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Understanding the Effects of Ecstasy Use

Ecstasy, which is also known as MDMA, is an illegal drug that can pose plenty of health problems and dangers for people who use it. While the short-term risks of ecstasy abuse can be serious, the negative long term effects of the drug are often more troubling and can wreak considerable havoc on drug users’ lives.

Even though many people understand that drug abuse is dangerous, they may not realize just how many aspects of a person’s life can be negatively affected and even destroyed by long-term ecstasy use. The following issues can result from ecstasy abuse and addiction that takes place over the years.

Trouble with Brain Function

Just like with all drugs, ecstasy causes emotional shifts and mood changes in people who are using the substance. However, even after users come down from feeling high, they often still experience extreme emotions. They may have trouble sleeping and feel confused, anxious and depressed. For people who abuse ecstasy over the long term, these negative feelings may persist for extended periods of time.

In fact, some research studies have shown that repeated ecstasy use can continue to have a negative impact on the brain for up to seven years after the drug abuse took place. Specifically, experts believe the drug can cause long-term damage to sections of the brain that deal with memory and learning functions.

The good news is that researchers are still learning more about these effects and that they may actually be reversible if ecstasy abusers seek professional help and remain clean over the long term.

Damage to the Body

Excessive drug use often leads to organ damage, with ecstasy being no exception. This drug has many harmful effects on the body, including:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Muscle tension
  • Tooth grinding
  • Seizures
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Jaw clenching
  • Increased body temperature

These reactions often occur in the short term, but the repetition of these effects can lead to permanent damage. For example, hours of tooth grinding and clenching over the long term can cause various types of severe tooth damage, such as stripped tooth enamel, teeth that are worn down to stumps and cracked teeth. To make matters worse, individuals who are addicted to ecstasy may devote their time and money to purchasing and using drugs, so they may not seek out the dental care necessary to resolve these problems. When ecstasy users neglect their dental health, their damaged teeth will often continue to deteriorate and decay.

Long-term ecstasy use also damages other areas of the body. Because the drug increases blood pressure and puts considerable strain on the heart, prolonged use can be dangerous for people who have existing heart conditions. Even more troubling, using ecstasy over the years can also put strain on an individual’s kidneys and liver. In the worst cases, these organs can fail and even cause death.

Financial Woes

For some people, even short-term drug use can be financially damaging. But over an extended period of time, the regular purchase of ecstasy can add up and amount to thousands of dollars.

When people become addicted to ecstasy and other drugs, they often lose perspective on how much money they’re spending on these substances. They may neglect important bills like rent payments, healthcare and utilities – all in the name of purchasing more drugs. Failure to pay these bills can even lead to homelessness in the worst-case scenarios.

People who suffer from ecstasy addiction may also become so involved with drug use that they neglect their responsibilities at work. Individuals with drug abuse or addiction problems may arrive late, skip work altogether, miss deadlines and have low productivity levels. Ecstasy abusers can get fired because of these issues, leading to even worse financial problems.

Sometimes, when drug abusers don’t actually have the money they need to purchase more ecstasy, they’ll seek out other ways to get the funds, such as borrowing from family members and friends. In extreme cases, they may even turn to illegal activities like robbery or prostitution, which could lead to arrest and jail time.

Strained Personal Relationships

Perhaps one of the most painful aspects of long-term ecstasy use is the toll it takes on personal relationships. When ecstasy users become addicted to the drug, they will often devote substantial amounts of time to activities that involve ecstasy use, such as raves and parties.

Spending more time on drug-related activities often means eliminating or cutting back on anything that doesn’t involve ecstasy use. That typically means that family members and close friends – many of whom are concerned about the person’s drug use – will get pushed out of the picture.

A lack of social interaction isn’t the only thing that affects a drug user’s personal relationship. Just as ecstasy abusers may neglect certain professional duties, they might also ignore their family responsibilities, such as cleaning, cooking, picking up the kids from school, giving a family member a ride or showing up for important appointments and events.

The financial strain that long-term drug abuse causes may also enhance stress among family members, especially if a drug abuser is repeatedly borrowing money from those individuals to purchase more drugs.

Risk of Tolerance and Overdose

As is the case with many forms form of drug abuse, repeated ecstasy use over the long term can cause people to become tolerant to the drug. This means that the more frequently people take ecstasy the less effect the drug has on their bodies. Because the drug isn’t giving them the same sensations as it initially did, users may take even more of the drug to achieve the same type of high.

Unfortunately, this can be a dangerous occurrence that actually increases the risk of long-term damage to the body and can even lead to overdoses and death. The number of people who die from drug overdoses has been steadily increasing, with a reported 38,329 drug overdose deaths reported in the United States in 2010.

The signs of an ecstasy overdose include a lightheaded feeling, seizures, panic attacks, high blood pressure and a sharp increase in body temperature. This higher body temperature may be easy for drug users and their companions to overlook, especially when ecstasy is taken in crowded dance clubs, where everyone may already feel hot and sweaty.

However, any unusual rise in body temperature should be addressed immediately. Hyperthermia from an ecstasy overdose can lead to a serious heat stroke, bleeding and organ failure, which can cause death.

Help for Ecstasy Abuse and Addiction

As devastating as all these effects are, the good news is that users can prevent and even reverse these issues by seeking professional for overcoming their addictions. Professional drug rehab programs not only teach recovering abusers how to free themselves from addiction, but they can also help address some of the non-physical effects of ecstasy abuse by offering family counseling services, healthy living programs and job training and placement courses.

The important thing to remember is that even if someone has been suffering from an addiction for years, it’s never too late to seek help and move toward living a more healthy, sound and positive life.

Flesch-Reading-Ease-Score: 44

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