MDMA is a powerful hallucinogen that is the active ingredient in the street drugs ecstasy and Molly. Users take these drugs in pursuit of feelings of wellbeing and happiness. But the consequences of MDMA abuse can lead to a vast array of very unhappy, even tragic, consequences.
The name MDMA is derived from the drug’s active ingredient 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. It is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. MDMA is a powder made in illegal laboratories then sold as pills, tablets or capsules, or a liquid that can be injected or applied to blotter paper. It is often adulterated with any number of substances, some of which can be especially dangerous. Examples include methamphetamine, ketamine and cocaine. Molly is thought to be a more pure form of MDMA than ecstasy but it too is usually adulterated with various compounds.
Using MDMA boosts the production of dopamine and serotonin, chemicals in the brain that stimulate its reward centers. When this happens, users experience increased feelings of intimacy with others, along with feelings of euphoria and a boost in their energy levels. There is also an increased sensitivity to touch and heightened feelings of sensual and sexual arousal. MDMA is known as a “club drug” because of its popularity with those attending dance clubs, parties, and concerts.
MDMA also produces various negative effects including:
Involuntary teeth clenching
Of particular concern is MDMA’s effect on the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. According to Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse “MDMA can cause a dangerous increase in body temperature that can lead to kidney failure. MDMA can also increase heart rate, blood pressure, and heart wall stress. Once the body loses its ability to regulate its temperature the kidneys, liver, or heart may fail leading to death.”
MDMA abuse can also dangerously distort the brain’s chemistry and lead to MDMA addiction. Prolonged usage can cause the brain to produce less serotonin. As a result, some studies suggest that heavy MDMA users experience extended periods of confusion, depression, and memory loss.
The effects of MDMA may last anywhere from 3 – 6 hours. To extend its effects it is not uncommon for users to take several does over a short period of time, a process known as “piggy backing.”
A majority of MDMA abuse occurs amongst young people. According to a 2015 study sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 13 percent of Americans 18-25 years or older reported using MDMA at some point in their lifetime. In 2015, CNN reported that “Molly is being marketed to young first-time drug abusers between the ages of 12 and 17, as well as traditional rave and electronic dance music fans.”
As with any drug, there are a variety of signs indicating that one may have an MDMA addiction. According to the Mayo Clinic drug addiction symptoms or behaviors include:
Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — this can be daily or even several times a day
Having intense urges for the drug
Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect
Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
Spending money on the drug, even though you can’t afford it
Not meeting obligations and work responsibilities, or cutting back on social or recreational activities because of drug use
Doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldn’t do, such as stealing
Driving or doing other risky activities when you’re under the influence of the drug
Focusing more and more time and energy on getting and using the drug
Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug
MDMA withdrawal symptoms can be extremely unpleasant. When regular users of the drug try to stop, they may experience fatigue, loss of appetite, depression and trouble concentrating. For that reason, medically assisted detox may be needed as part of a patient’s MDMA treatment. During MDMA detox, toxic substances that have built up as a result of the patient’s drug use are purged from the body under careful medical supervision.
Treatment For MDMA Addiction
Treatment for someone with an MDMA addiction should start with detox and then move to comprehensive treatment to ensure the individual has a long-lasting recovery.
At Texas our staff after providing medical detox, we will employ effective treatment modalities as part of the MDMA addiction treatment. We recognize that every patient is an individual, each with his own life circumstances and experiences. We know that a “one size fits all” approach to treatment is not the most effective way for our patients to achieve lasting recovery. Accordingly, we tailor treatment plans to best suit each patient’s specific needs.
If you would like more information about the MDMA addiction treatment offered by Texas please call our 24/7 helpline. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.