Ecstasy Addiction

Ecstasy is the commonly-known name for MDMA, a synthetic, psychoactive drug originally developed as an appetite suppressant but was never widely used for this purpose because of its hallucinogenic properties. Ecstasy is mostly produced in a white crystalline powder and sold in the form of a tablet stamped with one of many street-name logos, but can also be smoked and inhaled

Ecstasy was originally associated with early 90s 'rave' culture and the intense, euphoric high experienced, which lasted for 3 -5 hours and allowed users to stay awake and dance all night. Frequent users can become addicted to the 'emotional' state and pleasurable effects produced by taking the drug, such as self-confidence, energy, happiness and "closeness with others."

Ecstasy will also raise the heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to seizures. The body's temperature control can become affected, which increases the chances of overheating and dehydration. Drinking too much fluid interferes with the body's salt balance, which can also be fatal.

Physical effects of taking ecstasy are, most typically:
  • Dehydration
  • Chills, sweating, hyperthermia
  • Muscle-tension, teeth clenching
  • Nausea, blurred vision, faintness
  • Heart or kidney failure – in extreme cases

Symptoms and Warning Signs

Repeated use of ecstasy can eventually damage production of a brain chemical called serotonin, which regulates mood, learning, memory, appetite and pain.

Common changes in behaviour are :
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Reduced focus and attention
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lingering feelings of "empathy" and emotional sensitivity

Ecstasy addiction can quickly develop as tolerance to the effects leads to the need for frequent and increased usage.

Psychological problems encountered from repeated use can include:
  • Sleep problems
  • Confusion, anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia

Verbal and memory functions can be permanently impaired as a result of ecstasy abuse, and severe depression and anxiety can continue even after the user has stopped using ecstasy.

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