We often hear about substances of abuse that cause people to grapple with physical dependency and subsequent withdrawal symptoms when they stop using. A large majority of mind-altering substances, such as heroin, cocaine, and alcohol, are not just psychologically addictive, but physically addictive as well. But, there are several other substances that are commonly abused that do not always create the strong physical dependence that we see in people hooked on benzodiazepines or meth. For those who abuse ecstasy, it might be difficult to denote if what they are experiencing is ecstasy addiction or not, as it is not always black and white when it comes to this psychostimulant.
What is Ecstasy?
Ecstasy, which is also known as MDMA or molly (but only when it comes in a crystallized form), is a popular club drug that creates several desirable effects. Those who abuse ecstasy do so for the stimulating high it produces, as well as effects such as euphoria, stronger connection to others, lowered inhibitions, and fearlessness. When ecstasy is abused, however, it can cause unpleasant hallucinations, dehydration, panic attacks, and life-threatening health problems like seizures and heart attacks.
Ecstasy was first developed in the early 1900’s in Germany, but has since become one of the most popular drugs used in nightclubs, at raves, and at festivals. It first rose to popularity in the United States in the 1980’s and continues to be a go-to drug for those looking to enhance their social experiences. But, one thing that is constantly being asked is if a person can develop an ecstasy addiction or not.
Can You Have an Ecstasy Addiction?
Several studies have been conducted on whether a person can develop an ecstasy addiction or not. Some studies say yes, while others are on the fence. However, the easiest way to answer this question is to have a better understanding of what qualifies as addiction and what does not.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), some of the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder includes the following:
- Continuing to abuse a substance for longer than intended
- Experiencing negative effects of the substance use but still using anyway
- Losing sight of responsibilities and duties at home, work, and/or school
- Spending a great deal of time using, thinking about using, or tracking down substances to use
- Feeling unable to function without abuse
These are just some of the diagnostic criteria the DSM-V outlines for substance use disorders. One symptom that is prominent in many substance abusers is the development of withdrawal symptoms, which occur when they are unable to use. But, in the DSM-V, this symptom is not applicable to those who abuse cannabis, inhalants, and hallucinogens like ecstasy. So, according to the DSM-V’s criteria for a substance use disorder (the clinical term for “addiction”), individuals can develop an ecstasy addiction, but it is usually psychological rather than physical.
What Does Ecstasy Addiction Look Like?
There is a common pathway that most people who find themselves addicted to drugs or alcohol take. At first, a person starts to use a substance in ways that it is not supposed to be used (e.g. using more than recommended, using substances not meant for consumption, etc.), which leads to habitual use. As the individual develops a habit of using one or more mind-altering substances, their body starts to grow tolerant to whatever substances they are taking. This means that in order for the individual to feel the effects of their chosen substance, they need to consume more because their body has become used to their regular dose. From there, an individual typically has to continue to increase their use because of the tolerance they continue to develop, which can lead to physical dependence. Someone who experiences withdrawal symptoms (physical, mental, or a combination of both) when they do not use the substance they regularly use and develops withdrawal symptoms is experiencing dependence. At that point, the psychological aspect of addiction starts to set in, where the individual no longer feels that they can function without using.
But, when it comes to ecstasy, many people do not experience the physical dependence portion of their addiction development. But, does this mean that a person cannot become addicted to ecstasy? No.
An ecstasy addiction is characterized by all the basic criteria that the DSM-V lays out for substance use disorders with the exception of withdrawal symptoms and physical dependence. This is because people do not need to be physically hooked on a drug in order to develop addictive behaviors and actions. Many individuals who abuse ecstasy do so because they feel like they have to do so or they cannot have fun, won’t connect with others, won’t be interesting, or cannot find other ways to dull symptoms of other issues such as anxiety or depression. When a person feels as though they cannot psychologically function without a mind-altering substance, their substance abuse problem is just as serious as someone who is physically dependent.
Thankfully, ecstasy addiction is something that has been treated for decades. With professional therapeutic services, pharmacological resources, and unwavering guidance, individuals with ecstasy addiction can stop their active use once and for all.
Drug Rehab in Ohio
We understand the challenges you are facing as a result of your ecstasy abuse. We know that you might have your doubts about your addiction, as may your loved ones. But, if you feel like you are struggling to control your ecstasy use or that you cannot function without it, it is time to reach out and ask for help.
If you are ready to get started on your road to recovery, call us right now. We will connect you with one of our compassionate, experienced admissions specialists who can help answer all of your questions and get the ball rolling.
You do not need to continue to live in your active ecstasy addiction. You have the power to break through and find light at the end of the tunnel. Call us today — we can help.