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Long and Short-Term Effects of Ecstasy Abuse

In the party culture of today’s younger scene, ecstasy abuse is not uncommon.  Unfortunately, this innocently named drug carries some nasty side effects when used for prolonged periods.  For the most part, young people consider ecstasy safe to use because so many people are doing it.  However, they are making a decision based on limited information.  Read more to learn the facts about this dangerous club drug.

Why is Ecstasy Abuse Considered Dangerous?

Ecstasy is the more common street name for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-substituted amphetamine drug also known as MDMA. It is a synthetic chemical, with complex effects that mimic both methamphetamine, stimulants, and mescaline hallucinogens.  It was banned in 1985 by the US Drug Enforcement Agency because of its link to brain damage.  In fact, it is now a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

Side effects of ecstasy abuse can vary in intensity depending on the person’s physical health and whether other drugs or alcohol are involved.  The effects can be classified as short term or long term as follows:

Short-term Ecstasy Effects

The main short-term effect of ecstasy is suppression of basic physical behaviors such as eating or sleeping.  Some of these effects can begin within 30 minutes and last up to 6 hours. Other short-term effects a person can experience include:

  • increased energy
  • euphoria
  • enhanced alertness
  • increased focus
  • heightened sexual arousal
  • distorted perception of time
  • higher pleasure from touch or being touched

An ecstasy user also experiences sensations of peace and tranquility.  Unfortunately, they also have the stamina to dance all night without stopping.  This all-night dancing is dangerous because the person perspires heavily, thus risking the chance of dehydration, coma, or death.

Long-term Ecstasy Effects

Certain traits are shared by regular ecstasy users.  However, research is ongoing regarding the long-term effects of the drug.  For instance, some research shows that a flood of serotonin occurs in the neurotransmitters of the  brain during ecstasy use.  This overproduction of serotonin can affect the emotional process and sleep patterns leaving the person seriously impaired.

Other long-term effects of the serotonin disruption include insomnia, depression, memory loss, and anxiety.  These effects can remain for long periods following use of the drug.

How to Identify Ecstasy Overdose

Ecstasy overdose occurs when the user takes more than one pill at a time or he or she takes a series of pills over an extended period.  This type of ecstasy abuse, known as “piggybacking” is an attempt to extend the effects of the drug.

Some of the dangerous effects of “piggybacking” include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Panic attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Increased body temperature
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Organ damage

Some extreme effects occur such as heart failure, stroke, and death due to the extreme dehydration and exhaustion.

Do Ecstasy Users Have Withdrawal Symptoms?

As with any other drug, ecstasy users experience common withdrawal symptoms when the drug is withheld.  For example:

  • cravings
  • depression
  • paranoia
  • insomnia
  • out of touch with reality
  • out of body perceptions

All in all, it is clear to see that this drug is not as safe as many users perceive.

Getting Help for Ecstasy Abuse

Anyone who has used Ecstasy for a prolonged period will require the services of a professional detox and rehab to efficiently cleanse the body.  After detox, he or she should attend rehab to learn how to have fun without using dangerous addictive substances.

If you know someone who abuses Ecstasy, don’t wait until it’s too late to help them get into treatment.  Never doubt the seriousness of this club drug.  The life-altering effects of ecstasy abuse can be reversed with the right treatment before long-term consequences occur.

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