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Article Summary

About Ecstasy

Ecstasy is an illicit drug that is known in the drug community as a "club drug", also known as MDMA. Ecstasy is a synthetic drug, meaning it is manufactured using a variety of chemicals and doesn't include any ingredients which are organic. Ecstasy is classified as a psychoactive drug, and is similar chemically to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. The drug is widely available in either capsule or tablet, but also can be found in liquid form or on little pieces of paper called blotters. Ecstasy is known as a "club drug" because it was first introduced some years ago at all night dance parties and nightclubs, but use is not common amongst a broader range of people and places. Ecstasy use has also become popular among gay males who wish to use the drug as a multi-substance experience, and may use it in combination with cocaine, meth, marijuana and even Viagra to achieve a more intense and prolonged high.

Effects of Ecstasy

When an individual consumes Ecstasy they will begin to experience the effects of the drug within about 15 minutes, which also happens to be when an Ecstasy high is at its peak level. This is how long it takes for the drug to enter the blood stream and reach the brain. The high is manifested as a surge in energy, enhanced tactile experiences, intense euphoria, and can also come with mild hallucinations and distortions in time and other perceptions. Individuals who takes Ecstasy experience these effects because of the way the drug interacts with certain brain chemicals, including serotonin and dopamine, which play a role in regulation of mood, sleep, sensitivity to pain and sex drive, just to name a few. The Ecstasy experience can be quite stimulating and euphoric, and it isn't uncommon for individuals who abuse the drug to become dependent on and addicted to the drug.

Side Effects of Ecstasy Use

Ecstasy is not a safe drug to use, despite popular belief. Use of the drug comes with many dangerous side effects, and like other stimulants can cause serious health consequences for individuals who are stricken with circulatory issues or heart disease. Ecstasy users also may experience a condition known as hyperthermia, which is basically a drastic rise in body temperature. Ecstasy users are typically in a situation where they are dancing for hours, dancing which is propelled by their Ecstasy high. So a high body temp combined with over-activity can lead to severe dehydration which can be dangerous and even fatal. To avoid this, Ecstasy users will drink a great deal of water, but in doing so can overdo it and consume such a vast amount to cause water intoxication. Water intoxication can cause organ failure which and even brain damage and can also lead to death. This could lead to liver, kidney, cardiovascular system failure, and, in some cases, brain damage and death.

Other side effects concern the exact chemicals in the brain which cause an Ecstasy high. Because of the drug's effects on the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, individuals who use Ecstasy over an extended period of time can experience a higher rate of depression and anxiety. Recent studies have shown that Ecstasy affects healthy serotonin cells, and individuals who use Ecstasy can experience side effects which can affect their ability to recall things and learn. These studies reported that serotonin levels can be affected after just short-term use, which is still evident many years later. So an individual doesn't have to be a long-term Ecstasy user to damage these vital functions in the body which can affect them far into the future.

Dangers of Ecstasy Use

Like other illicit street drugs, you really never know what you're getting when you purchase Ecstasy. Drug purity and dosage is always in questions. Because of these unknown facts, Ecstasy users are putting themselves in a position where they may actually be taking another type of stimulant such as meth or amphetamine mixed with ephedrine and caffeine for example. Or even worse yet, what they think is Ecstasy is actually a drug known as PMA which can very quickly raise one's heart rate and body temperature which could result in a fatal overdose.

Ecstasy is Addictive

As discussed earlier, Ecstasy is very commonly and casually used in most social settings and has been deemed by popular culture to be safe to use and not addictive. However, science has proven differently and the drug is very addictive. One survey of teenage and young adult users found a 43% rate of dependence amongst those studied, meaning these young Ecstasy users found it necessary to continue using the drug despite ill effects and dangers involved. Young adults who are in the situation or setting to be using Ecstasy are surely around other types of drugs which can also lead to further abuse and addiction issues.

Another indicator that Ecstasy is powerfully addictive is the fact that nearly 60% of Ecstasy users experience the symptoms of Ecstasy withdrawal when they stop taking the drug. Ecstasy withdrawal symptoms can include fatigue, not wanting to eat, depressed feelings, and trouble concentrating. Ecstasy withdrawal occurs because the body becomes used to the elevation in the feel good chemicals in the brain and central nervous system which make them experience the intense high that the body cannot produce on its own. Without Ecstasy, the body needs time to readapt to being happy and feeling good without the drug. The period of time it takes to readapt can come with a myriad of physical and psychological symptoms, but most often is manifested as depression and anxiety. If not in a drug rehab setting, chronic will typically turn to other abusive substances to combat these symptoms such as alcohol or sedatives which just leads to further problems.

Because of the risk of dependence and addiction, Ecstasy users will find it hard to quit using the drug without help. Drug rehab programs which treat Ecstasy addiction are available, and it is recommended that anyone struggling with Ecstasy addiction seek treatment and get the help they need. Drug rehab for Ecstasy will help individuals through withdrawal and confronting and resolving addiction issues so that they can have a fresh start.

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