Ecstasy or 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), is a psychoactive drug that is commonly abused by teens and adults for recreational purposes. Well-known by its street names such as molly, E, X and candy, ecstasy is a powerful synthetic drug that contains a varying amount of MDMA and is available in various forms such as a pressed pill or tablet.
Ecstasy abuse leads to a much stronger and longer high than a user might be ready for. Some of the common side-effects experienced by an individual after abusing ecstasy are:
- Muted inhibitions
- Amplified tactile sensations
- False, yet overwhelming sense of affection/empathy
- Depression, paranoia or anxiety
- Sleep problems
- Drug cravings
- Muscle tension or involuntary teeth clenching
- Faintness and chills or swelling
- Blurred vision
The real danger of Ecstasy lies in its effect on the regulation of body temperature. Causing the release of three major neurotransmitters, combined with its stimulation of the nervous system, Ecstasy can prevent the body from feeling the sensation of overheating, which allows the user to get dangerously hot without realizing it.
Many users begin to overreact to the overheating effects by drinking too much water. But, when they begin doing so, the sodium levels in their body get unbalanced, causing the organs to swell. Although this is not critical to organs that have room to expand, the brain does not. If the brain expands too much, the brain stem will be crushed, leading to coma or death of the person.
It has been observed by the clinicians that ecstasy use can lead to the flood of serotonin in the human brain, which, in turn, leads to long-term, irreparable damage in the user’s serotonin neurotransmitters. The imbalance in their serotonin level impacts sleep, learning, and emotional processes, which can leave nearly permanent impairment in its wake.
When neurotransmitters cannot function properly, insomnia, memory loss, depression and anxiety follow and further, can linger for long even after substance abuse has stopped.
Some of the common dangers associated with ecstasy addiction include:
- Hyperthermia (heat stroke)
- Hyponatremia (water intoxication)
- Heart attack
- Heart or kidney failure