Understanding ecstasy drug addiction, it’s warning signs, and how to best seek treatment, can be confusing at first. This article should shed some light on these things and more…

Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) might have a long and scientific name, but people who use the drug don’t care about that. They just know that MDMA produces pleasant feelings of emotional warmth, enhanced pleasure, increased energy, and a distorted sense of time and perception. It shares the same chemical properties of both hallucinogens and stimulants. 

MDMA originally showed up in nightclubs but quickly made its way into the mainstream. If you have used the drug for very long, you know that people also call it ecstasy for the feelings they perceive that it induces. MDMA also goes by the name molly, short for molecular and a reference to the pure crystalline form of the drug as a pill. Whatever you call it, withdrawal symptoms of ecstasy and ecstasy recovery can be a challenge.

What Happens to Your Brain and Body When You Take Ecstasy?

MDMA affects three primary chemicals in your brain. These include:

  • Dopamine: This is what causes the increased energy and activity level as well as feelings of euphoria.
  • Norepinephrine: When MDMA targets this area of the brain, it sends signals to increase your heart rate and blood pressure. This can lead to deadly consequences for people who already have heart or blood vessel issues.
  • Serotonin: This chemical affects your appetite, mood, sleep, feelings of trust, and sexual arousal. It’s most likely your brain releasing large amounts of serotonin that causes the euphoric mood, feelings of emotional closeness to others, and a greater sense of empathy.

When you first start taking ecstasy, all you care about are the pleasant sensations that it provokes. However, it’s also addictive and can cause many unpleasant effects as well. The most common ones include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Chills
  • Involuntary clenching of teeth
  • Muscle cramping
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

Like most drugs, people who take ecstasy for a long time eventually build up a tolerance to it. That means that it takes more of the drug to feel the same effects that you did when you first started taking it. Because of the addictive nature of ecstasy, you may find yourself in a vicious cycle of taking the drug, having the effects wear off in a few hours, and taking another drug. When you eventually run out, the withdrawal symptoms of ecstasy can be very unpleasant. This is usually the time that people start to consider ecstasy treatment.

How Do You Know if You’re Addicted to Ecstasy?

The signs that you could be experiencing MDMA addiction are similar to those of other drugs. If you have gotten to the point where you’re thinking about ecstasy treatment, you need to be honest as you ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you use the drug more often or require increasing amounts to feel the same effect?
  • Do you feel unable to stop using, even though you know the damage ecstasy is doing to your brain and body?
  • Do you avoid friends who don’t use MDMA or other drugs and seek out new friends who do?
  • Do you only feel happy when you’re high from ecstasy?
  • Have you missed school or work or failed to meet other responsibilities due to your drug use?
  • Do you find yourself constantly thinking about the drug or how to obtain it?
  • Have you spent money needed for other things on ecstasy or stolen money to buy it?

You don’t have to answer yes to all these questions to have a problem with ecstasy drug use. If you see yourself in at least a few of these situations, then it’s time to consider treatment for MDMA addiction.

What to Expect When Withdrawing from Ecstasy

When you’re dealing with MDMA addiction, you can expect both physical and psychological symptoms when you stop taking the drug. Those in the first category include:

  • Achiness throughout your body
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia  
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sore jaw

Common psychological symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Concentration difficulty
  • Confusion
  • Craving for the drug
  • Depression
  • Feeling unmotivated
  • Memory issues
  • Suicidal ideation

Detox is the first step whether you choose inpatient or outpatient MDMA treatment. It isn’t easy, but it’s necessary to achieve a healthy and sober lifestyle moving forward. Getting off the drug is only the beginning. You also need to overcome the physical damage to your brain and body and explore the emotional issues that first caused you to take ecstasy. When evaluating treatment programs, make sure that the one you choose offers detox as well as support for your physical and emotional health. An aftercare program is also important as you adapt to an entirely different way of life.