Ecstasy is an amphetamine derivative that stimulates a user’s central nervous system while causing mild hallucinatory effects. The Food and Drug Administration and law enforcement authorities classify Ecstasy as a Schedule I controlled substance. From its first formulations in the early part of the twentieth century and at least through the seventies, Ecstasy had been used to treat trauma and depression. This drug has no current medically-accepted uses and it currently remains solely in the realm of recreational drugs. Ecstasy has the same effects on a brain’s dopamine reward system as stronger and more addictive drugs, but it is considered to be less addictive than those drugs. Nonetheless, a regular Ecstasy user can become dependent upon or addicted to ecstasy over long periods of Ecstasy use.
Effects of Ecstasy
Regular users of Ecstasy will find that they need increasingly greater amounts of the drug to experience the same effects. As their bodies and brain chemistries become more tolerant of Ecstasy, those users are also at risk of ingesting larger quantities of substances that are used to adulterate the Ecstasy that is commonly sold by illegal street distributors. Ecstasy users might also be tempted to use more addictive drugs, including heroin and cocaine, to deal with the depression that they experience when the effects of Ecstasy begin to wear off. From both these perspectives, Ecstasy users may be exposing themselves to addictions to those substances in addition to developing an Ecstasy habit.
Ecstasy addiction or dependence generally does not involve a physical dependence on the drug in the same manner as a drug addict is physically dependent on heroin or cocaine, for example. Ecstasy dependency occurs primarily on a psychological level. Ecstasy addicts will continue to use the drug notwithstanding health, social, or career problems that are caused by their Ecstasy use. They will crave and obsess over Ecstasy and plan their schedules around their next anticipated Ecstasy high. They will experience anxiety and depression and they will have problems concentrating when the effects of Ecstasy have worn off. Heavy Ecstasy use will also cause physical problems, including elevated blood pressure and heart rate and difficulty in regulating body temperature.
Individuals who develop a tolerance for Ecstasy are exposing themselves to a danger of Ecstasy overdose. Ecstasy-related deaths have been reported among users who have taken high doses of Ecstasy that caused such high body temperature and blood pressure spikes that the user’s body simply shut down. Ecstasy users often remain awake for extended period of time, thus further endangering their health and exposing them to these and other risks.
Like many abused chemical and pharmacological substances, long-term Ecstasy use will supplant your ability to make sound decisions and to control your actions. Your life will revolve around Ecstasy with little consideration of anything else.
If you find that you are obsessively focused on Ecstasy or your use of Ecstasy is increasing without your ability to control that use, please contact the counselors and therapists at the Last Resort Recovery Center (near Austin, Texas) at 512-360-3600 for more information on how Ecstasy is affecting your brain and body. Contrary to popular culture, Ecstasy is not a safe drug. We can help you take the necessary steps and actions to remove Ecstasy and its risks and dangers from your life.