If you have tried ecstasy or know someone who uses it regularly, you may wonder if you can get addicted to ecstasy. This illegal substance is often associated with partying, dance raves, music festivals, and being popular with teens and young adults. However, people of all ages use ecstasy.
What is Ecstasy?
Ecstasy, which is also known as “E,” “X,” “Molly,” and MDMA, is a combination of a hallucinogen and stimulant. Its scientific name is 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. The drug is synthetically made, meaning it is cooked up in a lab by combining different ingredients and made into a pill. In 2018, 2.5 million people used ecstasy, according to the NCDAS (National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics).
How Do People Use Ecstasy?
Ecstasy is often taken as a pill. However, some people will crush up the tablets and snort the powder or dissolve the powder in water and inject it. Many people also combine ecstasy use with alcohol or other drugs.
How Does Ecstasy Make You Feel?
Since ecstasy is a hallucinogen and stimulant, it stimulates the brain’s forced release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are natural chemicals that regulate moods, feelings, pleasure, and pain.
- Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation, cognitive functions, and memory.
- Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that causes us to feel motivated, satisfied, and experience pleasure.
- Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that increases blood pressure and heart rates and can trigger an increase in adrenaline.
As a result, people can feel energized, happy, and euphoric from the stimulant effects. In addition, the hallucinogenic effects of ecstasy can cause distortions to sensory perceptions and time while making them experience warm feelings of empathy.
Can You Get Addicted to Ecstasy?
The effects of ecstasy last between three and six hours. However, many people will take another dose within a few hours of the first one to keep the effects going. This is because the brain remembers any positive effects experienced as rewarding behaviors. As such, the brain will cause cravings for ecstasy. In addition, once someone tries the drug and experiences its effects, they often want to experience them again.
The more often one uses ecstasy, the body will gradually develop a tolerance to the drug. As tolerance increases, it will require larger doses of ecstasy to achieve the desired effects. Furthermore, if someone is using ecstasy with alcohol or other drugs, the combined effects can also reinforce continued use of ecstasy when the effects are pleasurable and enjoyable.
Common Signs of Ecstasy Use Disorder
Ecstasy use often starts out of curiosity, seeing one’s friends experience the drug’s effects, peer pressure, or experimentation. Unfortunately, this can put a person on the path to dependence and eventual addiction. Some of the more common signs of ecstasy use disorder to be aware of include:
- Looking forward to using ecstasy
- A change in friends and relationships
- Engaging in risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex with multiple partners
- Not keeping up with personal responsibilities, attending school, or going to work
- Staying out all night
- Sleeping for a long time after ecstasy wears off
- Experiencing financial problems
- Having frequent mood swings when not under the influence of ecstasy
- Inability to stop using ecstasy even when one wants to stop
- Hiding one’s ecstasy drug use from others
- Downplaying the seriousness of one’s ecstasy use
- Engaging in drug-seeking behaviors
- Stealing money or valuables from friends and family
Is Using Ecstasy Dangerous?
Sadly, many teens and young adults believe using ecstasy is safe, and they can stop using the drug whenever they want. However, ecstasy causes chemical changes in the brain that causes psychological dependence and leads to addiction. So stopping ecstasy is not as simple as going “cold turkey.”
In addition, the vast majority of ecstasy being sold is not pure. According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, since 1995, less than 10% of ecstasy pills were pure. The ecstasy on the street today is a mixture of different substances, some of which can be deadly.
Some of the things being found in ecstasy pills include rat poison, bath salts, fentanyl, ketamine, meth, aspirin, caffeine, and drain cleaner. Unfortunately, young people are still not afraid to take the drug, which could have deadly results simply by taking a single pill.
Ecstasy Comedown and Withdrawal Symptoms
When the effects of ecstasy wear off, people will experience a comedown of ecstasy crash with the following withdrawal symptoms:
- A sad or depressed state that lasts for several days
- A lack of energy and feeling overly tired
- Easily irritated and agitated
- Feeling dissatisfied with one’s life
- Feeling overly anxious and on edge
- An increase in appetite
When a person uses ecstasy long-term, they could also experience thoughts of self-harm and suicide as part of their withdrawal symptoms.
Ecstasy Detox and Addiction Treatment in Columbus, OH
At Ohio Addiction Recovery Center in Columbus, OH, we are here to help you when you are ready to stop using ecstasy. We offer customized medically supervised detox and addiction treatment programs. For further information or to start your ecstasy detox contact us today.