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What is ecstasy?

Ecstasy or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), with popular street names like “Molly,” “Adams,” and “E,” is one of the many club drugs abused worldwide. Since its introduction to the underground rave scenes in the early 1980s, ecstasy has grown in prevalence throughout the world, mostly in the United Kingdom and the United States. Although deaths from ecstasy are relatively low, the drug does pose the risk of hyperthermia (heat stroke), hyponatremia (water intoxication) and in rare cases, heart attack or suffocation.

A designer drug that combines the effects of stimulants and hallucinogens, people use ecstasy to experience feelings of energy, pleasure, and warmth. Usually sold in pill or capsule form, its use along with other drugs like alcohol is common but makes its consumption riskier.

Classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, ecstasy is less habit forming but affects parts of the brain that controls sleep, aggression, mood and response to pain. As it allows its users to stay awake for longer periods, they might end up drinking too much, too often, thereby, being at a risk of alcohol poisoning. Owing to its euphoria-causing effects, it is widely abused by teens as a stimulant, recreational drug and a club drug used in dance parties with electronic music.

Ecstasy abuse: signs and symptoms

An illegal drug with no approved medical usage, the typical manufacturing of ecstasy happens in laboratories overseas after which people sell it as colorful pills that look like candies. The ability of the drug to heighten the feelings of love and empathy in its users makes it addictive in nature. As MDMA causes the brain to produce an overload of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, it often creates the feeling of happiness and pleasure and reduces anxiety and depression among its users.

Often abused to diminish inhibitions, increase alertness, enhance energy, improve mood and increase pleasure from physical touch, ecstasy abuse causes its user to experience negative consequences, including muscle tension, higher heart rate, and increased blood pressure, among others.

Though not all people who take the drug become addicted to it, it has a high potential for physical and psychological addiction. Following are some of the signs and symptoms of ecstasy addiction:

  • Drug dependence
  • Secretive behavior
  • Teeth clenching
  • Euphoria
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Increased thirst

Ecstasy abuse: health consequences

Young people use ecstasy because of its ability to produce a strong sense of euphoria, reduce social anxiety, stress or fear; and enhance tactile sensations, introspection and empathy. As the effects of the drug do not last for long, its users often take additional doses when they feel the effects start to wear off. Unlike its primary effects, which last for up to a few hours, the secondary effects of MDMA (especially depression) can last for as long as a week after the last use.

The real danger of ecstasy lies in its effect on the regulation of body temperature. The ability to increase the release of three major neurotransmitters as well as stimulate the nervous systems is why ecstasy can prevent the body from feeling the sensation of overheating, allowing the user to get dangerously hot without realizing it.

The threat of hyperthermia can even lead to death. As ecstasy overdose increases the risk of overheating, many people, especially inexperienced users, overhydrate that can lead to hyponatremia or water poisoning. When the body takes in too much water, its sodium levels become unbalanced, causing the organs to swell. And if the brain expands too much, it risks crushing the brain stem that can further lead to coma or death.

Ecstasy is most dangerous when combined with alcohol. Its effect can be opposite to that usually created by stimulants. Those with existing issues related to heart, blood pressure and breathing are also at a higher risk of heart attack or suffocation – the latter due to MDMA’s tendency to cause sleep apnea. Kidney and liver failure as well as bleeding in the lungs, though rare, can also occur due to overdose. Ecstasy use can even lead to heat stroke, water intoxication and suffocation, though its death toll is relatively low.

Treatment for ecstasy addiction

A comprehensive treatment for ecstasy addiction involves a thorough assessment of the patient’s mental and physical health, medically assisted detoxification treatment, behavioral therapies or counseling sessions, followed by social support from family and friends as well as any other support and intervention, as per the need.

An essential part of the treatment process is pre-assessment that allows healthcare professionals to understand the problem before designing the treatment programs. Considered the first step in addiction treatment, a supervised ecstasy detox treatment helps in getting rid of the toxic substances from the body and handling the drug’s initial, intense withdrawal symptoms. Behavioral counseling comes next in the line of treatment and helps in identifying any underlying medical conditions that might be behind the addiction.

As therapy and treatment are time-bound; post their completion, patients often require other support and interventions as long-term aftercare treatment, depending on their individual needs and requirements.

Why choose Sovereign Health

A leading addiction treatment provider, Sovereign Health provides comprehensive, personalized and evidence-based treatment to foster long-term care. Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego provides a high level of care to teen patients, including those abusing ecstasy.

Our team of trained clinicians and psychologists offer top-notch ecstasy addiction treatment by utilizing cutting-edge technologies and treatment methods. Our treatment programs for ecstasy addiction take care of the specific needs of the recovering individual, thereby, offering the best chance at a successful recovery. In addition to traditional treatment options, we also offer cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), solution-focused therapy (SFT), experiential therapies like yoga, meditation, and expressive arts therapy to help our patients walk seamlessly on the path to recovery.

As part of their treatment, patients at our Rancho San Diego facility can also take part in process groups, skill building groups, optional 12-step groups and support group meetings, all of which are available after completion of the initial treatment. We also ensure that when a patient comes to us for treatment of an addiction or mental disorder, he/she also receives treatment for behavioral or personal issues as well. This helps the patient attain a full and healthy recovery. This gives us an edge in the behavioral healthcare field as most our patients never require another therapy or treatment for the same addiction or mental health problem they had faced before.

Accredited by The Joint Commission, our Rancho San Diego facility provides ecstasy addiction treatment with high levels of care. For more information about Sovereign Health’s adolescent treatment programs or to locate the finest ecstasy detox centers near you, call our admissions team on our 24/7 helpline number. You can even chat online with our representatives for further assistance.

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