Ecstasy has gained the reputation of being a “safe” drug by users. It is one of the so-called “party drugs”. It is, however far from safe. Any drug that alters the chemicals in the brain can be dangerous. Ecstasy users often combine this drug with alcohol and other drugs, compounding the danger. It has been compared to being similar in effect to mixing amphetamine and mescaline. This is because it has both stimulating and hallucinogen properties. Users often report feeling more energetic and positive and also feeling that both time and the surrounding environment have been altered. The effects of this drug are caused by the alteration of three neurotransmitters.
Your Brain on Ecstasy
Neurotransmitters are message-carriers in the brain. The ones affected by ecstasy abuse are:
- Norepinephrine – This chemical increases heart rate and blood pressure.
For anywhere from three to six hours after taking this drug, a person experiences increased heart rate, sexual arousal, increased mood, sweating, an altered perception and irregular body temperature. Once the initial effects wear off, you can experience symptoms for as long as a week afterward. These may include, irritability, anger, depression, impulse problems, memory issues and sleep problems.
Why Ecstasy is Dangerous
Ecstasy alone can cause everything from nausea to death. Additional problems arise because many people combine it with other drugs or alcohol. In the recent past, Ecstasy has been mixed with other ingredients that cause it to create even more danger, especially when the one taking it doesn’t know it isn’t pure Ecstasy. Some of the dangers of Ecstasy use are:
- Other negative effects occur when the drug is mixed or used in conjunction with other drugs and these effects differ depending on what the other drug is.
One thing that makes Ecstasy particularly dangerous is that your body doesn’t completely metabolize it. This means that the more you use it, the more it builds up in your system and this increases the risk more with each use. Over time, seizures and heart failure become more and more likely.
It isn’t known exactly how addictive Ecstasy is, but the fact that it doesn’t completely leave your system indicates that dependency can occur, especially on a psychological level. Withdrawal from Ecstasy can result in tremors, dizziness, nausea, an inability to regulate body temperature and depression. Ecstasy abuse treatment is something that needs to be undertaken as soon as possible because of the high risk of death resulting from regular abuse.
At this point, the most effective treatment for ecstasy drug addiction is a combination of group and individual therapy combined with behavior modification. Treatment for Ecstasy may be done on either an outpatient or inpatient basis, depending on what other factors are involved. A thorough evaluation, both mental and physical will need to be done in order to know how much damage may have done by Ecstasy abuse. At this point, the drug hasn’t been studied enough to determine what long-term effects may follow. For now, detox and behavior modification to eliminate the thinking processes that led to the Ecstasy abuse and provide you or your loved one with alternative coping strategies to help make better choices in the future.