Treatment For Ecstasy Addiction


Club drugs, such as Ecstasy, ketamine and LSD, are taken by many young people in the United States. Ecstasy is considered to be one of the “club drugs” as it has popularly abused by teens and young adults who attend large music festivals, dance parties and raves. Young people may take the drug to stay awake for long periods of time, to enhance positive feelings and help them feel more in sync with other people around them.

Ecstasy Versus Molly

Ecstasy is a powerful synthetic drug that contains varying levels of MDMA, or 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. Ecstasy can be bought as a pressed pill or tablet. Ecstasy tablets generally have a brand or logo imprinted on them to identify its manufacturer or distinguish different types of pills from one another. Ecstasy pills and tablets can also be laced with other drugs, although people who take Ecstasy tablets often lack knowledge of the drugs that are actually contained in them.

The so-called “pure” form of MDMA, known as Molly, is commonly is sold as white crystalline powder or capsule. Despite the common belief that Molly is safer and more pure than its Ecstasy counterpart, the powder or capsules sold as MDMA can contain other harmful drugs such as “bath salts.”

How Does It Work?

It takes fifteen minutes to an hour for Ecstasy to start causing effects, which can last anywhere from three to six hours. Also known as E, Molly, candy, rolls and X, Ecstasy is taken by people to increase positive feelings, including warmth, empathy and personal well-being.

The hallucinogenic properties of Ecstasy can alter a person’s sensory perceptions and sense of time. These effects are caused by the ability of the main psychoactive ingredient, MDMA, to increase the activity of brain chemicals (or neurotransmitters), including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

Short-Term Effects

The short-term effects associated with Ecstasy are typically about the same as those experienced by users of pure MDMA or “Molly,” although people who purchase Ecstasy pills on the street may expose themselves to unknown risks as these drugs can be cut with other drugs and chemicals, including baby powder, caffeine, ketamine, methamphetamine and heroin. The short-term effects of Ecstasy include:

  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Damage to kidney, heart and liver
  • Problems with temperature regulation
  • Heat-related illnesses (Hyperthermia) such as heat stroke
  • Blurry vision
  • Involuntary jaw clenching and grinding teeth
  • Chills and/or sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Feeling confused
  • Anxiety or paranoia

Ecstasy Overdose

People who take high amounts of Ecstasy can overdose, which can affect the body’s temperature regulation. Heat-related problems can damage organs in the body, including the brain, heart, liver and kidney. Ecstasy overdoses can be fatal as they can lead to a loss of consciousness, seizures, heat strokes, coma, heart attacks due to high or irregular heart rate, and even death.

Ecstasy abuse can be extremely dangerous. People who take too high of a dose or repeatedly take Ecstasy over a long period of time are at a greater risk of experiencing health problems such as:

  • Liver, kidney and heart damage
  • Neuronal damage
  • Brain lacerations
  • Mental health problems such as psychosis and depression
  • Death due to dehydration, heart attacks, exhaustion or other complications

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Ecstasy Withdrawal Symptoms

Long-term abuse of Ecstasy can lead to cognitive problems, including impairments in memory, thinking and information processing abilities. As MDMA contained in Ecstasy can affect neurotransmitters, long-term abuse of the drug can contribute to dysregulation of these important brain chemicals. Many people who take Ecstasy repeatedly are likely to deplete their levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which is important for regulating mood, appetite and sleep. Recovering from ecstasy can be a very difficult problem to overcome.

Ecstasy withdrawal symptoms may be more significant for those who take Ecstasy for longer periods of time. In addition, people who take Ecstasy laced with other drugs may experience other withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

In the days and weeks after a person takes Ecstasy, he or she may experience:

  • Irritability or aggression
  • Restlessness or sleep problems
  • Impulsiveness
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Appetite changes (eating less)

Although researchers are unclear as to whether users can develop Ecstasy addiction, the drug does contain highly addictive drugs such as methamphetamine and heroin. For this reason, there may be greater withdrawal effects experienced by people who take certain Ecstasy pills.

Ecstasy Addiction Treatment

At Sovereign Health of California, treatment for Ecstasy involves a holistic approach and individualized treatment plans to meet each patient’s needs. All patients in treatment for Ecstasy addiction receive thorough medical and biopsychosocial assessments upon admission. Our comprehensive behavioral health services include evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), alternative and complementary treatments such as equine therapy and neurofeedback, and experiential treatments.

To learn more about the treatment of Ecstasy abuse and addiction at Sovereign Health of California, please contact our 24/7 helpline and speak to a member of our team.

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