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Ecstasy Addiction: The Signs and Symptoms of MDMA Abuse

what is ecstasy addiction

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Ecstasy addiction stems from the influence it has on neurotransmitters in the brain. As both a stimulant and a hallucinogenic drug, ecstasy has unique properties which make it popular amongst the younger generation, who are looking for party drugs. MDMA abuse is often the reason Ecstasy addiction develops. When used as a party drug, it is rare that the substance is pure in its entirety. The other substances in the drug, as well as the psychological effects, create a craving for the drug which is often the beginning of MDMA addiction. So what are the other causes and symptoms of MDMA addiction?

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Table of Contents

What Causes Ecstasy Addiction?

young woman taking a pillEcstasy is a stimulant with hallucinogenic properties. It is the standard street name for MDMA. Addiction to Ecstasy is often psychological and due to the other substances mixed in with the MDMA, exaggerating its influence over the user. According to the National Institute Of Drug Abuse, Ecstasy targets the same neurotransmitters in the brain, that other addictive drugs do. This highlights the potential danger of getting hooked on the drug and other ecstasy side effects.
Due to rarely being over 10% in purity, Ecstasy abuse is always a significant health hazard. MDMA can be mixed with anything from caffeine and rat poison to cocaine, which makes it highly dangerous and can increase the chance of Ecstasy addiction.
MDMA health dangers may include things such as:

  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Increased psychomotor activity
  • Increased perspiration and sweating
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite
In addition to these dangers, MDMA is a popular party drug. This means users take it when going to clubs and bars. They often do not recognize they are building up to addiction, which puts them at greater risk of these symptoms and ecstasy overdose.

The Signs and Symptoms of Ecstasy Abuse

Due to the dangers of MDMA, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of Ecstasy abuse. Ecstasy drug abuse has clear characteristics which make the user stand out from the average person.
These characteristics include symptoms such as:

  • Lack of inhibition
  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Jaw tightness
  • No appetite
  • Mood changes and euphoria
  • Enlightenment
  • Heighten sexuality
  • Increased alertness
  • Temperature changes

Facts and Statistics about Ecstasy Use

MDMA Pills being passed around in a nightclub.

MDMA is a renowned gateway drug, which is partly why MDMA addiction is considered so dangerous. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, most MDMA users are teenagers. More than 10 percent of those users are high school seniors and have tried MDMA at least once. Over 2 percent have used the drug in the past month. This highlights the fact that MDMA is introduced to people at a young age.

After developing MDMA addiction a tolerance, they may wish to move on to a stronger drug to seek the same high effect. The drugs they seek out could well be the same drugs they had mixed in unknowingly during their Ecstasy drug addiction.

Due to the increasing frequency of MDMA abuse in youth, emergency room visits have rapidly increased, and danger from the drug is rising, according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse For Teens. With almost 5% of all 12th graders have used the drug, and an estimated 92% of regular users going on to more extreme drug abuse, MDMA addiction is the gateway to a far more deadly addiction.

Treatment and Recovery for Ecstasy Drug Abuse

There are some treatments and recovery programs available for MDMA addiction. Treatment for ecstasy abuse could be as simple as medications like other drugs or natural substances, or it could take place in treatment care centers.
Here are some of the options available for MDMA addiction treatment:

  • Inpatient Centers: Inpatient centers allow round the clock attention and care to ensure users don’t have to rely on MDMA. They help the user deal with withdrawal and give them structure. Inpatient care will often include therapy of various kinds to suit a range of patients.
  • Outpatient Care: This is a more flexible form of treatment. Patients can stay at home and receive regular care by visiting centers for therapy or medication. They can continue their day to day lives without being interrupted, yet still, overcome their addiction. This method is also useful for keeping former inpatient users from relapsing.
  • Medication: There are a few substitute drugs which can be used to help guide the user away from an MDMA addiction. Medication will also help with ecstasy withdrawal symptoms.
  • Natural Medication: Some natural remedies are available instead of drugs when it comes to treating Ecstasy addiction. They will also help relieve withdrawal symptoms somewhat while substituting the drug.
  • Individual Therapy: This will provide the user with ways of coping with cravings for MDMA. Individual therapy will also look into the causes of MDMA abuse and seem to prevent them from happening again.
  • Group Therapy: Group therapy is a great way to get an outsider’s perspective on Ecstasy addiction. The group will also be users trying to overcome their addiction. Therefore everybody can support one another in fighting it.
  • Disorder Therapy: This will help with the possible mental health issues caused by MDMA addiction. It will help the user find other ways of dealing with their mental health problems while encouraging them to counter them.

For treatment to be a success in any of these areas, dedication is needed. Recognizing MDMA addiction is always a good start. However, there has to be a personal desire and belief that quitting may be succeeding.
Successful treatment may integrate a number of these treatment methods to form a collective way of recovery that provides both treatment and coping mechanisms.

Ecstasy Addiction – Staying Sober

Ecstasy provides the user with such a buzz that can make them want the drug more and more. If one manages to achieve successful detoxification from MDMA, it is vital not to slip up and restart the process of addiction from the beginning.

There are some ways to cope with cravings which are taught through addiction programs, sticking to those methods and remaining on the right path is vital for maintaining a healthy life. Because MDMA is a gateway drug, it becomes all the more important to stay sober. Therefore one should ensure about having the support after the detox is completed.

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Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Isaak Stotts

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


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