Ecstasy Abuse – Identifying the Causes, Symptoms and Possible Treatment
Ecstasy, which is the street drug name for MDMA, was first introduced in 1912 and was later used as a tool to assist during psychotherapy sessions in the late 70’s and early 80’s. After there was a ban imposed on the drug, it then became the drug of choice of the raving scene during the 90’s.
While the popularity of the drug seemed to subside along with the raving scene, it has recently seen a re-emergence with even purer forms of MDMA hitting the market.
Ecstasy or MDMA abuse can have serious consequences, and without understanding the signs of it and the real dangers of heavy MDMA consumption, providing help becomes almost impossible. In this article, we’re going to give you a little background history on the drug, the signs and dangers of abuse, and what can be done about it.
What is Ecstasy Exactly, and What Does it Do?
Ecstasy is a modified form of methamphetamine, a very powerful and addictive amphetamine. It also shares many properties with the drug. Ecstasy initially works as a stimulant, but the stimulation levels can reach potentially dangerous heights.
The drug has the effect of raising the body temperature which can reach dangerous levels when compounded with several hours of dancing, which is often the case when MDMA is involved. The body temperature rise could even reach lethal levels in some cases.
This is because organs, especially the kidneys, will start to break down under intense heat, which can eventually lead to death.
Users will often report heightened sensory perception, feelings of being “at one” with the universe, and a need to be touched and touch others. But while the signs may seem positive at first glance, ecstasy can also lead to heightened paranoia and intense depression once the effects wear off.
How to Know if Someone is Using Ecstasy
There are a few things you could look out for to know if someone is an ecstasy user. If you find multi-colored pills with little logos on them in their pockets or bags, then it’s probably a sign that they’re using ecstasy or some form of amphetamine.
You should also look for signs of confusion, hyperactivity and physical signs like dilated pupils once the person comes home after a long night. Other signs you should be looking for is if the person suddenly has totally different sleeping habits or schedules and seem to have a lesser awareness of pain.
For instance, if you see them bumping themselves violently without even flinching, then it could be a sign that they’re under the influence.
What are the Long-Term Effects and Dangers of Ecstasy Abuse?
Ecstasy abuse can lead to many long term effects and can have a serious effect on the brain’s chemistry. MDMA and amphetamines downregulate dopamine receptors, which are responsible for the ability of your body to use dopamine, the body’s “feel good” drug.
But the goal of dopamine isn’t simply to feel good, but to support brain function as well. The inability to absorb dopamine can lead to severe depression, reduced memory and lower cognitive capabilities. It can also lead to severe paranoia, aggression, confusion and anxiety.
One of the biggest issues with ecstasy, however, is that it can be very difficult to tell how much you’re actually taking at any given moment. So, you could be taking wildly different dosages at any given time, making the impact of ecstasy very difficult to predict.
What Can be Done About it?
The treatment will depend on the amount of time the person has been using the drug. If they’ve been using ecstasy for a long time, then long-term rehab treatment might be recommended. This is especially true if it was taken in combination with other drugs.
You might also have to choose a treatment based on the person’s lifestyle. Parents with young children might want to consider outpatient treatment, for instance, if they still want to be able to take care of their families while getting help.
Ecstasy abuse can have disastrous consequences on its abusers and can lead to several physical and mental health issues that can aggravate severely if nothing is done about it. If you think you or someone you know may be struggling with an ecstasy addiction, we suggest that you address the situation quickly and seek professional help as soon as possible.