Ecstasy Interactions, Addiction, Detox and Rehab

Ecstasy abuse and even addiction continue to be a serious issue that a lot of people face in our country. This drug can be lethal in some cases, and yet, it is considered a top party drug. For those who have become addicted to it, it is possible to recover with the right treatment.

Once you become addicted to a drug like Ecstasy, it changes everything about your life in a negative way. You find that you struggle to get through the day without using. Your work performance tends to decrease, and your relationship problems increase. The worst part is that you feel stuck. To you, there is no way out of this vicious cycle.

We want you to know that if this is how you feel, you are wrong. There is a way out, and by going through detox and rehab, you can recover if you are addicted to Ecstasy. It is a powerful drug, and recovering might not be easy, but that does not mean it is not possible.

But first, we want to be sure we explain Ecstasy and its dangers. It is important to understand everything you can about this drug if you have been abusing it.

What is Ecstasy?

Ecstasy is a drug that has been around for a very long time. It is often called a party drug because it is so visible in nightclubs, raves and other social events. In many people’s eyes, it seems harmless. In fact, it is frequently glamorized in pop culture. There are many top recording artists who refer to it in their songs. Because of this, it is usually seen as being much safer than other types of illegal drugs. Of course, this could not be further from the truth.

One of the biggest concerns with Ecstasy is the drug’s inconsistency. When someone gets one of these pills, they can never be completely sure about what they are getting. Dealers are mixing all kinds of substances together and then stamping them with a nice logo. They have been known to contain:

The bottom line is that this drug is dangerous. Yet, it also continues to be wildly popular because of the euphoric high it produces.

Ecstasy is often called by a lot of different names on the street. Its chemical name is MDMA, which stands for methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Drug dealers and abusers may call it any number of names, such as:

  • Molly
  • X
  • XTC
  • XE
  • Essence
  • Love Drug
  • Love Pill
  • Lover’s Speed
  • California Sunrise
  • Scooby Snacks
  • Snowball
  • Eve
  • Hug Drug

The history of Ecstasy, or MDMA, is really quite interesting. A German pharmaceutical company first developed this drug in 1912. In the beginning, it was known as Methylsafrylaminc. It was intended to be used to synthesize medications that were used to control bleeding.

MDMA grew in popularity among psychiatrists during the late 1970s and early 1980s. By that time, it had not yet undergone clinical trials, and it was not FDA approved to be used in humans. But the psychiatrists believed that when they gave it to their patients, they had more open sessions. They felt that it enhanced their ability to communicate, and even gain insight into their issues.

Right around that same time, Ecstasy became available as a street drug. In 1985, the DEA declared an emergency ban on it, and it was classified as a Schedule I drug.

The FDA approved the first human trial for Ecstasy in the early 1990s. They wanted to find out if this drug might work as a pain reliever for cancer patients. In addition, they needed to know if it was useful in psychotherapy. While those results were never published, clinical trials for this drug continued. Many experts believe that it might work as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and for anxiety under certain conditions.

What are the Side Effects of Ecstasy?

Like every other drug, Ecstasy has quite a list of side effects. People take it because they want to experience the high. But they do not realize that they could get more than they had bargained for.

The physical side effects of Ecstasy include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Feeling faint
  • Panic attacks
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • A potentially fatal increase in body temperature

Most people will take a gamble, and hope that none of these will happen to them. As you will see later, the physical effects of this drug can get worse with long-term use.

The psychological side effects of Ecstasy are quite intense. This is to be expected with this drug because these effects and sensations are why people take it.

The most common mental side effects of Ecstasy include:

  • An enhanced sense of well-being.
  • Extroverted behavior.
  • Emotional warmth.
  • Enhanced sense of empathy.
  • Enhanced sensory perception.

There are good reasons why this drug earned the nickname, the Love Drug. It is often thought of as an aphrodisiac, which is another reason it is so popular at parties. But more often than not, it is referred to as a date rape drug.

Why do People Abuse Ecstasy?

People abuse Ecstasy because they want to get high, and they are looking for something to enhance their experience. They are usually at some type of party, as we mentioned earlier, and they may want to feel looser.

The euphoria that people experience with this drug is intense. If the drug is pure, and the environment is a positive one, the user can feel as though the world is perfect. They have enhanced sensations of touch, and may feel more empathetic toward others. They may also be able to have deeper and more meaningful conversations with other people.

