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effects of ecstasy

The Dangers of Ecstasy

By Jennifer McDougall

Many times when ecstasy users grab ahold of this drug, they don’t realize the amount of danger they are putting themselves in. Ecstasy is one of the scariest drugs because a person can overdose on it before they have time to rewind and retrace their steps or get any help.

Ecstasy eliminates the process in which one can recall events, remember specific things that happened while on the drug. It destroys Nigral cells in the brain, which cannot be recreated or brought back to life.  We are born with about 400,000 of these cells and once you lose under 250,000 of them you could be at risk for getting Parkinson’s disease.

Like many drugs, the chemicals and continued use, destroy parts of your body and vital organs that you need in order to live a long and healthy life.

Someone who abuses ecstasy increases their risk to develop a number of health problems down the road. As for more immediate affects, ecstasy has been known to cause panic attacks, blurred vision, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and too often, lead to death.

One of the more common places ecstasy is used, is at night clubs or live music venues. The reason for this is the rush that is created when someone combines substance, loud music, crowds of people, lots of movement, and low lights. Yes, it is a very dangerous combination and when a person participates in this type of activity, they can easily get caught up in the rush, the fun, the moment when they feel happy and alive; In that moment is when everything can turn and your life, body, and whole world can come crashing down on you in the blink of an eye.

When we use substances to try and increase the amount of “fun” we could have, we increase the chance of losing it all. Don’t be one of the many thousands of people each year who overdose on Ecstasy.

Symptoms of Overdose:

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Increased body temperature
  • Abdominal pain and pressure
  • Stiff muscles
  • Chest pain

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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Physical Effects of Ecstasy Abuse

What Does an Ecstasy High Feel Like?

Within an hour of taking ecstasy, users start to feel tingling on your skin, slight nausea and bursts of excitement. As ecstasy trips reach their peak, users often experience a sense of peace and happiness, as well as relaxation and heightened connectedness to the world and music. Inhibitions tend to lower with ecstasy use, and sensory perception becomes more pleasurable and more acute. Ecstasy often creates the illusion of deep, emotional bonds and mind-expanding thought. Self-confidence tends to increase, although it is still possible to have a “bad trip” on ecstasy, depending on the mood of the user.

What Are the Physical Effects of Ecstasy?

While ecstasy enhances perception of reality and the self, the drug also causes negative physical effects. One common side effect of ecstasy use is jaw clenching, known as “clamping.” This combined with dry mouth from dehydration lead users to suck on candies or chewing gum, sometimes with repeated ecstasy use leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Some less frequent physical effects include nausea and vomiting, as well as eye twitching or spasms. Heavy users sometimes experience periods of dizziness or vertigo that disappear when addiction resolves. As the euphoric effects fade, ecstasy users tend to feel physically drained and tired.

The most serious physical effect of ecstasy is hyperthermia—where body temperature rises too high—and remains the leading cause of ecstasy-related death. Since the active chemical in ecstasy pills—MDMA—disrupts the body’s natural temperature regulation system, users may not perceive that they are overheating, especially in dance club environments. This often leads ecstasy users to avoid necessary hydration and methods of cooling down, especially during all-night dancing episodes. One opposite but equally unfortunate side effect of ecstasy use is excessive water consumption that creates an electrolyte imbalance, called hyponatremia, causing brain swelling, and then ultimately death. This occurs as ecstasy users attempt to aggressively drink water to prevent dehydrations and overheating, making hypnoatremia the leading cause of ecstasy-related deaths.

Can You Overdose From Ecstasy?

Similar to other stimulants, ecstasy causes overdose associated with symptoms like rapid heart rate, agitation, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting. Those who are overweight and those who have been diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure or heart conditions carry a greater risk of ecstasy overdose.

Ecstasy Addiction Guide

What Is Ecstasy?

