For many of us, when we think of ecstasy, we think of the drug which, as its name suggests, provides the user with a feeling of euphoria. But what many of us don’t realize is that the consequences of trying ecstasy detox can be quite the opposite experience. It is important for even the recreational user to be aware of what can happen to our body when we decide to take a step back from the drug, to detox. This article will highlight the process our body goes through when we decide to stop giving it its ecstasy. We’ll explore what withdrawal looks like and any possible side effects we can expect.
What is Detox?
First a word about what detoxing really means. The dictionary definition describes it as “a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances”. So basically we have gotten out bodies used to a certain product and now, for whatever reason we have chosen to stop providing our body with this substance. As many of us know, trying to change something we’re used to isn’t always easy. Whether it’s cutting out sugar from our diets or trying to quit smoking, it is difficult, and our body often does not want to give up the substance without a fight. This is where withdrawal and side effects come into play.
Why detox from Ecstasy in the first place?
The dangers of MDMA
Although there is no scientific evidence that people can become addicted to ecstasy, we do know that users can become psychologically dependent on it and, with recurring use, tolerant to it. Those are two excellent reasons to begin thinking about an ecstasy detox.
Another reason is the likelihood that you may not actually be taking pure MDMA (the scientific term for ecstasy). The drug can be administered in many forms including pills and capsules, although it can also be snorted or consumed in liquid form. The risk of taking pills, capsules or powder presented as pure ecstasy is that they can contain other drugs such as cocaine, ketamine or methamphetamine, just to name a few. Being unaware of what you’re taking is not only dangerous but can also be life threatening.
In the end it is a personal decision to detox, and the reasons and motivations behind it need to be your own. Because those reasons will motivate you to keep going through the hard times of withdrawal.
Once you have decided to begin your detox journey, the duration and experience you will face will vary from other people´s. We are here to provide you with some guidelines as to what to expect from your detox.
Before you start your detox
It is incredibly important that before you begin your ecstasy detox you have a medical consultation. For people who use ecstasy occasionally medical supervision may not be necessary, but for heavy users it is vital. On the other hand, consulting with a medical professional can help you form a safe and individualized plan for your detox, therefore it´s highly recommended. It will also provide you the opportunity of having specialized care if any issues do arise as well as the necessary follow up and long term care.
How to start
Detox starts as soon as the ecstasy begins to wear off, approximately 3-6 hours after the last time you used it. Essentially, every time you go for a second dose of ecstasy you are just postponing the start of your “come down” or withdrawal. Even first time users often describe the come down from ecstasy as a very hard experience. This is caused by the sensation of pleasure, emotional happiness, feelings of increased energy and a distorted sense of time and space brought on by the drug. But once it begins to wear off you lose all that, which can cause a feeling of depression. However, if you can resist taking a second dose you are on the way to beginning your detox. It takes 3-4 days for your body to get rid of all the toxins found in ecstasy.
Signs and Symptoms
As with anything regarding the human body and its reaction to substances, the symptoms of ecstasy detox will vary from person to person. Though mild symptoms may not require medical attention, those heavily dependent on ecstasy should expect increased effects, which absolutely may require medical care and supervision during the process. Another thing to keep in mind is that even if someone has no previous history of mental illness heavy use of ecstasy has been known to cause psychosis, in which case medical attention must be immediately administered.
The most common symptoms of ecstasy withdrawal are:
- lack of motivation
- loss of appetite
- trouble concentrating
Additional withdrawal symptoms that are associated with heavy ecstasy use include:
- memory loss
- muscle tension
During your experience, it is important to stay hydrated and monitor your body temperature. Immediately contact medical professionals if those become an issue.
If you can make it through the first 72 hours of your detox, the worst is behind you. That time period is a critical one for relapse. Once you overcome it, the majority of the physical symptoms will be reduced. At this time it is important to care for the mental health side of the ecstasy detox, for often at this point you may start feeling lethargic, depressed, anxious and confused and experience a lack of appetite. These feelings often can lead to relapse, so it is very important to have support in your detox, and if needed, reach out to a mental health professional.
The last step to maintaining your detox, is maintenance. It is vital that you have a support system and a safe environment during this time. Staying away from situations and people that could trigger your craving are vital. Counseling can be a great coping mechanism to help you find the strength and techniques to resist these urges.