Once they abuse the drug one time, it is hard not to want to do it again. That is why most first-time users will eventually become regular users.

Usually, Ecstasy is sold in tablet form. That makes it easier to conceal and very easy to use. When people use it, they simply need to swallow the pill. It can take 20-30 minutes to kick in, but once it does, its effects can be felt for quite some time.

It is also possible to find this drug in the form of a powder. People will take it by snorting it. This method is quite a bit more cumbersome. But those who have been taking the drug for a longer period of time might find they get a better high with it.

As you might guess, MDMA is a substance that is often mixed with alcohol. This is due to the fact that it’s usually seen at nightclubs and parties where everyone is drinking.

Joseph J. Palamar is the associate professor of population health at New York University Langone Medical Center. He says that mixing alcohol and Ecstasy has become more popular over recent years. The problem is that when people wash the drug down with cocktails, they put themselves at risk. They usually do not realize that the combination of these drugs is much more dangerous than either one on its own.

Both substances increase the risk of dehydration. That means that when they are combined, that risk is compounded. Because of the environment people are usually in, dancing in a crowd makes the combination even more dangerous.

As fluid gets pulled out of the brain cells, it compromises their ability to function properly. This can easily lead to heart failure, respiratory failure, or even a coma. Another issue is the risk of urinary retention. Excessive alcohol consumption causes people to have to urinate more. When used with Ecstasy, they may find it more difficult to use the restroom. This could eventually lead to kidney or bladder damage. It can also cause an increase in urea toxicity in the blood.

Ecstasy Abuse Statistics in the United States

This might not be a drug that is in the news all the time, but Ecstasy is still prevalent in the U.S. It is even a drug that is often used by young people.

The latest statistics on Ecstasy tell us that:

  • Only 0.3% of people ages 12 and older report having used the drug in the last month.
  • But 1% report having used it within the last year.
  • 6.8% of people have used it at least once in their lifetime.
  • Among young people who were between 12 and 17 years old, 0.2% admit to having used Ecstasy within the last month.
  • That is in comparison to 13.4% who had used marijuana and 24.6% who had used alcohol.
  • 4% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 report having used it within the last year.
  • Just 0.9% reporting having used it in the last month.
  • About 1% of college students report having used Ecstasy in the last month.
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How Addictive is Ecstasy?

Most people think of Ecstasy as being a drug that they enjoy occasionally, and then they can leave it alone. The reality is that research is still ongoing to determine whether or not it is addictive.

Researchers have found that it affects many of the same neurotransmitters in the brain that other addictive drugs target. In animal experiments, the animals will self-administer the drug, but less so than other drugs, like cocaine.

Studies have shown that Ecstasy has a profound effect on dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. It causes an increase in both, which could indicate that it does have addictive potential.

At the very least, this drug is psychologically addictive. That means that people believe that they need it. They may think that they cannot go out and have a good time unless they have it. Even a psychological addiction to Ecstasy can result in physical withdrawal symptoms when not using.

If Ecstasy is found to be addictive, the next question is, how long does it take to get addicted? That is a difficult question to answer. People are all very different, and there are multiple factors that could be at play here. It really all depends on how long a person has been taking it, and how much they take at one time.

For some people, an addiction to Ecstasy might happen relatively quickly. It may only take a few uses of the drug. For others, getting addicted might take weeks, or even months of regular use. There are also those who will not become dependent on the drug at all.

Signs You May be Addicted to Ecstasy

Even though the research might still be ongoing regarding Ecstasy addiction, it is possible you could be addicted. If you are, but you are not sure, it can help to identify some of the signs and symptoms.

Some of the more common signs of addiction include:

  • Forming a tolerance to the drug, which means you need to take more and more of it over time.
  • Feeling strange once the drug is out of your system. This is called going through withdrawal.
  • Being unable to stop using Ecstasy, even when you have a desire to.
  • Setting limits for yourself regarding your drug use, but being unable to stick to them.
  • Spending a lot of time thinking about the drug and what it is like to get high.
  • Feeling the need to use Ecstasy more and more frequently.
  • Mixing it with other drugs or with alcohol to intensify the effects.
  • Losing interest in favorite activities.
  • Becoming isolated and spending less time with friends and family.
  • Keeping your drug use a secret from other people.

