MDMA is better known as ecstasy or Molly. This synthetic drug gained notoriety in the late 1980s at clubs, parties and raves. Since then, its identity as a party drug has made it popular outside that context as well.
Ecstasy has properties of both a stimulant and a hallucinogen, with a strong sensory component that heightens the sense of touch and leads to (generally pleasant) visual distortions. It is popular in party settings because it amplifies feelings of empathy and sexual arousal.
Usually purchased as taken as a tablet or capsule, ecstasy is sometimes used as a liquid or a powder. It is often adulterated with cheap fillers or other drugs like meth or synthetic cathinones (a.k.a. “Bath salts). There’s no way to know how pure or how concentrated a dose of ecstasy may be when purchased, so it is possible to overdose — either on the MDMA itself, or on the substance(s) with which it has been cut.
In an attempt to enhance sex while on ecstasy, many people intentionally combine it with other stimulants, including cocaine, meth, or ketamine. Meanwhile, others augment the hallucinogenic qualities of ecstasy by pairing it with LSD. And some prefer the combination of ecstasy with depressants like marijuana and alcohol. In each case, the addition of other substances can mask the effects of ecstasy — and vice versa — in turn raising the likelihood of accidental overdose.
The jury is still out as to whether or not MDMA causes physical addiction. However, there is no question about the fact that it causes psychological dependence, as well as long-term mental health problems. For example, consistent abuse over time has been known to worsen symptoms of anxiety disorders. It can also cause permanent damage to neurotransmitters in the brain. In addition, long-term use of ecstasy can cause problems like:
Ecstasy is regularly used in tandem with other drugs (such as marijuana, alcohol, or cocaine) to augment the high from each one. Many of those substances are addictive in their own right and cause their own set of physical and behavioral problems as well.
In short, MDMA causes the brain to release a large influx of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. The result, at least at first, is pleasurable, both emotionally and physically. However, it also often has much less pleasant side effects, including:
Generally, a dose of ecstasy is fully metabolized after three to six hours — depending on the potency of the dose, of course. Because it wears off quickly, many people take another dose in order to prolong the high. When it does wear off, however, the side effects are unpleasant:
Over time and with regular use, ecstasy inhibits the body’s ability to produce its own “feel-good” chemicals of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Consistent abuse can also cause permanent damage to the brain pathways involved in mood and other behaviors.
While ecstasy may not be as “hard” as other drugs we encounter, it can have a profound effect when abused — especially long term. That’s why, at Harbor Village, we work to identify the causes of your dependence on ecstasy and any other substances. And in doing so, we can apply the best possible drug rehab treatment for you, including therapy, holistic approaches, and medication. As part of our residential inpatient treatment or our outpatient programs for addiction treatment, you’ll learn better ways to address your emotions, so you can enjoy life without ecstasy — and without the crash that inevitably follows MDMA abuse. A healthier, more authentic life is waiting for you in recovery. Let’s get started today.