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Treating Ecstasy Addiction
Ecstasy is a well-known party drug that affects one’s body and mind by altering their sense of well-being, stimulating their body, and distorting time and senses. Because of the nature of the drug, Ecstasy addiction can occur quickly and easily within users. Ecstasy contains 3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) which was created in Germany in 1912 and originally known by the drug name methylsafrylaminc.
Its original purpose was as a parent drug, intended to synthesize drugs that helped control bleeding. However, it was quickly picked up by psychiatrists who used it for their patients experiencing psychosis. They believed that it helped them gain better insight into their problems while increasing their ability to communicate.
Between 1970 and 1980 when it gained popularity amongst psychiatrists, MDMA also became more active and available on the street. In 1985, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) declared an emergency ban of the substance, labeling it as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs have no medical use and high potential for abuse.
As Ecstasy is known for being a party drug that people often binge on occasion instead of one that is taken on a regular or daily basis (although it may escalate to this), it requires specific treatment that aligns with the person and their needs.
Ecstasy Use Statistics
Unfortunately, this ban on MDMA hasn’t helped much, as more and more people continue to use Ecstasy on a regular basis. In 2014, The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than 17 million people over the age of 12 had used MDMA at least once, an increase from 11 million 10 years prior.
Another study found that 11.8% of all drug-related emergency room visits mentioned the use of MDMA alone or amongst other substances. The majority of these patients were between 18 to 20 years old.
MDMA is used almost equally amongst genders, although males tend to take Ecstasy in larger doses while females use more frequently. In addition to that, LGBTQ+ people are more likely to have used MDMA in the past 30 days when compared to their heterosexual counterparts.
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Ecstasy, MDMA, And Molly: What’s The Difference?
Ecstasy is one common slang term or street name for the drug MDMA. MDMA is a pure drug, while Ecstasy is often cut with other, more dangerous substances such as Heroin, Methamphetamines, Ketamine, Caffeine, Ephedrine, Phencyclidine (PCP), and Cocaine.
Many users are unaware of the fact that the drugs they’re taking are cut with other substances, potentially resulting in even more dangerous consequences. “Molly,” another slang term for MDMA that’s cut with other substances, often doesn’t have MDMA in it at all.
Because of the risk associated with never knowing what drug they’re taking, those addicted to Ecstasy may have addictions to other drugs, like Cocaine, Heroin, or Methamphetamine without knowing it. This makes the desire to use even stronger, as they’re often attempting to satiate withdrawal symptoms from these powerful and highly addictive drugs.
How Does Ecstasy Affect The Body?
Ecstasy may make people feel good in the moment (short-term gratification), but the feeling is fleeting. During and after use, users may experience the following symptoms:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Hot flashes
- Restless legs
- Disorganized or illogical thoughts
- Lack of appetite
- Jaw clenching
- Faintness or loss of consciousness
- Panic attacks
- Rise in body temperature
As many people use Ecstasy at music festivals or parties, this act of binging and withdrawing can cause adverse side effects, including anxiety, aggression, irritability, dehydration, seizures, and permanent damage to the heart.
Social Influence And Ecstasy Addiction
Ecstasy is a social drug, meaning that people often use it around others instead of by themselves. Because of this, many people often try Ecstasy or Molly for the first time because of outside influence. Maybe they were invited to a party where their friends were doing it or they went to a rave where it was being passed out for free.
This increased social usage can cause many problems. Especially in people with social anxiety disorder or other mental health issues, saying “no” may seem scary or impossible. Using the drug once can easily progress to regular use and ultimately an addiction.
At social gatherings, people tend to use Ecstasy repeatedly. When the effects of the first dose begin to wear off after a few hours, they’ll often take more to maintain their “high.” Re-dosing increases the risk of serious side effects.
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How Is MDMA Use Disorder Treated?
While some other addictions, like alcohol or Opioid addiction can be treated with the use of medication, there are no FDA-approved medications available to treat MDMA use disorder at this time. However, some physicians believe that the use of anti-depressants can help to improve chemicals in the brain responsible for a sense of well-being and combat negative feelings during detox. The most effective treatment for frequent users of Ecstasy is detox, followed by inpatient or outpatient treatment.
Dedicating time to therapy, support groups, and talking with a sponsor can also help to keep someone sober.
Detoxing from Ecstasy use can cause many psychological symptoms, so it’s easy for someone struggling with substance abuse to feel alone or isolated during this time. Those symptoms may include:
When detox is monitored by a medical professional, it ensures that these symptoms are handled professionally and quickly so those facing recovery do not have to suffer through the withdrawal period.
Ongoing recovery from Ecstasy use may include the management of one’s triggers, such as avoiding parties or certain people that they may link back to the time in which they used. Managing these triggers and keeping oneself away from situations that may cause them to relapse can help to greatly improve one’s chance of sustaining sobriety.
Treatment Centers For Ecstasy Addiction
Recovering from a substance use disorder depends on an individual’s level of needs. While outpatient treatment centers may be great for some, others may benefit more from an inpatient treatment facility where they don’t have access to the drug at any point during their recovery.
Finding a treatment facility that specializes in the treatment of party drugs like Ecstasy is an integral step in one’s recovery. To find a treatment center, contact a treatment provider.
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