How many of the signs on this list can you identify with? Even if your answer is only one or two, you could still be addicted to Ecstasy. It is worth it to learn more so that you know for sure.

There are other steps you can take as well to find out if you are addicted to Ecstasy. Some people would rather just talk with a professional about their situations. They feel that it is easier to speak with someone who has worked in the field and can give them a recommendation. If that is how you feel, that is a possibility.

Many drug rehabs offer free addiction assessments, and they are usually done right over the phone. This allows you to answer all pertinent questions and ask some of your own as well. After this assessment, you should know the type of treatment that you should be seeking.

You an also begin by taking a drug addiction quiz. This one asks a variety of questions to gauge the severity of your substance abuse problem. At the end, you will gain access to your results right away.

Ecstasy Addiction and its Effects

When it comes to a drug like Ecstasy, there are sure to be consequences for continuing to use it. This is especially true considering the fact that users do not always know what that little pill contains.

Many people think that using it for only a short time period should be relatively safe. But even one use could end up with disastrous results.

People take this drug because they want to experience its euphoric effects. What they do not realize is that they are putting themselves in danger.

The short-term effects of Ecstasy can include:

  • Feeling confused
  • Becoming depressed
  • Increased and severe anxiety
  • Becoming paranoid
  • A false sense of affection
  • Sleep problems
  • Impaired judgment
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Swelling
  • Feeling faint
  • Chills
  • Teeth clenching involuntarily
  • Blurry vision
  • Muscle tension

The long-term effects of continuing to take Ecstasy are even worse. Most people do not realize it is a drug that can lead to:

  • Degenerated nerve endings and branches
  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Memory loss
  • Long lasting brain damage
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Cardiovascular collapse
  • Convulsions
  • Kidney failure

Some of these effects may not be reversible. That only adds to the urgency to stop using it if you are currently. We know that it will not be easy, but there are ways to stop Ecstasy if you are abusing it or addicted.

Your Options for Quitting Ecstasy

Hopefully, you have begun to see the importance of getting off Ecstasy if you are currently using it. Once an addiction has formed, it can be difficult to stop. But with the right support, it is possible.

There are a lot of different ways people attempt to stop using Ecstasy. We have listed some of them below. Please keep in mind that most of these are not recommended.

Cold turkey quitting is considered to be typical for a lot of different drugs, including weed and cigarettes. Unfortunately, people tend to think that it is OK to stop using any type of drug this way. That could not be further from the truth.

Sometimes people quit cold turkey because they want to “get it over with.” They may know that withdrawal is coming, and they would rather just get through it. Others may panic once they realize that they are addicted to a drug like Ecstasy. Their cold turkey quit is the result of just not wanting to be tied to a drug.

In theory, cold turkey might seem the best way to go, but we want to assure you that it is not. It is possible that you could run into some complications; especially if you are a long-time user. Quitting abruptly could send your body into a state of shock, and you could even need emergency medical attention.

The trend today is to do everything as naturally as possible. People would rather treat their colds with natural remedies, and that is just one example. There are also those who believe that detoxing from drugs can happen naturally as well.

There are many different products on the market all aimed to help people detox from drugs. Companies talk about the benefits of their vitamins and minerals, and how they can help. There are even websites who’s only recommendations are plenty of water and rest.

Natural drug detox may sound beneficial, but it is not guaranteed to work. In fact, it could even put you at risk if you have any complications as a result of withdrawal.

There are all kinds of products that are available online as well as at your local pharmacy for drug detox. These kits are said to be very effective, and they are convenient because you do not have to leave your home. That said, there is no proof that they work.

In addition, there are no drug detox kits on the market that have been FDA approved. Without the studies to back them up, they are nothing more than clever marketing ploys. Not to mention, they could also put you in danger during withdrawal.

Detoxing should only be done on a professional basis, and only through a quality drug detox program. This ensures that it is done correctly, and by medical professionals.

Detoxification is the process of removing toxins from the body that are related to the person’s drug use. Once you stop using Ecstasy, you will go through withdrawal, and some of the symptoms can be painful. Others might be difficult mentally. Drug detox can help in so many ways. We will talk about this more in just a moment.

Does Quitting Ecstasy Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?

Yes, when you stop using Ecstasy, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is your body’s way of coping once you are no longer feeding it the drug on a regular basis. Some of your systems may be thrown off until you become regulated again. But it is all a part of the process.

