Ecstasy (“X” or “E”) has been a popular drug of abuse among youth since the 70s. Ecstasy first gained its foothold among young adults in the nightclub or rave scene, and has since then been the drug of choice for partygoers that want to stay awake through the night. Ecstasy abuse, however, is not solely limited to the party scene today. Its demographic stretches far beyond—there are approximately 9 million ecstasy users worldwide, and most are adolescents and young adults.
Ecstasy is the street name for MDMA (short for 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), an illegal drug that acts as both a stimulant and a psychedelic. An amphetamine-like stimulant, ecstasy is extremely energizing and many teens use the drug to stay awake as they party. Its hallucinatory properties, in combination, allow a user to experience a distortion of time and sensory perception. Tactile experiences become extremely pleasurable with MDMA abuse. A high on ecstasy gives users mental stimulation, emotional warmth, decreased anxiety, and great empathy towards others—contributing to its nickname, “the love drug.”
Despite common belief, this “love drug” is far from safe. Many adolescents and young adults today still believe that MDMA is safe and they will not get addicted to ecstasy. While there is consistent research being done on the addictive properties of MDMA, one thing is for certain: people can become psychologically dependent on the drug, and often do. MDMA affects the brain by increasing the levels of dopamine and serotonin in excess, contributing to great mood elevation and positive feelings throughout the entire body. Not only can a user get addicted to this sort of high easily, but this high also makes them unaware of what else their body may be experiencing while on the drug. Ecstasy can dangerously increase a body temperature (leading to kidney failure), heart rate (leading to arrhythmia), and blood pressure. Long-term abuse of ecstasy can damage neurons in the brain and lead to cognitive deficits, which is most problematic for the memory of adolescents still undergoing brain development.
Ecstasy can be found in pill form, which can be taken orally, snorted, or injected. Its effects last three to six hours on average, but typical users will take more than one dose in a single night—as soon as the effects of the first pill fade away. While ecstasy was originally pure MDMA, the street-drug can now contain just about anything: rat poison, detergent, and aspirin are just a few. Many ecstasy users do not know what they are taking. In fact, less than 10 percent of Ecstasy pills on the market were pure MDMA. Imagine the effects (and risks) of “X” today.
Warning Signs of Ecstasy Addiction
The fact that ecstasy can contain toxic components makes its side effects, and its risks, unpredictable much of the time. If your teen has developed an ecstasy addiction, professional treatment will need to intervene. Users addicted to ecstasy continually increase their dosages in order to feel the same effects, because they’ve developed a tolerance. This begins promptly after one’s first ecstasy pill. The more one takes of “X,” the worse its adverse effects will be.
Upon using the drug, users run the risk of:
- Muscle cramping
- Blurred vision
- Dehydration (often associated with the mix of alcohol)
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Hypothermia (sharp rise in body temperature)
- Liver failure
- Hallucinations: Ecstasy contains hallucinogens, which cause people to see things that are not really there. These can throw a user into a bad place or time, a scary or sad experience, and be a potential threat to that person and those around him.
After one week of using ecstasy, users may experience:
- Sleep Disturbances
- Lack of appetite
- Significant reduction of mental capabilities
After prolonged ecstasy abuse, adolescents may develop:
- Long-lasting confusion
- Problems with attention and memory
- Mood and anxiety disorders
Ecstasy Addiction Treatment
Many ecstasy users report symptoms of dependence, and continue use despite the risks of the MDMA drug. If your teen is addicted, he will no longer respond to the effects of ecstasy, and can develop withdrawal symptoms after going without the drug. Despite popular belief, ecstasy abuse can lead to addiction in some form or another, and can cause both physical and psychological harm on its users.
As a result, it is vital to seek ecstasy addiction treatment for your son. His drug abuse can not only affect himself or his future, but also yours and those around him. Look for these warning signs of an ecstasy addiction, and call us immediately if you believe he is using. Turning Point’s treatment program for young men can be his next step to recovery and a drug-free lifestyle. Your teen does not need to use drugs to enjoy himself, and he does not have to put himself at risk for the sake of a good time. Turning Point’s Preparative Care program features various healthy, recreational activities that we’ve found to be most enjoyable for teens. Replace your son’s drug habits with nourishing ones for the mind and body. Contact us today at 877-581-1793 for more information.