3,4–Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, much more commonly called MDMA, ecstasy or molly, is a synthetic, Schedule I drug known for its effects as a stimulant of the central nervous system and hallucinogen. MDMA “produces an energizing effect, distortions in time and perception, and enhanced enjoyment from sensory experiences. It has also been described as an entactogen—a drug that can increase self-awareness and empathy.”
What is MDMA?
Colloquially termed a party drug, MDMA is frequently used to enhance experiences like festivals and raves. However, unlike a summer music festival, MDMA use is not a harmlessly fun experience.
MDMA most often comes in pill form and occasionally as a crystal or powder. While it is presumed to be the drug being consumed, many manufacturers actually mix MDMA with other ingredients, or go so far as to only use other ingredients, heightening the risk of ingesting additionally dangerous substances.
Other substances may include, but are not limited to:
- Paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA);
- Synthetic cathinones;
- Household cleaning products.
Those who ingest MDMA are victim to both immediate and long term side effects to both physical and mental health, as well as the risk of overdose or poisoning as a result of additional substances.
MDMA effects on the brain
MDMA mainly effects the serotonin system where neurons in the brain communicate with other neurons. It mimics the release of serotonin from one neuron to the other, giving users a type of high. Short term effects typically occur 30–45 minutes after ingestion and continue for four to six hours.
People under the influence of MDMA may experience physical effects including:
- Muscle tension;
- Involuntary teeth clenching;
- Impaired judgement;
- Blurred vision;
- Increases in heart rate and blood pressure.
In addition, because MDMA use increases feelings of emotional warmth, connectedness and extroversion, and decreases proper judgement, users have been reported to be more willing to engage in reckless sexual activity while under the influence of MDMA.
Short term effects
In the days following MDMA use, you may experience issues with sleep, memory, mood and appetite due to the damage done to the brain’s serotonin neurons. Because MDMA does effect the brain, mood issues you might experience after MDMA use include:
These MDMA drug effects, while they occur shortly after use, can last for weeks after taking the drug.
MDMA’s long term effects
Interestingly, MDMA is taken for the purpose of enhancing pleasure, but MDMA use ultimately damages the body’s ability to experience pleasure naturally by damaging serotonin production in the brain. This means that those who continuously use MDMA will no longer be able to experience serotonin increases naturally without the use of MDMA.
Additionally, because serotonin is responsible for the regulation of other bodily systems, the longer MDMA use goes, the more likely these systems will malfunction, resulting in:
- Mood irregularities, such as depression and anxiety;
- Memory and one’s ability to retain information long term;
Additional long term effects of MDMA include — liver damage, kidney failure, cardiovascular collapse and brain damage.
Risking overdose with MDMA
There have been reports of overdose deaths linked to MDMA from effects like rapid heart beat, high blood pressure and, most commonly, hyperthermia, or the sharp increase in body temperature that results in the failure of liver, kidney and cardiovascular functioning.
Other signs of overdose from MDMA include:
- High body temperature;
- Convulsions or seizures;
- Irrational behavior that is out-of-character;
- Agitation or anxiety;
- Paranoia, aggression or irritability;
If you feel like you, or someone you are with, are experiencing symptoms of an overdose, it is crucial to get professional medical help immediately.
Reach out for MDMA addiction treatment
Possibly you recognize the signs of MDMA addiction in your life; maybe you have only used a couple of times, but are afraid of the possibility of addiction and want to act proactively to avoid addiction; or it might be that you have a close friend or family member battling addiction and you want to offer them help and support.
No matter what your situation may be, the specialists at Rehab After Work are here to offer care, support and guidance. Call to speak to one of our professional therapists about MDMA addiction treatment options today at 610-644-6464.