Facts and Effects of MDMA/Ecstasy

MDMA, short for 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, and commonly known as molly, X, E, rolls, or ecstasy is a laboratory-made drug that has the properties of both amphetamines and psychedelic drugs. These stimulant and psychedelic properties produce a euphoric effect that makes users feel more sociable and alert, making it a popular drug in the nightclub scene.

MDMA was originally used in the treatment of certain psychological conditions, such as PTSD. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration has classified MDMA as a Schedule I drug. This means that it has no known therapeutic value and a high potential for the development of addiction and abuse, and is potentially dangerous for humans.

MDMA Facts

Molly is most often used in powder form. Ecstasy is generally taken in pill form. Although users consider Molly to be a more form of MDMA, both ecstasy and Molly contain MDMA in some form.

Many different research studies have analyzed the various forms of MDMA and found that other substances, such as caffeine, cocaine, and PCP, are often “cut” into the pills or powder. As a result, the concentration of MDMA varies widely from supplier to supplier. According to researchers’ recent evidence, much of the MDMA sold today contains several other harmful drugs, including “bath salts,” and may have little-to-no MDMA at all.

Despite its popularity among club-goers, a number of studies have shown that when people take a significant amount of MDMA it can lead to a number of potentially dangerous side effects. 

Short-Term Effects of MDMA Use

MDMA use produces an increase in energy, feelings of empathy toward others, emotional warmth, and sensory distortions. After someone uses ecstasy, it is also not uncommon for them to experience a severe “crash” (e.g., depression and emotional withdrawal) in the days following use. This crash can lead to other issues, including:

  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Restlessness.
  • Cognitive impairment.
  • Issues with memory and attention.

MDMA use can also result in hyperthermia — a rapid increase in body temperature. If left unaddressed, hyperthermia can result in dehydration, overheating, and other related issues. Other short-term physical side effects of MDMA use include: 

  • Teeth grinding.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Nausea.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Excessive sweating.

Long-Term Effects of MDMA Use

Long-term use of MDMA can result in some serious potential side effects. When a person takes MDMA, there is a massive release of neurotransmitters. Over time, the brain compensates by producing fewer of these important neurotransmitters resulting in changes in various neurobiological pathways that can lead to serious emotional and cognitive long-term issues.

Other potential physical effects of chronic MDMA use include:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
  • Renal issues (kidney failure).
  • Liver damage.

What is MDMA Abuse?

The potential for chronic use of MDMA can produce a number of emotional, psychological, and behavioral symptoms that would indicate the presence of a substance use disorder — the clinical term for addiction. However, there is mixed evidence about whether or not prolonged use of MDMA results in physical dependence (e.g., tolerance and withdrawal). However, there is a growing body of research that MDMA is a potential drug of abuse and its chronic use or abuse can result in a substance use disorder.

Individuals who appear to be the most vulnerable to developing a substance use disorder related to MDMA use are between 16 and 24 years old. Some of the signs an individual might be abusing MDMA include:

  • The individual appears to have a sudden rush of energy and even appears to be hyperactive. They may also stay awake for long periods without resting.
  • A person may be uncharacteristically friendly, talkative, or display unusual amounts of physical affection (e.g., hugging or kissing).
  • The person may overheat easily, excessively sweat, but also complain of chills.
  • Pupils may be dilated and the individual may display sensitivity to light and sound.
  • After this observable period of time, the person may be uncharacteristically quiet, seem depressed, or withdrawn.
  • These patterns of extreme energy and sociability followed by periods of apathy, isolation, irritability, and depression occur in conjunction with the individual going to nightclubs, parties, or other social gatherings. 

Treatment Options for Ecstasy Abuse

MDMA — or ecstasy — is a drug that is most often used by adolescents and young adults while out at nightclubs or parties. Peer-led programs tailored to drive awareness may be the most effective way to treat ecstasy abuse. However, it is not uncommon for individuals who use MDMA to also use other drugs, such as cocaine or alcohol.

If you are concerned about a loved one’s ecstasy, drug or alcohol abuse  — or want to find an inpatient drug rehab near Tampa for yourself — it’s important to understand what treatment options are available. Depending on your loved one’s needs, different levels of care are available to treat drug and alcohol addiction, including:

Can I Use My Insurance to Pay for Rehab?

Most health plans offer some level of insurance coverage for rehab. If you’re underinsured or don’t have insurance there are other ways to pay for rehab, including payment plans. If you’re not sure what option is best for you call us at . Our knowledgeable and compassionate admissions navigators are here to answer your questions, explain the treatment admission process, and get you on the road to recovery at our rehab center in Tampa, Florida.


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