Ecstasy (also known as molly and MDMA) abuse is extremely dangerous, specifically because many people do not realize the severe physical and psychological effects the drug can have. Among these effects is addiction, and those who become addicted to ecstasy often need professional treatment in a drug rehab facility.
Many Ecstasy users initially begin using the drug for recreational purposes on the weekends when they head out to the club or to a party. Because the drug has an intense ability to create emotional happiness and closeness to others, many use Ecstasy socially similar to how one might go to a bar and have a drink. Unfortunately, like alcohol, Ecstasy abuse can lead to long term consequences and a life of addiction. Long after the club has closed, the party has ended or the games are completed, the individual who abuses Ecstasy is likely to continue to feel the lasting effects of the drug and to suffer from these effects for many years to come.
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Ecstasy Causes Brain Damage
If you knew that taking a pill just one single time could lead to permanent brain damage, would you still do it? Many people don’t know that Ecstasy can cause permanent brain damage while others who are aware of this consequence simply choose not to think about it. Many take the “it won’t happen to me” approach to Ecstasy abuse while others are simply under-educated on how severe the damage of Ecstasy abuse can really be.
This drug increases serotonin production in the brain and that’s what causes the emotional effects, the touchy attitude and the feelings of closeness to others. However, only so much serotonin can be developed and used. Eventually, the brain stops development of the serotonin or slows development progressively to a point in which the individual now has NO feelings of closeness, No feelings of happiness and No feelings of good emotions. In fact, this can lead to psychosis that may cause a very harsh reaction including:
- psychotic episodes
Who Needs Ecstasy Rehab?
Those who abuse ecstasy are often unconcerned with the potential for uncontrolled use and dangerous, drug-seeking behavior. The substance is often taken at bars, concerts, and clubs in order to enhance the experience of a live show or a night out, giving it its distinction as a club drug. However, those who use it often and in large doses can potentially become addicted and will often require rehab treatment when this occurs.
In addition, ecstasy abuse can cause other dangerous side effects, so anyone who uses it often may want to seek professional help in order to safely put an end to their substance abuse. Also, as explained by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, ecstasy users often take the drug along with other substances, especially marijuana, another dangerous behavior known as polydrug abuse, which can often require professional treatment as well.
Signs and Symptoms of Ecstasy Abuse
Ecstasy abusers experience a number of intense effects after using the drug. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, the drug itself has both hallucinogenic and stimulant properties and can cause acute signs and symptoms of use like
- Muscle tension
- Heightened senses
- Strengthened empathy for others and emotional warmth
- Involuntary jaw clenching
- Extreme relaxation
- Increased body temperature
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased breathing rate
- Increased heart rate
- Blurred vision
- Nystagmus or “rapid quivering of the pupils”
One of the most dangerous effects associated with the drug is its ability to cause the body temperature to rise to severe levels, potentially up to 108 degrees. Because many people abuse ecstasy in a hot, crowded space and/or are dancing while taking the drug, its use can lead to severe dehydration, heat exhaustion, and sometimes even death.
Also, those who use ecstasy often will experience a number of other intense side effects. The drug can cause intense withdrawal effects like severe depression, fatigue, and cravings, so those who consistently swing back and forth between the two extremes are likely abusing the substance often and will usually require treatment.
Long-term use can also lead to serious problems with paranoia, anxiety, and insomnia. Those who exhibit any of the behaviors or symptoms above will require treatment in a rehab center in order to safely put an end to their ecstasy abuse.
Signs of Ecstasy Addiction
There are many signs of addiction that you can look out for if you think that you might know someone who is abusing this drug. Some of the most common signs of Ecstasy addiction include:
- Staying up late and then sleeping during the day
- dilated pupils
- losing weight
- increased energy followed by periods of severe fatigue
- increased emotions
- increased talkativeness
- changes in behaviors
Many people who are addicted to Ecstasy will also use other drugs while they are under the influence of Ecstasy. This not only escalates the problem but it can lead to fatal consequences. Additionally, those who abuse this drug are at risk of overheating with each dose they take. In some cases, use of Ecstasy will lead to an individual’s inability to cool down, despite drinking water or other cool drinks, despite sweating, the body temperature will rise rapidly and this can lead to coma or death. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest risks of taking Ecstasy.
Treatment for Ecstasy Addiction
The primary method of treatment for Ecstasy addiction is to provide therapy for the psychological trauma that results when there is little serotonin production in the brain. This therapy may include things like CBT, behavioral therapy, trust building techniques and reward programs to increase the mood of the recovering addict. Medications are often provided to reduce feelings of depression or anxiety but these should be limited to ensure the safety of the patient during treatment and to prevent the risk of further addiction from occurring. Overall, the physical symptoms are treated with medication and psychological symptoms are treated with counseling, certain medications and most of all, time.
