One of the most popular drugs used at dance parties, raves, and nightclubs, MDMA, or ecstasy, is known as a “club drug.” MDMA is a psychoactive drug abused by teens and young adults seeking the pleasurable high for which ecstasy is known. Because of its widespread use among adolescents and young adults in the United States, many people don’t realize that MDMA causes a host of adverse health effects. Two dangerous effects of MDMA abuse are overheating and dehydration. These two conditions can lead to muscle tissue injury, kidney failure, high blood pressure, heart failure, and death. If you or someone you know are struggling with an addiction to MDMA, consult the substance abuse counselors at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today.
What is MDMA?
MDMA is a synthetic drug that acts as both a stimulant and a psychedelic, producing in users an energetic effect, as well as enhanced enjoyment from tactile experiences and distortions in time and perception. As a recreational drug, MDMA is typically taken orally as a tablet or capsule. Its effects can last between three and six hours. The effects depend on the individual taking it, the dose and purity, and their environment. Once taken, MDMA absorbs rapidly into the bloodstream, where it exerts its primary effects in the brain by increasing the activity of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that allow nerve cells to communicate with one another. By doing so, MDMA produces a “high,” or rewarding stimulant effects that keep users coming back for more.
Warning Signs of MDMA Abuse
MDMA has become a popular drug among adolescents and young adults in the nightclub scene. Some of its popularity is because it produces pleasurable feelings of emotional warmth, decreased anxiety, mental stimulation, and self-confidence. Other effects of MDMA abuse are empathy towards others and a general sense of well-being which can occur within an hour or so after taking a single dose. However, there are also adverse psychological effects associated with the use of ecstasy similar to those experienced by amphetamine and cocaine users. Some common symptoms of MDMA abuse include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Lack of appetite
- Muscle cramping
- Involuntary teeth clenching
- Blurred vision
- Significant reductions in mental abilities
- Reduced interest in and pleasure from sex
Long-Term Consequences of MDMA Abuse
Because of its stimulant properties and the types of situations in which people take this drug, MDMA is associated with vigorous physical activity for extended periods of time. Such an amount of activity can lead to one of its most significant adverse effects, a noticeable rise in body temperature called hyperthermia. Hyperthermia can lead to muscle breakdown, kidney failure, and heart failure. Some other adverse long-term MDMA effects may include:
- Lasting brain damage affecting thought and memory
- Damage to parts of the brain that regulate emotion, sleep, and learning
- Cardiovascular problems
Overall, the adverse effects of ecstasy are modest and are not associated with severe medical conditions in normal users. However, in some cases, the use of ecstasy can lead to an overdose. An overdose can happen, especially when a user combines it with alcohol or other drugs. Mixing substances is common considering much of the ecstasy and MDMA sold on the street contains a variety of additives, including methamphetamine, cocaine, ketamine, caffeine, ephedrine, and over-the-counter cough medicines and pain relievers. Symptoms of an ecstasy overdose may include seizures, panic attacks, loss of consciousness, high blood pressure, and faintness.
Contact the Substance Abuse Experts at BRS Rehab
MDMA is considered to be one of the most widely used club drugs in the world. While ecstasy is not as addictive as other illicit drugs, like methamphetamine and heroin, it still poses a significant health risk to those who take it illegally. Despite this risk, ecstasy use remains prevalent in the United States. In 2010, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that an estimated 695,000 Americans aged 12 or older were current MDMA users. Current means they had used an ecstasy-type drug during the previous month. If you believe a loved one is abusing MDMA, contact the addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to find out how you can help.