Still, withdrawal is nothing to be afraid of. So many people put off their recoveries because they are afraid of experiencing these symptoms. But with the right treatment, those symptoms can be minimized.

Most people use Ecstasy recreationally. But there are those who will use it more regularly. Either individual can experience withdrawal once they stop the use of it altogether. Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • Intense cravings
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Mental confusion
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Depersonalization
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Anger and irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Panic attacks
  • Problems with concentration
  • Paranoia and psychosis

In general, these symptoms do not start all at once. People usually only have a few of them in the beginning. But it is possible to experience all of the above.

MDMA stops working in the brain within the first 3-6 hours following the last dose. At that point, withdrawal will begin. This is known as the “come down” phase. The symptoms most people experience at first are psychological. They may have confusion, and have trouble with telling reality from fantasy. They can also have out-of-body perceptions, trouble sleeping and intense cravings.

In general, it takes around 3 days for MDMA to leave the body. As it does, the number of withdrawal symptoms will increase, and they will become much more severe.

Between days 4 and 10, the body works very hard to reach a place of homeostasis. It is desperately trying to go back to functioning the way it did without the drug present. Most symptoms have reached their peak by now, but others may still linger. People often still have hallucinations and may experience muscle tenseness during this time.

The Benefits of Ecstasy Addiction Treatment

The best news of all is that no one has to go through withdrawal alone. Ecstasy addiction treatment can help with withdrawal symptoms, as well as with the psychological part of the addiction.

Most people do not realize that a drug addiction actually has two parts. There is the physical side and the psychological side. Both have to be addressed in order for the individual to be successful.

There are a lot of benefits to going through addiction treatment for those who are addicted to Ecstasy. They include:

  • Getting help for withdrawals
  • Learning from top professionals
  • Finding out the root cause of the addiction
  • Getting support from staff and other patients
  • Putting together a relapse prevention plan for continued success

Does Drug Detox Really Work for Withdrawals?

Without a doubt, drug detox is the absolute best way to help someone through withdrawal symptoms. This is especially true when they are stopping a drug like Ecstasy.

As we mentioned earlier, drug detox is the process of eliminating toxins from the body. Not only can it help people feel better faster, but it can potentially protect them from possible complications.

Drug detoxification programs should always be careful to tailor the treatment to the patient. They need to take their medical history into account and prescribe the right methods that will work for them.

Today, medical detox is the primary method that drug detoxification programs use to treat their patients. That is because it has shown to be very effective when it is approached correctly.

Medical detox means that patients are given medications to help with their symptoms. The type of medications that are given may differ on a case by case basis. But for someone who is coming off Ecstasy, they may receive a combination of any of the following:

  • An anti-seizure or anticonvulsant medication
  • An anti-psychotic drug
  • An antidepressant
  • Medication for anxiety and/or panic attacks
  • A sleep medication

The goal is to keep the patient on the drug for as long as they truly need it. Many experts have warned against using detox medications for too long. Doing so could possibly lead to a secondary addiction, which would require detoxing all over again.

Most drug rehab centers recognize the need for holistic treatments during detox. In most cases, this involves getting the person into a regular exercise regimen. That way, toxins can be eliminated through the pores while they sweat.

Holistic detox centers also place a lot of emphasis on good nutrition. When someone is a drug addict, they may not be eating the appropriate diet. This can leave them deficient of some important vitamins and minerals. It also affects the health of their liver and kidneys. Improving their diet makes them healthier overall. A healthy body is much more equipped to remove harmful toxins.

Is Drug Rehab Really Necessary?

After going through detox, patients are ready to move on to the next phase in the recovery process. That means going through drug rehab. A quality rehabilitation program can help them get through the next step, which is recovery from the root cause.

As we mentioned earlier, healing from the psychological part of the addiction is critical. For someone who is addicted to Ecstasy, they may return to using unless they take this step. In that sense, yes. It is absolutely necessary.

Addictions are caused by a number of different things. People often turn to substance abuse because they have a lot of stress. Using helps them to cope better. It is also common for people to use drugs like Ecstasy when other parts of their lives are not going well. For example, someone might use when going through a breakup or after experiencing a loss.

But many people turn to substances because they are suffering from a co-occurring disorder. They have an actual mental health issue that they are attempting to medicate away with a drug. As many as 50% of people with addictions are suffering from one of these conditions.