Treatments for Ecstasy Abuse and Addiction
According to the NIDA, “There are no specific treatments for MDMA abuse,” nor are there any specific pharmacological options for the treatment of this substance use disorder. However, certain treatment options that are often effective across the board for substance abusers and addicts can be beneficial for the rehabilitation of ecstasy users.
- Detox: Though there are no specific drugs approved for the treatment of ecstasy addiction, the patient will still need to go through a detox period in order to safely withdraw from their dependency on the drug without experiencing severe symptoms. Certain medications may be necessary during this time, including antidepressants for the treatment of severe depressive symptoms.
- However, one must remember that detox alone is NOT a successful treatment for addiction, and patients must seek out a program that provides further care once their dependency on the drug has subsided.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This therapy program helps patients relearn the positive skills, attitudes, and behaviors that will allow them to avoid relapse and safely recover from ecstasy addiction. As stated by the NIDA, patients learn to anticipate and solve likely problems that they will deal with in the real world, which prepares them for a life in recovery. Patients can also learn how to
- Recognize and avoid triggers
- Cope with cravings
- Cope with stress
- Use self-monitoring techniques
- Explore both the positive and negative consequences of continued substance abuse
- Contingency management: During a CM regimen, the patient will take drug tests regularly. For every test they pass, they will receive a reward, with better rewards each time they pass another test. If they fail to pass one, they will start again at the bottom of the reward chain.
- Motivational enhancement therapy: MET focuses mainly on helping the patient become more motivated to stop abusing drugs and to recover from their addiction. This treatment program is often effective for those who are struggling with the desire to stop using drugs like ecstasy.
- Family therapy: Patients sometimes need help reconnecting with family members after the ravages of drug abuse damage their relationships. Family therapy can help to rebuild relationships and also teach family members to avoid dangerous behaviors in the future. For example, many loved ones of addicts participate––either unknowingly or knowingly––in enabling behaviors that encourage the individual to keep using (University of Pennsylvania Health System). Family therapy can uncover these behaviors and help people put a stop to them.
- Group therapy: When in a professional treatment setting, group therapy can be an especially effective option for individuals in addiction recovery. Patients are able to strengthen their social support network and to better understand their addictions through interactions with others.
- Support groups: Though not technically a professional treatment option, many rehab centers encourage patients to attend support groups either during or after rehab (NIDA). 12-step groups like Narcotics Anonymous can often be very effective in helping patients during and after treatment, and those who prefer not to attend 12-step-based programs may want to choose another, secular option like SMART Recovery.
- Holistic methods: Holistic treatments for addiction such as yoga, acupuncture, and meditation have been growing in popularity in recent years, and many individuals choose these as a supplement to behavioral therapy. Depending on an individual’s specific interests and needs, holistic options can be very effective for ecstasy addiction treatment.
Patients being treated for ecstasy abuse should also be screened for any comorbid disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, etc. Because it is so common for an individual who abuses drugs to also suffer from a mental disorder, this potential issue should always be explored and, if it exists, treated simultaneously with the individual’s addiction for the safest recovery possible. Many ecstasy addicts also abuse and are addicted to other substances, so this must be addressed in rehab as well.
How Do I Choose the Right Ecstasy Rehab Program?
Choosing the right rehab center for your needs is an important part of recovery from ecstasy. Often, many individuals who have been abusing this drug to the point of addiction are suffering from other substance use disorders and/or mental disorders. If this is the case for you, you may want to consider inpatient care.
- Inpatient centers provide 24-hour care in a controlled environment. Patients receive round-the-clock access to care, and this is the safest option for those with severe addictions and other disorders.
- People dealing with high psychiatric severity often require inpatient care in order to safely recover, according a study from the medical journal Psychiatric Quarterly. Because ecstasy can cause severe depression, anxiety, and paranoia, this is often the best option for addicts of this substance.
- Individuals who do not have a strong social support network at home may also want to choose inpatient care. This allows the patient to receive 24-hour support from the individuals at the facility (including doctors, nurses, and other patients), which can be very effective for one’s overall recovery.
- Those with polydrug abuse or addiction histories often need more intensive care as well, and because ecstasy is often abused with other drugs, those who have become addicted to the substance are likely struggling with other addictions as well.
Still, some individuals can recover safely in an outpatient center, which provides a schedule for patients to attend treatment and allows them to live their lives while in recovery. Which type of program you will require depends heavily on your needs as a patient as well as the severity of your condition. Every patient is different, and it is important to consider your individualized needs in order to find and choose the best rehab program for your current situation.
How Can I Find Ecstasy Rehab Centers?
Ecstasy can be a much more dangerous drug of abuse than most people realize, which is why seeking treatment as soon as possible is extremely necessary. You can find the safest, most reliable rehab programs for your needs today by calling 800-895-1695 (Who Answers?) . We will match you with the program that will allow you to recover from ecstasy abuse and begin living your life again.