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Ecstasy (MDMA) Abuse
Ecstasy is the common street name for MDMA
(3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine). It belongs to a lineage of drugs called
entactogens, which means "touching within." MDA, MDE, and MBDB are other
drugs that belong to this category. MDMA was used by psychiatrists as a
therapeutic tool before it was made illegal. MDMA is currently being studied
for its usefulness in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Ecstasy has a strong connection with the rave culture, and is considered
to be a recreational drug. It is considered to be one of the four most frequently
used illicit drugs in the United States, along with heroin, cocaine and cannabis.
Common street names for MDMA are ecstasy, E, XTC, X, beans, Adam, hug, clarity,
love drug, and lover's speed.
Methods of MDMA
MDMA is commonly administered orally, although insufflation, and
administering as a suppository is possible as well. Ecstasy is usually found
in pills, or capsules containing it in crystal or powder form. These pills
come in different colors, and will usually have cartoon like pictures on
them. The normal recreational amount of 100-150 mg is enough to cause a "high",
which will take effect in around 30 to 60 minutes and lasts for 4 to 6 hours.
Some ecstasy users take multiple pills at a time, this is called "bumping."
Rectal administration creates about the same outcomes as consumption, but
if the user vomits, the dose does not go to waste.
The main effects of ecstasy include euphoria, empathy, self confidence,
increase of energy, feelings of openness, peacefulness, love, and heightened
self awareness. Ecstasy is known for causing its users to have enhanced tactile
sensations, making physical contact with others more pleasurable. Other common
side effects can include involuntary jaw clenching, a loss of inhibitions,
elevated pulse, transfixion on sights and sounds, nausea, blurred vision,
chills and sweating. It is also possible for user of ecstasy to suffer from
The stimulative effects of MDMA allow users to dance for extended
periods of time, which can lead to severe dehydration or unhealthy increases
in body temperature. This may cause kidney, liver and cardiovascular failure,
along with muscle breakdown.
Ecstasy is not considered physically addictive. Although, people continue
to take the drug despite suffering from unpleasant physical side effects
and other behavioral, social, and health consequences. If taken too frequently,
ecstasy will lose its special effect. The drug can often take on great importance
in people's lives, and some people become rather compulsive in their use.
It is possible that compulsive users may be unconsciously trying to self-medicate
for depression. Treatments for depression are available from a qualified
physician and may assist with helping users cease from ecstasy use.
Chronic Harm of Ecstasy
There is a great risk for chronic physical harm arising from the use
of ecstasy. Repeated use of MDMA may damage the cells that produce serotonin,
which has an important role in the regulation of mood, appetite, aggression,
sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain, learning and memory. Also,
ecstasy may severely damage the liver if the drug is continuously used. Because
the lethal dose is many times greater than the normal recreational dose,
overdoses are uncommon, but many people die each year with traces of MDMA
in their blood.