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MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly) Addiction Signs And Symptoms

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

June 12, 2019

MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly) can be dangerous and even deadly. Knowing the addiction signs and symptoms can help prevent potentially life-threatening health conditions and death.

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, is a derivative of amphetamine. This substance acts as a stimulant and hallucinogen. Developed in 1912, MDMA has been involved in a variety of scientific and social experiments.

MDMA has been used as a diet pill, a therapeutic drug, and was the first psychoactive drug approved for human testing. MDMA was deemed too dangerous for human consumption and was placed on a permanent Schedule I ban, which is defined as substances with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

However, even with a ban on MDMA, the drug continues to be produced illegally. On the streets, MDMA has multiple names and is known as “molly” and “ecstasy.” Molly is the crystallized form of MDMA and is sold as a powder. Ecstasy is the tablet or capsule form of MDMA.

People who take street drugs believe their molly or ecstasy contains pure MDMA. However, since the drug is unregulated, there can be no way to tell what substances make up street-bought MDMA. Molly or ecstasy can include a variety of hazardous compounds, such as bath salts or heroin, and can be extremely dangerous for the person.

Regardless of the health concerns, ecstasy has become the most popular drug for those who frequent the club scene. MDMA enhances the experience of those who take it while partying. When coupled with ecstasy, dancing at a club provides the person with a highly pleasureful and euphoric feeling. The desire to keep this high going creates a cycle of dependence and makes MDMA a highly addictive substance.

Symptoms Of Ecstasy Abuse And Addiction

One of the main ecstasy addiction signs includes abusing the drug to the point where it is no longer enjoyable. People who are addicted to MDMA often continue to take the drug just to feel “normal.”

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When ingested, MDMA forces the brain to create serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These chemicals work simultaneously to create feelings of happiness and pleasure that ecstasy is known for.

When the high wears off, it leaves the brain depleted of serotonin, which can cause the following symptoms:

  • confusion
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • sleep problems
  • irritability

To avoid these symptoms, a person will ingest the drug more frequently and in larger doses. They do this to chase the buzz and mask their current unpleasant state of mind. Unfortunately, one taste of ecstasy can have life-long implications on a person’s health. Ecstasy is a dangerous drug and carries the potential for physical dependence.

Physical Symptoms Of Ecstasy Abuse

It can sometimes be difficult to spot signs of ecstasy use. People who take this drug may combine it with other mind and body altering substances such as alcohol. Mixing intoxicants can mask ecstasy symptoms, which makes pinpointing addiction signs difficult. However, there are a few significant symptoms that will expose this drug use to others.

The symptoms of ecstasy use include:

  • increased euphoria
  • increased desire to touch and feel
  • teeth clenching
  • unusual feelings and expressions of love
  • elevated levels of thirst
  • impulsiveness
  • dulled response to pain
  • reduced anxiety and depression

Behavioral Signs Of Ecstasy Abuse

A family member or loved one can try to hide the physical changes of this addition. However, you can spot emerging patterns within their behavior to determine signs of ecstasy use.

Some of these behavioral changes you may notice include:

  • frequent club going
  • difficulty with responsibilities
  • lying
  • financial problems
  • secretive behavior
  • hiding drugs around the home
  • depression and sullenness
  • extreme happiness or euphoria

When MDMA is within your system, it produces exceptionally high levels of euphoric feelings. Conversely, when the drug wears off, the withdrawal can be somewhat uncomfortable and cause the person to feel sick and depressed for days.

If you notice anyone with extremely fluctuating highs or lows or if they exhibit any signs of ecstasy abuse or use, contact a professional immediately.

Side Effects And Long Term Symptoms Of Ecstacy Abuse

People who use MDMA or ecstasy on a long-term basis can be susceptible to dependence or addiction. Once physical dependence develops, the person will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using. To avoid the feeling the “down” associated with discontinuing the drug, many people increase their doses and use the medicine for long periods of time.

Ecstasy and MDMA abuse can have serious long-term consequences, such as:

  • brain damage
  • memory impairment
  • paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, or flashbacks
  • kidney damage
  • repeated panic attacks
  • anxiety
  • severe depression
  • serotonin neurotoxicity

Abuse of this drug can lead to both negative short-term and long-term consequences. The more you take, the higher your risk for overdose. An overdose of this drug can cause severe health problems for the person or in some cases, death.

Treatment For Ecstacy Abuse And Addiction

Increased patterns of MDMA abuse can lead to serious life consequences, such as addiction and brain damage. Fortunately, there are options to help a friend or loved one recover from MDMA addiction. There are several professional drug treatment programs that can help those addicted to MDMA recover from their addiction.

Some of these programs are:

  • inpatient therapy
  • outpatient therapy
  • individual therapy
  • group therapy
  • family therapy

There is no single preferred method for the treatment of ecstasy addiction. The longer a person remains in a program of recovery, the better his or her sobriety outcome will be. People who attend therapy for extended periods have better long-term results and fewer relapses. Those recovering should continue with support groups indefinitely as a way to encourage and retain their sobriety.

To learn more about ecstasy addiction signs and symptoms and the treatment options available, contact our dedicated treatment specialists today.

National Institute on Drug Abuse - What is MDMA?

National Institute on Drug Abuse - MDMA Abuse

Narconon - - History of Ecstasy -

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