MDMA or Ecstasy
MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), popularly known as ecstasy, is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that has similarities to both the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. MDMA was initially popular among White adolescents and young adults in the nightclub scene or at “raves” (long dance parties), but the drug now affects a broader range of users and ethnicities.
The surge of serotonin caused by taking MDMA depletes the brain of this important chemical, however, causing negative aftereffects—including confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, and anxiety—that may occur soon after taking the drug or during the days or even weeks thereafter.
Some heavy MDMA users experience long-lasting confusion, depression, sleep abnormalities, and problems with attention and memory, although it is possible that some of these effects may be due to the use of other drugs in combination with MDMA (especially marijuana).
The neurotransmitter systems targeted by MDMA are the same as those targeted by other addictive drugs. Experiments have shown that animals will self-administer MDMA—an important indicator of a drug’s abuse potential—although the degree of self-administration is less than some other drugs of abuse such as cocaine.
It produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth and empathy toward others, and distortions in sensory and time perception.
MDMA can have many of the same physical effects as other stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines. These include increases in heart rate and blood pressure, which are particularly risky for people with circulatory problems or heart disease. MDMA users may experience other symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, and chills or sweating.
In high doses, MDMA can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature. On rare but unpredictable occasions, this can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), which can result in liver, kidney, or cardiovascular system failure or even death. MDMA can interfere with its own metabolism (breakdown within the body), causing potentially harmful levels to build up in the body if it is taken repeatedly within short periods of time.
Compounding the risks of ecstasy use is the fact that other potentially harmful drugs (including synthetic cathinones, the psychoactive ingredients in “bath salts”) are sometimes sold as ecstasy. These drugs can be neurotoxic or pose other unpredictable health risks. And ecstasy tablets that do contain MDMA may contain additional substances such as ephedrine (a stimulant), dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant), ketamine, caffeine, cocaine, or methamphetamine. The combination of MDMA with one or more of these drugs may be hazardous. Users who intentionally or unknowingly combine such a mixture with additional substances such as marijuana and alcohol may be putting themselves at even higher risk for adverse health effects.
Additionally, the closeness-promoting effects of MDMA and its use in sexually charged contexts (and especially in combination with sildenafil) may encourage unsafe sex, which is a risk factor for contracting or spreading HIV and hepatitis.
Source: NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
Research Drugs of Abuse
I learned a lot about addiction and disease and how to not feel guilty about my past. I was able to stay clean and get the help I needed by coming to class and talking and listening.
I came here wanting help and ADS has provided more than expected. I thank them very much.
I really enjoyed coming to class. It helped me a lot. Thank you.
ADS saved my life and are some of the greatest people I’ve ever known.
Excellent therapist and teacher.
This program is a good place. Without it, I don’t know where I would be right now. Thank you guys!
IOP and Aftercare have really helped me in my addiction and to know what to do in the future. Thanks for giving me my life back.
Everyone at both clinics (East & West) are extremely wonderful and helpful. I feel like they’re family.
It helps to be able to talk with someone.
Email a Counselor
Request a Presentation
Submit Your Request
Recent ADS Posts
- Alcohol and Drug Services (ADS) is partnering w...
- Hi, Guilford County! The time has come to elimi...
- With addiction and recovery getting more nation...
- It’s time to get rid of your outdated or ...
- Spectrum News published a segment the week of 1...