps distract your mind while giving your body a healthy boost as well, which in return may help you feel better in the long run.
- Eat a balanced diet. When going through an ecstasy detox, it’s essential to eat healthy foods that will give your body what it needs, so make sure to avoid anything processed or unhealthy for a while until your serotonin levels have been restored. Start eating more nutrient-dense food and drink plenty of water each day if needed because this will help with any potential mood swings from quitting MDMA too soon.
Ecstasy addiction signs can be hard to recognize by others, but they’re also easy enough to spot once you know what symptoms look like specifically. If someone is struggling with something out of character, then there might be some underlying issues beneath the surface which means they need professional treatment before it’s too late.
Tips on How to Avoid Ecstasy in the Future
Ecstasy abuse is on the rise, so it’s essential to know how to avoid addiction or relapse after quitting. A good way of doing this is by staying committed to your sobriety and creating a sober support network where you have people who are always available for encouragement, advice, assistance with cravings, etc. This can be invaluable when trying to stay clean because some people may go back out using Ecstasy due to loneliness or stress, which only worsens the problem.
To help prevent drug involvement in the future:
Stay Away From Old Friends
The best thing that someone struggling with an addiction can do for their long-term sobriety is to cut ties with anyone they used drugs with before, even if it means losing friendships that you’ve had for years. There will be plenty of time to make new friends who won’t try to get you involved in using drugs later on down the road, but your immediate support network must be made up of people who don’t use or drink.
Find a Hobby
Finding a hobby can help prevent boredom, loneliness and stress, which are three factors that cause many former addicts to relapse, so find something creative like writing, painting, dancing and so on. It doesn’t have to be anything significant as long as it gives you a sense of purpose outside your relationship with ecstasy.
Go Back to School
If you’re having problems staying focused because day-to-day life has become too dull without being high all the time, you might want to consider going back to school for further education, which will give your life more purpose and structure. Even if it’s just taking a few classes to pass the time while working in an entry-level job, this can be enough motivation to keep someone sober because there are always new opportunities on the horizon when you have something else that matters other than getting high.
Set Realistic Goals
It’s essential to set realistic goals that you know you can accomplish so you don’t feel overwhelmed and give up on them. There’s nothing wrong with setting high standards if you’re confident that you can meet them, but some people get discouraged when they feel like there is too much of a gap between where their life is now and what it will be after going through rehab treatment.
In conclusion, ecstasy addiction is serious, but it’s not the end of your life. Ecstasy abuse treatment options are available that can help you get sober and stay clean for years to come if you’re willing to make an effort in rehab. We hope that this article enables you to get started on the right track. If you’re looking for more information or guidance on how to recover from ecstasy addiction, please feel free to contact us at (855) 491-7694 or visit our site here at the link provided.