Recreational Use of Ecstasy: Addiction Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

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Recreational Use of Ecstasy Addiction Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Recreational use of ecstasy pills is a worldwide problem. Its reported occurrence is high in western and Asian countries alike. In 2011, more than 14 million people in the US, including teens, had used ecstasy pills at least once in their lifetime.

Is Ecstasy Addictive?  

As a schedule I controlled substance, ecstasy (or MDMA) has an extremely high potential to be abused and cause physical dependence. Its actions affect three neurotransmitters in the brain, namely serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

Ecstasy drug effects can be physical or psychological. It often includes the following:

  • Increased wakefulness
  • Increased energy
  • High endurance
  • Euphoria
  • Sharpened sensory perception
  • Greater sociability
  • Extroversion
  • A heightened sense of closeness to other people
  • Tolerance to other people’s feelings and opinions

With increased energy and that euphoric feeling, the recreational use of ecstasy pills became more common, especially among youths. Despite the overwhelming evidence related to ecstasy addiction and deaths, many still use it regularly at small social gatherings.

What Are the Common Signs and Symptoms of Ecstasy Addiction? 

The reported ecstasy drug effects vary according to the dose, frequency, and duration of use, but these signs and symptoms are common:

  • A pattern of maladaptive use of ecstasy pills that leads to significant distress and interferes with everyday functioning
  • Frequent urges to use the drug in various situations, including stressful events, celebrations, and more
  • Using the drug even in dangerous situations
  • Giving up important activities as a result of MDMA use
  • Inability to cease or reduce ecstasy use, even after stating interest in doing so
  • Spending significant time and money getting and using MDMA
  • Continuous use of ecstasy, even after it results in significant issues with work, school, and personal relationships
  • Continuous use of the drug despite experiencing adverse side effects

What Causes Ecstasy Addiction?  

Ecstasy was initially popular in the nightclub scene, at all-night dance parties, or raves, but many people now use this drug more often for several reasons:

  • Enhanced mood, energy, and sensory perception
  • Availability and affordability
  • Curiosity about ecstasy drug effects
  • Peer pressure
  • Ease of use compared to other drugs

What Are the Risks Involved in Abusing Ecstasy?  

Taking large doses of ecstasy may interfere with several physical functions, but it goes beyond that. Since the basic action of the drug involves increased alertness and arousal, ecstasy side effects will include:

  • Increased tension, commonly manifested in teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and constant restless movement of the legs
  • Stiffness and pain in the lower back and limb muscles
  • Increased body temperature
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate

Undesired, psychological acute ecstasy drug effects include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Inability to focus
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Mild hallucinations
  • Depersonalization
  • Bizarre or reckless behavior
  • Panic attacks
  • Delirium

Prolonged use of ecstasy pills, especially in high doses can also confuse the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Long-term side effects may involve the brain, nerve, and other organ damage. Users put themselves at risk for:

  • Psychosis
  • Nerve degeneration
  • Memory loss
  • Hemorrhage
  • Kidney damage
  • Brain damage
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Cardiovascular collapse
  • Convulsions
  • Death

Getting Help for Ecstasy Addiction  

Approaching ecstasy treatment generally consists of different components. One may choose to enroll in an inpatient program to stay isolated from the bad influences and focus more on recovery. Stopping drug use can be uncomfortable and painful, so an inpatient, medically-assisted detox is required in some cases. For others, an intensive outpatient program may be suitable, especially for people with extensive social support that are able to perform regular tasks at home, work, school, and in their community.

Substance use disorder therapies are part of any recovery program, and these are available in several forms. A patient may choose between individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and participation in social support groups. Those with a strong religious foundation may find Christ-based treatment especially comforting and rewarding.

We at Haven House Recovery Center have been successful in helping men recover from addiction for years, now, through our 12-month residential program. We help residents put Biblical principles to work in their battle against drug dependencies like ecstasy addiction.

If you feel like you are in need of help and that faith is important to you during treatment and recovery, call us now and we’ll be more than happy to help. Visit our Nashville recovery center.  

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