Ecstasy Addiction

Short Term Effects of Using Ecstacy

Ecstasy (aka “E”, “X”, “XTC”, MDMA, etc) is one of the most commonly used substances at raves.

It influences several different points of the central nervous system.  However, the most notable effects are on the serotonin neurotransmitter system.

During Ecstasy intoxication, users feel increased energy, empathy, self-confidence, and mood. Ecstasy is sometime called the “hug drug” because users feel a strong drive for physical contact and heightened sensations.

Short Term Damage

Many ecstasy addicts will keep something in their mouths to habitually chew. This is because the drug stimulates areas in the brain that cause automated movements like chewing or gnawing.

Because ecstasy depletes serotonin from neurons, there can be a crash, of sorts, after intoxication. Users report the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety once the initial effects are gone.

While users do not develop a dependency on ecstasy, users begin to feel worse between periods of intoxication. Moreover, higher doses of ecstasy are required to achieve the desired intoxicating effect.

Long Term Damage

MDMA is a neurotoxin and a rather powerful and selective neurotoxin at that. Ecstasy targets serotonin neurons and kills them.

People that destroy their serotonin neurons through an addiction to ecstasy use may develop serious and severe depression throughout life.1

Since most treatments for depression like Prozac or Zoloft require functioning serotonin neurons in order to work, the depression that a former ecstasy addict will experience is very difficult to treat.

One of the only interventions that seems to work is electroconvulsive “shock” therapy.2

Ecstasy Overdose

The drug increases blood pressure and muscle movement, which leads to increased body temperature. Ecstasy can cause also cause:

  • Severe dehydration
  • Electrolyte disturbances
  • Seizures
  • Rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown)
  • Kidney failure
  • Death3

Symptoms and Signs of Ecstasy Abuse

Long term ecstasy use can lead to mood disturbances such as depression. It is especially difficult for parents to detect signs of an Ecstasy addict or abuse because fatigue, moodiness, and detachment are, to a certain extent, considered normal in adolescence.

Adverse Interactions

MDMA is often used with a number of other drugs to increase or change the quality of its effects. Emergency department physicians routinely detect other party drugs and street drugs along with ecstasy.

One of the most dangerous new trends is for Ecstasy users to take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors  (SSRIs) at the same time.4 These two agents work together to deplete neurons of serotonin much more quickly.


Find a rehab that specializes in treating an addiction to ecstasy.