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Ecstasy Drug Abuse
If you have been using ecstasy, or know someone who has, be aware that the risks of using ecstasy are not small or muted. Ecstasy can be quite dangerous with regular use, and ecstasy drug abuse is far more common than reported. Learn more about what ecstasy is and how it works by reading below.
What is Ecstasy?
Ecstasy is a psychoactive recreational drug. That is to say, it has no medical values. It is a synthetic chemical that is a combination of stimulants and hallucinogens. The scientific name for ecstasy is 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) but it’s commonly known just as “E”, “MDMA”, “X” or “bean”. The drug is big in the “rave” scene, as well as being found everywhere from corporate offices to college dorms. It is generally sold in pill form, but can be found in liquid as well.
Ecstasy was invented in 1912, but resurfaced in the 1970s as a treatment for a variety of ailments. Although its medical uses were dubious, by the 1980s, it was a hit drug on the street. It is often endearingly called the “love pill,” because it promotes perceptions of sound, color and amplifies sensations of touch, which complement intimate relations between two people using the drug. The effects generally begin about a half hour after taking the drug and last around three to five hours.
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What are the Effects of Ecstasy on the Body?
Because ecstasy is both an amphetamine and a hallucinogen, it has twice the possible side effects. In addition to causing spikes and crashes in brain activity, ecstasy can result in a host of undesirable effects. Below are some of the most common of those side effects:
- Increased body temperature
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Physical Addiction
- Grinding of teeth
- Rapid heartbeat
The Ecstasy High
The high associated with ecstasy is euphoric at first, like a stimulant. It makes many people talkative, energetic and happy, at first. Time seems to have no meaning. Touch, sight and hearing become very predominant as the senses are accentuated. Hallucinations may occur during this time. The high is often followed by depression. That is when the user becomes focuses on using more and doing whatever it takes to get more. Ecstasy is somewhat physically addictive, but it is truly the mental addiction where it sinks its hooks.
Ecstasy is a lot like cocaine in the way it is used as a binge drug. It’s effects are so “good” initially, during the high. But when the euphoria is gone, the user sinks into despair and often experiences intense cravings as well.
Symptoms of an Ecstasy Addiction
If you are wondering if you, or someone you love, has a dependency on ecstasy, here are some signs to look for:
Withdrawal. These can result if you regularly use ecstasy and suddenly discontinue use. These may indicate a physical dependence.
- Muscle cramps
- Pupils that are large and black
- Clenching of jaws
Reactive. If you notice these in someone you love, they could indicate long-term use of ecstasy.
- Exaggerated preoccupation with touching
- Sensitivity to music and sound
- Lessened sensitivity to pain
Behavioral. These symptoms are strong indicators someone is currently high on ecstasy.
- Being highly stimulated
- Having abundant energy
- Being awake an unusually long period of time
- Showing overly friendly behavior
- Erratic movement, especially for long periods of time
How Long Does Ecstasy Stay In Your System?
Ecstasy actually has a half-life amounting to about 7 hours. It is metabolized into MDMA early on when it enters into the body. It is quickly absorbed into the body though, so most of it is excreted in urine during the first 24 hours. It does not stay in hair, and cannot be easily detected through other means. As a result, drug tests are not a reliable way to determine if someone is abusing ecstasy.
Risks of Abusing Other Drugs
Because of how it affects the way a person thinks and behaves, ecstasy drug abuse can quickly lead to abusing other substances while under its influence. In fact, more than half of those who report using ecstasy in 2015 also report using other illicit drugs. Ecstasy is not often used by itself, and mixing with other substances can result in compounding effects as seen in drugs like ketamine. This could result in overdose, or worse, a “bad trip”, in which the sensations provided by the drug are extremely negative and could result in self-harm or harm to others. Such occurrences are not uncommon, and pose a definite risk to anyone who regularly abuses ecstasy.
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