There are a lot of co-occurring disorders that might drive someone to abuse Ecstasy. For example:

For someone with one of these, or any other mental health condition, using drugs is often a way of escaping. It helps them to feel better, and the symptoms they usually experience disappear for a short time. The relief they get is what makes them continue to use. Before they know it, they are addicted.

When someone has a co-occurring disorder, they undergo what is called dual diagnosis treatment. That means that both conditions get treated at the same time.

This used to be a strange concept; even in drug rehabilitation programs. More often than not, the addiction and the mental health issue were treated as separate problems. It was not until the 1990s that this all changed. It was found that by treating the conditions simultaneously, patients found many benefits. They were experiencing higher long-term recovery rates because they made that important connection.

There are a lot of different types of therapy that patients experience when they go to drug rehab. But keep in mind that every person is different. The method of therapy that works well for one person might not be a good fit for another.

Here are some examples of the type of therapy you might experience:

  • Group therapy – This is when support groups will meet together regularly to talk about various issues. A lot of peer therapy happens during these meetings. That has been shown to be very effective during recovery.
  • Family therapy – Family therapy is also a vital part of recovering from an addiction. Families often have a hard time understanding what an addict is truly going through. There may be issues between them and their loved one that need to be worked out. This type of counseling can help with that.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy – This form of therapy looks at the person’s behaviors and works with them on making better choices. It is a well known form of treatment for addiction.
  • Individual therapy – Meeting regularly with a therapist is very important during the recovery process. Patients should have ample time to discuss their issues with a therapist in a one-on-one setting.
  • Music and art therapy – There is so much healing to be experienced in the arts. That is why most drug rehabs include music and art therapy. They can be relaxing, and can help people focus on the better parts of their lives.

Types of Drug Rehab Programs

There are many different types of drug rehabilitation programs to choose from. Sometimes people feel as though they have to pick a certain type of rehab, but that is not the case.

The right form of treatment may be different for you than for someone else. It is very important for you to choose the method that will work best for you and your situation.

Inpatient drug rehab is usually the best choice for those who are new to addiction treatment. When you have never gotten help before, you need a lot of support. The days and weeks that lie ahead will be difficult. It will help to know that there are professionals there to assist you.

Most inpatient programs last for about a month or so. That time usually includes any time you spend in detox as well. During your stay, you will learn from some of the best experts in the field of addiction treatment. You will work on new coping skills, and you’ll learn how to avoid a relapse.

People often gravitate toward inpatient rehab because it gives them time to focus on recovering. They are able to set aside everything else and set their sights fully on the healing process.

Outpatient drug rehab is usually not meant for people who are new to treatment. It is a great option for anyone who has gone through an inpatient program already. But these types of programs usually do not provide enough support for someone who is quitting for the first time.

During outpatient rehab, clients usually meet with a therapist on a regular basis. Their appointments may be weekly in the beginning, and then gradually get further apart. Some of these programs may offer group therapy, but most do not. Clients are usually instructed to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings to get additional support.

Intensive outpatient treatment can be an excellent way to get help for an addiction. They require attendance at several appointments throughout the week, usually during the evening hours.

IOPs are meant to be flexible; giving people a different option for a high level of care. Studies have actually shown that they can be just as effective as inpatient programs.

Those who have experienced relapse after relapse might not do well in any of the above settings. These individuals usually need a higher standard of care in a residential treatment program. These long-term drug rehabs are often called sober living homes. They offer housing, and some may include the resident’s addiction treatment. Others may require them to go to a local IOP.

Continuing to Get Support After Rehab

Regardless of how good you feel once rehab is over, continuing to go to treatment is critical. Otherwise, you might end up relapsing eventually. Your aftercare matters, and those who attend their follow up appointments have a much better chance at staying in recovery.

This does not mean that you will have to go to rehab for the rest of your life. What it means is that you will continually step down in your treatment. The more support you can get during this time, the better your outcome will be.

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Get More Information on Ecstasy Addiction and Treatment Options

At Northpoint Washington, we know the struggle you might be facing. If you are addicted to Ecstasy, getting the help you need should be at the forefront of your mind. We are here to assist you during every step of your recovery.

Can we answer any of your questions about Ecstasy addiction and treatment? Please contact us.

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