Key facts on Ecstasy addiction and treatment
Learning the facts about Ecstasy addiction and treatment can help you get your teen into treatment before serious damage can occur. Ecstasy is a popular synthetic drug that creates stimulant and hallucinogenic effects. Also known as X or XTC, Ecstasy is frequently used in clubs and has become a favorite on High School and college campuses. Ecstasy is not physically addictive, but some users develop psychological dependence that effectively mirrors the classic signs of addiction. For teens and young adults suffering from Ecstasy addiction, treatment in an accredited addiction treatment center holds the best promise of recovery.
What is Ecstasy?
Ecstasy is a common name for the chemical compound 3,4-Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, also known as MDMA or Molly when in powdered form. Many users who take Ecstasy choose the drug because they believe it to be one of the safer intoxicants. Actually, the tablets and powders sold as Ecstasy often contain synthetic cathinones (Bath salts) or other drugs, and may not contain any Ecstasy at all. Users often end up taking drugs that have serious side effects. There is an extensive list of dangerous drugs that are substituted or mixed with Ecstasy including cocaine, several different amphetamines, PCP, Ketamine, Dextromethorphan (DXM), and caffeine.
Signs of Ecstasy abuse
Ecstasy acts by increasing the activity of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, three key chemicals in the brain. These chemicals affect mood, sleepiness, heart rate, and perception. 20 minutes after users take Ecstasy, their brains experience bursts of serotonin. Within 60 to 90 minutes, users’ brains are flooded with serotonin and Ecstasy intoxication reaches its peak. Users experience mild hallucinogenic effects and report increased feelings of empathy as if they are “connected to everything”. Sensitivity increases, as does sexuality and the desire for physical contact. Many users become intensely emotional. Once Ecstasy wears off, users experience feelings of depression for several days due to serotonin depletion. If you are wondering if someone you know is abusing Ecstasy, look for these common signs of Ecstasy abuse:
- Dry mouth
- Excessive sweating
- Jaw clenching
- Teeth grinding
- Muscle cramps
- Blurred vision
- Marked rise in body temperature
- Hyperthermia (abnormally high body temperature)
- High Blood Pressure
- Excessive use of lollypops, lozenges, chewing gum to combat dry mouth
Dangers of Ecstasy Use
Ecstasy has been cited as a contributing factor in a number of deaths. In most of these cases, death occurred as a result of heatstroke and dehydration. High doses of Ecstasy can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature. Ecstasy’s euphoric, mildly hallucinogenic effects and stimulant properties can lead users to engage in strenuous activity in hot, crowded dance clubs for hours without stopping to replenish fluids lost to sweating. Heatstroke, heart attack, and coma can result.
Ecstasy Addiction Signs
While Ecstasy is not considered addictive in the same way that opioids and other drugs are, The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that users of Ecstasy display many classic signs of addiction. Users become tolerant to the drug, requiring larger doses to achieve the same effects, and they persist in abusing Ecstasy despite indications of physical and psychological harm. Individuals abusing Ecstasy often display symptoms of psychological addiction starting as soon as the first time they use the drug. Ecstasy addiction signs include:
- Severe anxiety
- Intense craving for the drug
- Sadness or depression
- Lack of interest in sex and food
- Sleep disturbances and insomnia
- Cognitive difficulties: confusion, problems concentrating, reduction in mental abilities, impaired information processing
Ecstasy Addiction Treatment
Ecstasy addiction treatment is available on an inpatient or outpatient basis. While there are no drugs approved for the treatment of Ecstasy addiction, behavioral therapy has proven to be highly effective when administered through an accredited Ecstasy addiction treatment program. Addicted individuals attend individual, group, and family therapy , where they discover the causes of their drug abuse. Patients are taught relapse prevention strategies and techniques for avoiding common triggers so they can avoid relapsing.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.