Ecstasy is a psychoactive, synthetic drug similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. Also called 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), it is an illegal drug which is both a psychedelic and a stimulant. It goes by popular street names such as, “Molly,” “Adams” and “E.”
First discovered in Germany, it was initially used to treat uterine bleeding. However, soon it became popular as a party drug, used extensively by white adults and teenagers in the underground rave scenes of the early 1980s. Since then ecstasy has become a rage across the world, widely in use in the United Kingdom and the United States. Although, not the leading cause of death, ecstasy can cause hyperthermia (heat stroke), hyponatremia (water intoxication) and in some cases, heart attack or suffocation.
Use of ecstasy promotes feelings of well-being and happiness as well as energy, pleasure, and warmth. It has been seen that people who use ecstasy also consume marijuana and are more likely to abuse other drugs like LSD, cocaine, heroin or consume it along with alcohol, making it riskier for the abuser. It is mostly available in the form of a pill or a capsule, though some people consume it in the liquid form or snort it as a powder.
Ecstasy is known to interfere with the brain’s pleasure center and is classified as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It increases the activity of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Though it is less habit forming, it affects those parts of the brain that control sleep, aggression, mood, and response to pain.
Ecstasy usually comes in the form of colorful pills and tablets of various shapes and colors, with attractive designs, like hearts, stars etc., stamped on them It has no approved medical usage. What makes it addictive is the feeling of euphoria, greater self-confidence, reduced fatigue, and heightened feelings of love and empathy that its users feel upon its consumption. Since Ecstasy promotes production of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, it reduces anxiety and depression among its users.
Once addicted, people start using MDMA more frequently to overcome inhibitions, and experience heightened alertness, greater energy and better mood. However, ecstasy abuse has its downside. It results in nausea, muscle cramping, sleep problems, higher heart rate, and increased blood pressure, among others.
Though not all people who take the drug become addicted to it, it has a high potential for physical and psychological addiction. Following are some of the signs and symptoms of ecstasy addiction:
Ecstasy is popular among youngsters because it induces a sense of euphoria in its users, and gives a feeling of reduced social anxiety, stress or fear. It also enhances tactile sensations, introspection and empathy. The effects of the drug do not last long, which is why the users end up taking additional doses when the effects start to wear off. The primary effects of the drug last for up to a few hours, however, the secondary effects of MDMA like depression, can last for as long as a week after the last use.
However, use of ecstasy is harmful for the human body. It adversely impacts the regulation of body temperature by affecting the release of three major neurotransmitters and stimulating the nervous systems. As a result, the user is unable to feel the body overheating, causing them to get dangerously warm without realizing it. This condition is called hyperthermia and can lead to death.
An ecstasy overdose increases the risk of overheating, and many inexperienced users end up overhydrating that may lead to hyponatremia or water poisoning. When the body consumes water in excess, its sodium levels become unbalanced, causing the organs, including the brain, to swell. When the brain expands too much, it risks crushing the brain stem that may result in coma or death.
Some users combine ecstasy with other substances like alcohol to increase its impact. However, this can result in an effect that is opposite to that usually created by stimulants. When people already suffering with existing issues related to heart, blood pressure and breathing, abuse ecstasy, they put themselves at a higher risk of heart attacks or suffocation – the latter due to MDMA’s tendency to cause sleep apnea. Apart from this, overdose can result in kidney and liver failure as well as bleeding in the lungs, though rare.
For effective treatment for ecstasy addiction, a teen needs to undergo a thorough evaluation of their mental and physical health. Based on the results, our medical team devises a plan comprising medically assisted detox, medications, behavioral therapies, and counselling sessions. After the conclusion of treatment, continuing support is offered in the form of intervention and access to support groups.
The pre-admission assessment is an essential part of planning the treatment process as it allows our team to understand why the teen started using ecstasy in the first place. It then addresses the reason so that recovery is long-lasting.
As medication has a time-bound effect, teens at ADEONA Healthcare are encouraged to participate in therapy, which can break their negative thought pattern and encourages them to think in a constructive manner. Once the therapies are complete, and treatment time has concluded, enrolling into continuing care is important to ensure lasting recovery.
A leader in teen addiction treatment, ADEONA Healthcare of Rancho San Diego provides customized, research-backed treatment interventions in a safe and secure environment. Our comprehensive plans for teens aged 12-17 are aimed at offering high level of care to teen patients.
Our team of experienced psychologists and clinicians supervise the detox process by which the patient can get rid of all the toxins accumulated in the body because of years of ecstasy abuse. In addition to medications, we also offer therapies like solution-focused therapy (SFT), dialectical behavior therapy (BDT) and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), increasing the chances of long-term recovery.
We address not only the visible addiction and mental health problem, but also the invisible behavior and personal issues as well, giving us an edge over other treatment centers. None of our patients have required another round of therapies or treatment for the same addiction or mental health problem.
For more information about our evidence-based treatment plans for ecstasy addiction for adolescents and teens, call our 24/7 helpline (888) 997-3966 or chat online with a trained representative.