Recognizing the Symptoms of Ecstasy Addiction
Ecstasy, a powerful stimulant drug carries both stimulant and hallucinogenic properties. An ecstasy “high” comes with a loss of inhibitions, intense energy surges and enhanced sexual arousal. These effects have made ecstasy a popular party drug among teenagers and young adults.
According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, ecstasy is derived from amphetamine and most resembles mescaline in terms of hallucinogenic effect. Symptoms of ecstasy addiction stem from the drug’s ability to stimulate essential brain chemical processes.
Ecstasy’s effects in the brain mark the starting point from which symptoms of ecstasy addiction take root and spread. For long-time users, symptoms of ecstasy addiction may eventually evolve into permanent alterations in overall brain and body function.
As an illegal street drug, ecstasy doses can vary in potency as well as in the types of ingredients contained in any one tablet. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, added ingredients work to enhance ecstasy’s effects.
Added ingredients may take the form of:
Dosage amounts can range anywhere from 10 to 150 milligrams per pill. On average, users experience the effects of ecstasy within 20 to 30 minutes depending on dosage size. When used in a party setting, users engage in bingeing patterns where a person ingests multiple tablets in rapid succession.
All of these factors work to enhance ecstasy’s addictive properties. After a week’s worth of regular ongoing use, users start to experience symptoms of ecstasy addiction.
Ecstasy Effects in the Brain
Ecstasy’s effects in the brain result from the drug’s ability to interfere with neurotransmitter chemical processes. Symptoms of ecstasy addiction correspond with the types of neurotransmitters it most affects.
Dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine represent a group of neurotransmitters known as monoamines. These chemicals help regulate cognition, emotional stability as well as vital bodily functions. According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, ecstasy works by inhibiting the brain’s reuptake processes thereby allowing these chemicals to remain in circulation longer than usual.
Symptoms of ecstasy addiction start to develop as brain chemical processes become dependent on the drug’s effects to function as normal. When this happens, a person starts to experience withdrawal effects in the absence of the drug’s effects.
Withdrawal effects may take the form of:
- Bouts of depression
- Inability to sleep
- An overall feeling of apathy and discontent
- Muscle tension
Once a person starts experiencing withdrawal effects, a physical dependency has taken hold.
Symptoms of Ecstasy Addiction
As with any addictive substance, addiction develops out of the brain’s growing tolerance for the drug’s effects. The higher the tolerance the larger the dose needed to produce the drug’s desired effects. Bingeing patterns of use greatly increase the rate at which a person develops symptoms of ecstasy addiction.
After a while, users develop an emotional dependence on ecstasy’s effects to the point where they believe they need the drug in order to function normally. At this stage, symptoms of ecstasy addiction start to show up in a person’s behaviors and routines, some of which may take the form of:
- Missed days at work or school
- Avoiding family and friends
- Money problems
- Problems with the law
- Decline in health and overall appearance
Once symptoms of ecstasy addiction reach this point, the drug’s effects have become “the” primary motivation in a person’s life.