Ecstasy is the most common name for methylene-dioxymethyl amphetamine (MDMA)—a stimulant with hallucinogenic properties. Ecstasy ‘s street names include “X,” “E,” “Adam,” or “XTC.” The ecstasy compound was first synthesized in 1912, and found notoriety in the 1970s, when it began to gain popularity as a tool for opening up patients’ emotions in psychotherapy sessions. During the late 1980s and 1990s, ecstasy and many of its chemical cousins found their way onto the underground rave and dance club scenes, primarily to enhance the sensory dance experience, prevent exhaustion and facilitate social interaction.

What Does Ecstasy Look Like?

Pure ecstasy takes the form of a white crystalline powder, though the drug is almost never sold in loose powder form. More commonly, ecstasy is placed into capsules or pressed into colorful pills. Ecstasy pills are also often “branded” with different image imprints to designate given batches, using a wide variety of symbols ranging from cartoon characters to punctuation marks or more intricate designs. Ecstasy pills often contain only 100 mg of ecstasy, with the rest of the pill composed of talcum powders and food dye. On the street, the price of the pills is around $20, but can widely vary depending on purity, batch reputation and location.

How Is Ecstasy Used?

Often, ecstasy will be purchased from strangers at urban dance clubs, private underground parties, or large raves known as “massives.” Swallowing ecstasy in pill form is the most common means of ecstasy use, though it can also be diluted in water or another beverage and drank, with either form of ingestion generally taking 20 minutes to act. For a faster-acting high, some ecstasy users crush ecstasy pills into a fine MDMA powder, and ingest through snorting.  Rarely are ecstasy pills or powder chemically comprised entirely of MDMA—more often, ecstasy pills are cut with cheaper substances such as amphetamines or caffeine, adding to the stimulant effects of the drug.

Is Ecstasy Legal?

Despite ecstasy’s low potential for biochemical addiction, MDMA remains listed as one the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Schedule I drugs in the United States—a status usually reserved for highly addictive, dangerous drugs without any conceivable medical purpose

How Ecstasy Addiction Works

Is Ecstasy Physically Addictive?

Ecstasy in its purest form is not considered physically addictive in the traditional sense of the term. However, ecstasy does affect the brain’s neurotransmitters, which can lead to a chemical imbalance that helps fuel addiction.

What Causes Ecstasy Addiction?

Ecstasy acts on brain chemicals—known as “neurotransmitters”—that control and balance mood. One important neurotransmitter that ecstasy acts upon is serotonin, responsible for feelings of happiness, calm, and relaxation. Ecstasy floods the brain with serotonin, expending the brain’s serotonin reserves, and leaving the user experiencing a deficit of this important neurotransmitter once the drug exits the system. With repeated and prolonged use, the brain detects the overabundance of serotonin and scales back natural production.

Though this effect may only continue for a few days, users with weekly or more frequent use often experience withdrawal-induced depression. This effect, in combination with the intense euphoric feeling ecstasy produces—and the ecstasy high’s impact on the brain’s reward centers—can all combine to create a psychological addiction with chemical components.

Additionally, many ecstasy pills are not pure MDMA—ecstasy’s active ingredient—but contain cheaper substances, such as speed (amphetamines). Chemical filler drugs may have their own physical addictive properties and can contribute to ecstasy addiction when used in high doses (often due to heightened tolerance) and high frequency use.

What Are the Signs of Ecstasy Addiction?

Physical signs of ecstasy addiction include dilated pupils, high body temperatures, excessive thirst, hyperactivity (during an ecstasy trip) or lethargy (during the “come down” phase), and marked mood changes. Ecstasy users tend to attend all-night, secretive parties known as “raves.” Though not every fan of electronic music, techno, or trance genres uses ecstasy, these genres remain the most popular musical choices for those involved in the rave scene. Colorful beaded jewelry, mentholated jelly, paper surgical masks, and glow sticks are also common props used in the ecstasy-fueled underground dance party scene. Many ecstasy users, keep a large stash of hard candy, chewing gum, and even pacifiers, to prevent teeth grinding—a common side effect of ecstasy use.