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A stimulant and psychedelic, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is used by many teenagers and adolescents to enhance their state of mind, experience a sense of euphoria, lose inhibition and increase feelings of closeness and sensuality. It is a synthetic amphetamine made from MDP2P (3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl-2-propanone) as a precursor. MDP2P, in turn, is generally produced from piperonal, safrole or isosafrole.

A popular club drug, some other common names for MDMA include “ecstasy,” “XTC,” “Adam,” “E,” “X,” “Clarity,” “Stacy,” and “Molly.” Categorized as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the drug has become a popular rave drug among young people due to its ability to enhance empathy, sociability and produce feelings of euphoria.

MDMA abuse: health consequences

When taken for several days in a row or repeatedly over long periods, MDMA use can lead to physical and psychological problems. MDMA addiction affects individuals of all ages. In the days and weeks following its use, users often experience lasting changes in their mood and behavior, have memory problems and cognitive difficulties. A moderate use of the drug may cause its users to experience a range of emotions, including irritability, anxiety, restlessness and sadness.

In addition to psychological symptoms, users abusing the drug also experience a host of physical symptoms. MDMA abuse can affect body temperature, and its higher doses can lead to cardiovascular, kidney or liver damage and even failure. Other effects include myocardial infarctions, heat stroke and suffocation.

Hyperthermia, or excessive body temperature, is the most critical side effect of MDMA abuse. Hyperthermia leads to extremely high temperatures, resulting in organ failure and even death. Body temperatures rise slowly, which many users are not aware until it may be too late. However, as soon as they know, they hydrate excessively to prevent hyperthermia, but over-hydrating can lead to other negative effects. Over-hydration can lead to lower sodium levels in the body, resulting in cerebral edema, or brain swelling. Cerebral edema can result in coma, brain death and/or death.

Ecstasy or MDMA is most dangerous when combined with depressants, alcohol or benzodiazepines. The side effects of depressants are opposite to that of stimulants. Although the possibility of MDMA addiction is still under scrutiny because of unsurety of the addictive nature, the fact that MDMA use is dangerous is well known.

MDMA abuse: signs and symptoms

MDMA usually comes in a tablet or pill form, but users also swallow the liquid form or snort the powder form. This drug is often not pure and many users mistake it for “bath salts.” As with any synthetic drug, you never know what you are actually getting. The effects of MDMA use usually last between three and six hours, but many users take a second dose to experience a prolonged feeling of high.

Following are some of the symptoms of MDMA abuse:

  • Change in mental status
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Hyperthermia
  • Headache
  • Ataxia
  • Blurred vision, halos
  • Chest pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Anorexia
  • Diaphoresis (excessive sweating)
  • Sexual dysfunction

MDMA users commonly develop bruxism (jaw clenching), resulting in enamel erosion and dental decay. Because many users have an oral fixation and grind their teeth, it is common to see clubbers with lollipops or even pacifiers to alleviate their oral fixation without damaging their teeth.

MDMA abuse: withdrawal symptoms

Continued use of MDMA can cause one to develop a psychological and physical dependence on the drug. Once stopped abruptly, the users can experience several uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Some of them are:

  • Irritability
  • Impulsiveness and aggression
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory and attention problems
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased interest in and pleasure from sex

A supervised detox program at a certified treatment center can help ease MDMA withdrawal symptoms and minimize the likelihood of a relapse.

MDMA addiction treatment

Though there is no medication used for MDMA treatment, behavioral therapy may help. Not much is known about addiction to MDMA, thus little can be said about the importance of MDMA detox treatment. However, the most effective treatment programs for drug abuse combine medically supervised detoxification treatment with cognitive behavioral interventions with the aim of changing patients’ thinking and behavior patterns.


Why choose Sovereign Health

Sovereign Health’s Rancho San Diego facility offers treatment to teens aged 12 to 17 years for substance abuse, mental health and co-occurring disorders. The treatment programs at Sovereign are individualized and tailored to meet each patient’s needs. Patients at the Rancho San Diego facility receive evidence-based, experiential treatment, in combination with individual and group therapies to overcome their use of alcohol and/or drugs.

As there is no one treatment for all and each recovering individual responds differently to different treatments, the team at Sovereign Health’s Rancho San Diego facility works together with the patients to design an individualized treatment program.

The trained staff at Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego keeps a round-the-clock check on the updated information regarding patients’ recovery and any other related challenges. Basis the same and the duration of drug abuse, treatment programs for MDMA addiction at our facility treat the core addiction problem using a range of evidence-based behavioral therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), neurofeedback training, and experiential therapy, among others.

Our holistic approach to treatment makes us the preferred choice for many. What adds an unseen benefit to our treatment programs is the fact that after completion of the initial treatment, our patients have the option to avail aftercare, through which they can attend support groups, 12-step meetings and educational events to keep themselves motivated toward recovery and to deal with unexpected challenges.

To learn more about Sovereign Health’s adolescent treatment programs or to locate the finest MDMA detox centers near you, call our admissions team on our 24/7 helpline number and know how your loved one can embark on the road to recovery. You can even chat online with our representatives for further assistance.

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