We treat Ecstasy addiction
Popularly known as a ‘club’ drug, Ecstasy is commonly sold in nightclubs in pill and powder form. In powder form, Ecstasy is known as MDNA.
Understanding Ecstasy addiction
- Ecstasy pills come in a variety of shapes and can be white or coloured. MDNA is typically white or grey.
- Common street names for Ecstasy include E, XTC, Love Doves, Brownies, Molly, Edward, Sweeties, and Mandy.
- Users take Ecstasy by swallowing pills, although it is common for people to crush the pills up and snort them.
- MDMA powder is rubbed into the gums or swallowed wrapped in cigarette paper (called ‘bombing’). Both are unpleasantly bitter in taste.
- Ecstasy pills can also contain elements of other drugs (such as amphetamines) that are more dangerous and take longer to kick in. This is why taking a whole Ecstasy pill in one go can be life-threatening.
- Drinking too much liquid (alcoholic or otherwise), can also prove dangerous when under the influence of Ecstasy, as the drug can cause the body to release a hormone that stops the creation of urine, affecting the body’s salt balance which can prove deadly.
- The amount of time Ecstasy stays in a person’s system depends on the amount consumed, the person’s weight and build, whether food has been consumed, and whether any other substances have been taken. The drug can be detected in a urine sample between 1-4 days after consumption.
- Ecstasy typically takes around 30 minutes to take effect. Some more dangerous drugs sold as Ecstasy take longer than this.
- A user generally feels high on Ecstasy for around 2-4 hours. It is also possible to feel some effects of Ecstasy (such as a fast heart rate), long after the high has been experienced.
- After taking Ecstasy, the ‘comedown’ period lasts for several days. During this time, a user can experience very low moods.
- Ecstasy pills are very unpredictable and it is very difficult to know how a person will react to them. A whole pill should be taken in stages (such as half or a quarter), as it is very dangerous to take an entire pill in one go.
- Likewise, MDMA can be life-threatening if large amounts of powder are consumed in one go. The use of Ecstasy has been linked to kidney, heart, and liver-related health problems. Those with heart conditions can also have very dangerous reactions to the drug.
- Ecstasy can affect the body’s overall temperature and increases the chances of a person overheating and suffering from dehydration.
- Those with mental health problems who take Ecstasy may develop long-term problems with memory, depression, and anxiety.
What are the effects of Ecstasy abuse?
Ecstasy generally makes people who take it very happy and euphoric for a short period of time – this is known as a ‘high’. It also makes a person feel very affectionate towards total strangers they are with, overwhelmed or in awe of objects and people, and highly energetic. People under the influence of Ecstasy typically lose their inhibitions and become very talkative. They may also do or say things that are completely out of character.
Other side effects of Ecstasy abuse include:
- Dilated pupils
- Increased body temperature
- Feeling tingles
- Tightening of the jaw muscles
- Extreme bursts of energy
- Staying awake for long periods
- Reduced sense of pain
- Being impulsive
- Clenching the teeth
- Dry mouth and thirst
- Feeling promiscuous
- A desire to touch and feel things
- Heightened emotions
What are the warning signs of an Ecstasy addiction?
Long-term Ecstasy use has been linked to impaired cognitive function, with users struggling to use logic and reason, solve problems, process new information, and demonstrate emotional intelligence. Those who take Ecstasy on a very frequent basis may struggle to function, feel pleasure, or regulate their emotions without the drug. If you or someone you love has a problem with Ecstasy addiction or abuse, it is very important that you seek help straight away.
Long-term warning signs of Ecstasy addiction include:
- Degeneration in the nervous system
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Irreversible brain damage
- Kidney failure
- Wanting to repeatedly take more Ecstasy, in larger amounts
- Spending increasing amounts of money on Ecstasy
- Mood swings
- Heart issues
- Confusion and disorientation
- Memory loss
What are Ecstasy withdrawal symptoms?
Long-term use of Ecstasy can lead to a person neglecting social and work responsibilities as they focus more and more on their addiction. Those who frequently abuse the drug also have a high risk of doing things that are very out of character or considered impulsive and dangerous, or even illegal. Rather than experiencing withdrawal, a person abusing Ecstasy can feel very low as the comedown phase of the drug happens and the substance wears off. This is often the phase when they crave more Ecstasy.
Comedown symptoms include:
- Low mood and depression
- Panic attacks
- Lack of libido
- Hostility and aggression
- Problems with motor control
- Mental confusion
- Poor appetite
- Inability to sleep
How to support someone with Ecstasy addiction
Research has indicated that frequent use of Ecstasy can cause brain damage. This can happen even after a few doses of the drug, and the damage can be either permanent or last for several years. Memory loss and struggles with cognitive function are main ongoing effects of long term use. If you believe that a loved one may be struggling with an ecstasy addiction, the first step is to start a conversation about seeking help and treatment. This doesn’t have to be an intervention and involve the addict’s other family and friends.
Recognising that you or someone you love has an addiction is the first step in getting help. It is a common falsehood that Ecstasy is not addictive, and many users, therefore, deny that they have a drug problem. If you are finding it difficult to get through to someone who is abusing drugs, it may be worthwhile staging an intervention.
What is the treatment of Ecstasy addiction?
Unlike other drugs, having treatment for Ecstasy addiction isn’t as physically uncomfortable or painful as other substances. However, strong psychological symptoms can be experienced, such as hallucinations, anxiety and confusion.
Treatment in a rehabilitation centre such as East Coast Recovery offers a controlled environment in which a user can be medically supervised. Receiving treatment in-centre is common. Medical professionals can monitor a person’s heart rate, temperature and hydration levels, as well as any changes in reflex and muscular action. Inpatient rehabilitation programmes, and in particular detox programmes, take 28 days. The length of time it takes for a person to recover depends on the severity of their addiction.
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