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Ecstasy Abuse

Ecstasy Abuse

Ecstasy Abuse

A popular known synthetic drug, ecstasy is a psychoactive drug that is also known as MDMA. It has stimulant properties, which are similar to the hallucinogen and amphetamine. It produces feelings of enhanced emotional warmth and empathy, energy, euphoria, and distortions in time and sensory perception. It was initially popular among adolescents and young adults in rave parties and night clubs. Yet, now, it affects a wider range of users from different ages, ethnicity, and genders.

How is Ecstasy Abused?

An illegal drug, ecstasy acts both as a psychedelic and stimulant, enhancing the enjoyment from affectionate experiences and creating an energizing effect and distortions in perception and time, among others. It is abused by taking it orally in tablet or capsule forms. Its effects can last up to 3 to 6 hours and users usually take their second dose after the effects of the initial dose starts to fade. Typically, it is taken with other drugs, which may include Viagra, ketamine, methamphetamine, GHB, marijuana, and cocaine, as part of a multi-drug experience.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

The use of ecstasy provides short term effects, which include increased physical energy, enhanced emotional warmth, increased sensory perception, and mental stimulation. Because of these effects, a person taking ecstasy may seem to be full of energy or hyperactive, very friendly, may hear or see things that others cannot, and wide awake for many hours even after doing strenuous activities.

Ecstasy is also characterized by several adverse symptoms, which may include the following:

  • clenching of the teeth
  • muscle cramps
  • blurred vision
  • sweating
  • chills
  • nausea

Effects of Ecstasy Abuse

Numerous long term adverse effects

Ecstasy abuse produces numerous long term side effects, which can be detrimental to the body. These effects include cravings for the drug, severe anxiety, sleep problems, depression, and confusion. The cravings for the drug occur after taking only a small amount of it. Poor performance in cognitive tasks is observed in most chronic users.

Dependency to the drug

For some users, ecstasy can be addictive. According to the NIDA, nearly half of the ecstasy users suffer from dependency and withdrawal. The symptoms of withdrawal include depression, trouble in concentrating, loss of appetite, and over fatigue. Similar to other drug stimulants, ecstasy abuse is characterized by adverse symptoms, which include high blood pressure, increased heart rate, sweating, chills, faintness, and muscle tension, among others. These symptoms are especially dangerous for users who have heart disease or circulatory problems.

Hyperthermia

In high doses, ecstasy abuse hinders the body’s ability to normalize temperature. On some unpredictable cases, ecstasy abuse can lead to a rapid increase in body temperature, which leads to hyperthermia. This can then result to cardiovascular system, liver failure, kidney, and even death. Ecstasy abuse can also interfere with the body’s ability to break down the substance, causing potentially harmful level of the substance buildup in the body if taken repeatedly within a short period of time.

Compounded Risks

A known fact that compounds the risks of using ecstasy is that there are other potentially harmful drugs, which include synthetic cathinones, a psychoactive ingredient in bath salts, are also sold as ecstasy. These harmful drugs can be neurotoxic and may pose more health risks. Some ecstasy tablets may also contain additional harmful substances such as methamphetamine, dextromethorphan, cocaine, ketamine, caffeine, and ephedrine. The combination of ecstasy and any of these substances can be hazardous or even fatal. Ecstasy users who unknowingly or intentionally combine substances like alcohol and marijuana are putting themselves and their health at a higher risk.

Promotes Unsafe Sex

Furthermore, the intimacy-promoting effects of ecstasy use in sexually charged perspective, combined with sildenafil, may promote unsafe sex, which may increase the risks of spreading or contracting hepatitis and HIV diseases.

Ecstasy Abuse Statistics

There are about 2.8 million Americans from all ages who had misused ecstasy in 2009, based on the nationwide survey on health and drug use. In 2010, the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) issued a drug report that there are 4.5% of twelfth graders, 4.7% of tenth graders, and 2.4% of eighth graders had misused ecstasy for at least once within that year. This indicates how popular ecstasy is in schools and clubs where the younger age group is typically found. The report also shows that 43% of those who abused ecstasy became dependent to the drug.

Teen Ecstasy Abuse

Teens who love to party and experiment with alcohol and drugs are more likely prone to ecstasy abuse. To help prevent them from using this drug, it is important for their parents to inform them about the facts of ecstasy and how it can be detrimental to their overall health and well-being. It is also important for parents or family members to know the signs and symptoms of ecstasy abuse to provide immediate help for the teen before things get worst and out of hand. Letting him know and understand the dangers of ecstasy abuse can help him get rid of it.

Treatment for Ecstasy Abuse

Though there is no known drug treatment for ecstasy addiction, there is a treatment available for those who abused ecstasy and suffer from addiction to it. This treatment is known as cognitive-behavioral therapy. It is commonly used to control and manage the adverse psychological effects of ecstasy after detoxification.

 

Sources:

  1. MDMA Ecstasy Abuse: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/mdma-ecstasy-abuse