Ecstasy and Ecstasy Addiction
MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), also known commonly as ecstasy, is a synthetic amphetamine and belongs to a class of drugs called “entactogens,” and is a stimulant. Ecstasy addiction has become an increased problem over the past two decades. Ecstasy is a dangerous drug that is proven to cause permanent brain damage to users. Ecstasy addicts may encounter similar problems as cocaine or methamphetamine addicts. There are severe short and long term psychological consequences and effects associated with ecstasy addiction.
Ecstasy is not as physically addiction as other stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine, however the drug is strongly psychologically addictive. Since the drug is often used along with other “club drugs,” there may be associated addictions that must be treated along with the ecstasy addiction. Ecstasy treatment involves helping addicts overcome their addiction to ecstasy and other addictions. Ecstasy treatment may involve psychological counseling, detoxification, individual and group therapy, and other forms of therapy and treatment as necessary.
Ecstasy addicts include both adolescents and adults, and ecstasy treatment of each patient requires a unique and individualized assessment and management. With new studies on the drug that demonstrate serious long and short term health and psychological risks associated with ecstasy addiction, ecstasy treatment is of the utmost priority for addicts.
Ecstasy addiction crosses all boundaries of race, demographics, sex, and background. There are up to 11 million Americans age 12 or older who have used ecstasy at some point in their lives. Studies show that 43% of young and adolescent ecstasy users meet the criteria for ecstasy addiction. There is also a large adult population which meets the diagnostic criteria for ecstasy addiction.
Addiction of ecstasy is characterized by a desire to continue using the drug without concern for the physical and psychological harm that can come from it. Ecstasy addicts may also have a desire to stop using the drug but are unable to do so. Ecstasy addiction is also characterized by adverse effects on the life of the ecstasy addict such as decreased performance in school or at work. Ecstasy addicts may be likely to attend all night parties or raves where they take ecstasy and other drugs out of the sight of concerned family or friends.
The signs of ecstasy addiction may be initially difficult to spot. Ecstasy addiction is the easiest to spot when ecstasy addicts are on the drug. The drug causes adverse effects that are noticeable in users. Baby pacifiers are a type of paraphernalia associated with ecstasy addiction. These are used to reduce damage from the clenching of teeth which is a side effect of ecstasy use. Vicks inhalants or cough drops are also used to intensify the sensations of the ecstasy high. Finding strange looking and branded pills (many have branded logos such as Nike, Mercedes, or other logos) is almost always a sure sign of an ecstasy or other type of drug addiction.
Effects of Ecstasy Addiction and Ecstasy Use
There are several physical and psychological effects of ecstasy addiction and use. Ecstasy has serious effects on the brain that are documented in numerous studies. MDMA (ecstasy) is shown to block the uptake of serotonin in the brain, and this causes serotonin levels to build up in the brain. A Johns Hopkins University study shows that MDMA caused brain damage in users who reported using the drug an average of 200 times over a period of five years. Brain scans showed that MDMA damaged anywhere from 20 to 60 percent of the brain cells involved in serotonin regulation. This is just one known effect, and full effects of MDMA on the brain are complicated and still being studied.
MDMA affects the body in a number of ways. The drug’s effects begin around 20 minutes after intake and continue for up to 6 hours. In some cases, symptoms persist longer. Immediate physical effects include dilated pupils, loss of appetite, sweating, increased heart rate, and jaw clenching. Immediate psychological effects include increased confidence, a feeling of euphoria, and a feeling of closeness to others.
High doses may result in convulsions, irrational behavior, vomiting, and hallucinations. Death has been reported in association with ecstasy use either alone or in combination with other club drugs. Death may occur through heart attack, stroke, and hyperthermia. Ecstasy may cause users to feel overconfident, and psychological side effects can make driving motor vehicles very dangerous while high on the drug. Long term effects of ecstasy addiction include kidney failure, brain damage, and circulatory problems. Some of the long term psychological effects of ecstasy addiction include anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and cravings.
Ecstasy treatment is a high priority in cases of ecstasy addiction because of the risks of brain damage associated with the use of MDMA and other serious psychological risks. Treatment is available for all types of ecstasy addicts and includes treatment at drug rehab centers, detoxification with treatment of withdrawal symptoms, counseling for psychological disorders associated with MDMA use, outpatient counseling, group therapy, and other forms of therapy as needed.
Drug rehab centers are excellent choices for ecstasy treatment. There are some dangers associated with ecstasy detoxification and the drug withdrawal associated with ecstasy treatment. This is because patients may react very unexpectedly to the cravings and psychological symptoms of ecstasy withdrawal. Patients may experience several symptoms and often need to be monitored, which is why drug rehab centers are a good choice for ecstasy treatment. Common symptoms of withdrawal from ecstasy addiction include depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, paranoia, and other symptoms.
Club drug addictions such as ecstasy addictions require unique ecstasy treatment plans for each case. Individuals may have addictions to other club drugs besides ecstasy and thus patients may require multiple forms of treatment. Drug rehab centers treat ecstasy addicts with an individual assessment, supportive group care, outpatient therapy services, individualized counseling, family programs, and detoxification if necessary.
Drug rehab centers are capable of treating ecstasy addiction and club drug addictions with therapies that are designed to bring patients back to normal societal functioning. They not only treat the addiction but they treat the underlying causes which may be driving ecstasy addicts to drug abuse. Ecstasy treatment lasts as long as each patient requires, and for many ecstasy addicts, treatment on an outpatient level can go on for several months as the patient readjusts to a normal life and stabilizes.