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A fixture in clubs since the 1980s, Ecstasy is a designer drug that combines the effects of stimulants and hallucinogens. A common name for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA, Ecstasy is a synthetic drug known to cause changes in mood and awareness levels of its users. A stimulant and mild hallucinogen, Ecstasy remains a Schedule I drug due to its high rate of abuse and high risk for causing harm to one’s health.

More popularly known as “Molly,” the drug creates feelings of energy, pleasure and warmth when consumed. Of course, this is assuming that the drug in question actually is Ecstasy. Like most club drugs, Ecstasy is often combined with other drugs – or other drugs are falsely sold as Ecstasy. According to research, many Ecstasy tablets contain not only MDMA but also various other drugs such as cocaine, ketamine, caffeine and methamphetamine. Somebody expecting Ecstasy’s effects might be in for a shock when the pill assumed to be Ecstasy actually turns out to be an over-the-counter cold pill or a dose of ketamine.

While there are no specific treatments for MDMA abuse, cognitive behavioral interventions continue to be the most sought-after interventions designed to help modify patient’s thinking, behavior and help in his or her long-term recovery. At Sovereign Health, we understand that substance use can be a sign of deeper problems. Providing each of our patients a holistic combination of traditional as well as experiential therapies including yoga, meditation and expressive arts therapy, the treatment team at Sovereign Health ensures that our clients receive a comprehensive treatment for Ecstasy abuse with best chances at a lasting recovery.

Ecstasy addiction

Ecstasy is usually sold in pill or capsule form, although the pills can also be ground up and snorted – which is dangerous as many of the binders used in pills can be harmful if inhaled. Also, many users frequently use Ecstasy along with other drugs like alcohol – which can be risky. Ecstasy is a stimulant, allowing users to stay awake longer and drink for longer periods of time, creating a risk of alcohol poisoning.

People abuse Ecstasy because it feels good; the drug affects the levels of both dopamine and serotonin in users, creating feelings of euphoria, trust and warmth towards others. It’s also why the drug is playing a role in research on people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and intense social anxiety. However, taking Ecstasy in a monitored clinical environment is very different from the chaos of a rave party.

The effects of Ecstasy does not last very long – around six hours for a strong dose. Often, Ecstasy users take additional doses when the effects start to wear off. Since Ecstasy is often mixed with amphetamines, extended use of Ecstasy often leaves its users grinding their teeth and jaws. The drug can also increase the body temperature. Ecstasy, when used in an active, hot setting, can cause problems with the body’s ability to regulate temperature and may even cause liver, kidney, and cardiovascular failure, and even death.

Ecstasy addiction: Signs and symptoms

Often abused for its ability to diminish inhibition, increase alertness and enhance energy, Ecstasy can trigger reactions from several brain chemicals to produce a range of feelings and emotions. Following are some of the common signs and symptoms of Ecstasy addiction:

  • High energy
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Increased body temperature
  • Feelings of euphoria and warmth towards others
  • Teeth grinding/jaw clenching
  • Anxiety, sadness and/or irritability after prolonged Ecstasy use

Additionally, someone taking a high dosage of Ecstasy may experience delusions, hallucinations or a psychotic state.

Ecstasy addiction: Red flags

Ecstasy users may also exhibit some short-term and negative long-term effects that stay on for months post using the drug. Following are some common warning signs or red flags to spot Ecstasy abuse in users:

  • Hyperthermia from increased body temperature
  • Additional dangers from hyperthermia, including organ failure, seizures, and coma
  • Dehydration
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle tension
  • Higher heart rate
  • Increase in high-risk behaviors

 Inside the body

The active ingredient in Ecstasy, MDMA, works by making three brain chemicals more active. By increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine, users of Ecstasy feel increased energy levels along with euphoric sensations. MDMA also causes increased levels of serotonin, a mood-affecting neurotransmitter. Increase in serotonin levels is what gives Ecstasy users the sensations of warmth and empathy when they are on the drug. Finally, Ecstasy also affects norepinephrine, a hormone and neurotransmitter which affects blood pressure and heart rate. This makes Ecstasy use risky for those who have cardiovascular problems.

Once off the drugs, Ecstasy users may find a drop in many pleasurable effects. For instance, depletion of serotonin may make Ecstasy users experience poor memory, confusion, insomnia and depression, among others.

While research on Ecstasy addiction is still ongoing, tests on animals have suggested that MDMA is less addictive than other stimulants such as cocaine. Some steady users of Ecstasy have reported experiencing mild Ecstasy withdrawal symptoms including fatigue, and problems with concentration and appetite loss.

However, it’s important to remember that other drugs are often sold as, or combined with, MDMA. These drugs, including amphetamines, ketamine and even cocaine, are extremely addictive and can still ruin a person’s life – even if he or she never intended to take these drugs in the first place.

Recovering from Ecstasy abuse

Those suffering from Ecstasy addiction should seek out a professionally monitored Ecstasy detox treatment at certified Ecstasy detox centers. A comprehensive treatment for Ecstasy addiction involves medically assisted detoxification treatment followed by behavioral therapies or counseling.

While medically assisted detox program helps the patient get rid of the toxic substances and handle the initial, intense withdrawal symptoms, behavioral counseling can help uncover any underlying illness and avoid any relapse.

Addiction often isn’t merely a physical problem – often, a psychological cause such as trauma drives addiction. Taking a holistic view towards treatment, Sovereign Health provides its patients with a comprehensive treatment that treats them in both mind and body.

Why choose Sovereign Health?

As women are more vulnerable to the serious health consequences of drug abuse and are at higher risk of developing an addiction, Sovereign’s women-only rehab facility in Chandler, Arizona, offers female patients treatment in a private, comfortable and safe environment. An expert treatment provider for substance use disorders, Sovereign Health’s facility in Chandler, Arizona, is dedicated exclusively to treating our female patients. In addition to offering our patients traditional, evidence-based therapies such as individual, group, and family psychotherapy, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), we also offer experiential therapy including music therapy, expressive arts therapy, equine therapy, yoga, meditation, and much more. Additionally, patients can attend 12-step programs, psychotherapy sessions and even engage in art therapy as part of their treatment.

As a dual licensed network of facilities, treatment at our Chandler, Arizona, facility is geared towards the needs of women in treatment and offers round-the-clock crisis intervention to all our female patients. At our facility, patients can live in comfortable, safe environments located in quiet residential neighborhoods. For more information about our treatment for abuse of club drugs or to locate the finest addiction treatment facilities, near you, please speak to our admission specialists at our 24/7 helpline number. You can even chat online with our representative for further assistance.

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