What is Ecstasy?
MDMA (short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), more commonly known as Molly or Ecstasy. It is a synthetic drug that produces many powerful and potent effects on an individual’s mind and body and causes ecstasy addiction. At one time, the drug was only popular at parties, nightclubs, and raves, but it is now being seen more frequently being used recreationally in homes.
MDMA is similar to both hallucinogens and stimulants because it “produces feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth, and distorted sensory of time perception,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is most commonly consumed orally in the form of a tablet or capsule, but some individuals may snort the powder or swallow it in liquid form.
Ecstasy use in the year of 2014 was highest among adults at the age of 18 to 25, (where past month use was estimated at 0.8% of this population). So this drug is not as common as marijuana is, or as meth is, or even as heroin and prescription drugs are, but it is still quite common and prevalent in the nation today.
Ecstasy initially became popular in the nightclub scene in the 1980s, but use has since spread to a broader range of people who are now very excited about it and who use it and abuse it regularly too. This widespread ecstasy use has persisted over recent years while some specific demographics use it less now than in previous years.
Over half a million adults surveyed in the year 2014 were current ecstasy users and abusers of the drug. Over eight-hundred thousand were active users in 2015. This is an alarming number and a scary increase considering the high potential for ecstasy addiction and a wide range of harmful health effects that it can have on a person too.
How MDMA Affects Those Who Use It
One of the reasons why people do not stay away from MDMA is because they do not know or understand exactly why the substance is dangerous or what about the substance exactly makes it so dangerous. This could be made a lot clearer if people knew what this drug did to people mentally and physically. If this were the case, then fewer people would use it and abuse it.
MDMA increases the activity of three brain chemicals which create euphoric reactions but which are also very bad for the health of the mind and body:
- Dopamine is increased. This causes a surge of euphoria and increased energy/activity. But it also exerts the body’s brain and central nervous system in a dangerous, critical way.
- Norepinephrine is increased. Increases heart rate and blood pressure, which is especially risky for people with heart and blood vessel problems, or with anyone really, if this is taken too far.
- Serotonin is increased. Affects mood, appetite, sleep, and other functions in a pretty big way. It also triggers hormones that influence sexual arousal and trust in others. The release of large amounts of serotonin likely causes the emotional closeness, elevated mood, and empathy felt by MDMA users. It also causes people to make bad decisions that do not take their health or their overall lives into account.
When the dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels in a human’s body are so severely affected, this throws off the essential, chemical balance of the brain and central nervous system. It is very dangerous to do this because the effects can sometimes be permanent. From a chemical and biological standpoint, death can even occur if enough MDMA is used in one instance.
How Long Does MDMA Last?
The effects of MDMA last for about 3 to 6 hours. It is common for individuals to take a second dose when they feel the impact of the first dose begin to fade. It is sometimes taken along with other drugs such as marijuana and alcohol, so its effects can be stronger or lengthened.
The Side Effects of MDMA
MDMA may produce side effects such as nausea, teeth clenching, blurred vision, muscle cramps, sweating, and other mild problems. If an individual has been consuming moderate amounts over the course of a week, they may experience more severe effects, such as anxiety and depression, attention problems, irritability, changes in sexual behavior, aggression, changes in eating patterns, and sleeping problems.
Over time, MDMA can produce long-term effects on an individual. These effects of ecstasy addiction most commonly include the body being unable to regulate body temperature, which can lead to body temperature spikes. This can create problems for the major organs such as the kidneys, liver, and heart. Death may even occur in certain situations.
Can You Become Addicted to MDMA?
You can become addicted to MDMA, or your body can form a dependence on it. Addiction is when your body cannot function properly without the drug since it has been relying on it for so long. If you have formed a dependency, you will experience withdrawal symptoms in the absence of the drug, such as loss of appetite, depression, or fatigue. These withdrawal symptoms are a reason why people keep going back to the drug; people do not want to feel them.
If you have formed an addiction to MDMA or developed an ecstasy addiction, that means that your life has begun to revolve around the drug. Your mind and body have become attached to the drug, and you may have been engaging in some unusual behaviors that are not typical of you. Have you been having relationship problems with members of your family, engaging in risky behaviors such as breaking the law, or have been having severe financial difficulties as a result of addiction? If so, you need to get help right away.
The True Statistics on Ecstasy Addiction and MDMA Abuse
With other drugs causing a lot of havoc and upset in the nation of late, not as much attention has been placed on Ecstasy and MDMA. However, it is still a hazardous and prevalent drug. Ecstasy and MDMA run rampant through the nation and only get worse.
Some demographics don’t use it as much as they used to, but others use it even more than they used to:
- Nearly 7% of those of the age of 12 and older have used ecstasy at least once in their lifetime.
- Almost 1% of the same population of those who have ever used Ecstasy or MDMA has used it within the past year alone.
- About one out of every three-hundred Americans have used ecstasy within the previous month.
- Ecstasy use has remained relatively steady in the general population since 2009, with a slight growth occurring between 2014 and 2015. In 2013 for example, 751,000 persons aged 12 or older reported using ecstasy for the very first time.
- About 1.2% of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 had taken ecstasy at least once in their lives.
- An estimated 0.7% of adolescents reported taking ecstasy in the past year alone.
- Roughly 0.2% of adolescents reported using ecstasy in the previous month alone.
- An estimated 12% of young adults reported using ecstasy at least once in their entire lifetime.
- About 3.5% of young adults, (18-25), reported using the drug in the previous year alone.
- In the year of 2011, an estimated 22,498 emergency department, (ED), visits involved ecstasy use and abuse, with the majority of ED visits occurring among individuals of the age of 18 to 29. These ED visits involving ecstasy have more than doubled since the year 2004. Males represented nearly 70% of ED visits all in all, which is concurrent with typical uses of drugs and alcohol between men and women.
- In the year 2013, over 17 million Americans reported having used ecstasy at some point in their lives according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The 2013 NSDUH also showed that the rate of MDMA use is highest among 18-25-year-olds, with a full 12.8% reporting having ever tried it.
Addressing an MDMA Ecstasy Addiction Epidemic with Rehabilitation
MDMA and ecstasy addiction should be treated as soon as one suspects that they have a problem. Outpatient forms of treatment include counseling sessions, support groups, and more. Outpatient treatment programs are best for individuals who want to pursue their treatment while still living their normal life at home. By scheduling people to specific events weekly or daily, it will help to hold them accountable to stay on track.
Inpatient treatment means that individuals will remain at a treatment center. This form of therapy is best for people who want to escape everyday triggers of their addiction. Here, they will learn how to manage their addiction healthily and learn how to avoid relapse in the future. By learning about stress management, how to eat healthier, being involved in exercise classes, talking to like-minded individuals, and more, MDMA addiction sufferers will learn the skills they need to combat their addiction.
If you or a loved one is suffering from MDMA abuse or an ecstasy addiction, call A Forever Recovery at our toll-free number. At AFR, you will find the resources you need to achieve long-term sobriety from ecstasy addiction and a healthy lifestyle. Call us today to get started on your journey to recovery.