MDMA/Ecstasy Addiction Treatment
What is MDMA?
MDMA is short for 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a synthetic chemical derived from an oil in the bark of the Sassafras tree. The Sassafras oil is distilled to produce pure safrole, the main ingredient in MDMA. Because the trees are uprooted to extract the oil from the root bark, the Sassafras tree is now an endangered species. The FDA banned safrole oil in 1960 as potentially carcinogenic and has also banned sassafras bark, oil, and safrole as food additives, deeming them unsafe.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Much of the molly seized by the police contains additives such as cocaine, ketamine, over-the-counter cough medicine, or synthetic cathinones (“bath salts”). These substances may be extremely dangerous if the person does not know what he or she is taking…People who purposely or unknowingly combine such a mixture with other substances, such as marijuana and alcohol, may be putting themselves at even higher risk for harmful health effects.
How Does MDMA Make You Feel?
MDMA first gained popularity in the 1990s with young adults who used them at all night dance parties called “raves”. At the time, users considered the drug to be a relatively safe way to heighten the rave experience. MDMA is still commonly used by those attending clubs, concerts and festivals as users report the drug heightens sounds, lights, and sensations.
Typically, the effects of a single dose last 3-6 hours. People who use MDMA say the drug makes them feel:
- Increased energy
- Open and loving
- A sense of clarity
- A connection to those around them
Some side effects reported by users are less desirable and possibly dangerous. They may include:
- Initial feeling of nausea
- Sensitivity to light
- Grinding teeth
- Feeling dizzy, faint
- Chills or sweating
- Increased body temperature
An increase in body temperature is one of the most serious, and potentially deadly, side effects. Often those using MDMA are engaging in physically strenuous behavior, like dancing, for long periods of time, which can result in severe dehydration. This can cause a dangerous increase in body temperature which can lead to hyperthermia or heatstroke. This can cause liver, heart, or kidney failure, and can be life-threatening.
National Institutes of Health also found that MDMA, “might be responsible for acute hepatitis and/or acute liver failure, particularly in young people.”
How Does MDMA Affect the Body and Brain?
MDMA produces both stimulative and mood-altering effects by increasing levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which are chemicals in the brain.
- Dopamine sends signals to areas of the brain governing pleasure, reward, emotions, and motor functions. Dopamine reinforces behaviors that are deemed pleasurable and prompt us to repeat those behaviors. High levels of this chemical also heighten energy levels.
- Norepinephrine is a chemical that is released in response to stress, often called the “fight or flight” reaction. High levels increase breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar. High levels of norepinephrine can cause euphoria.
- Serotonin affects many functions of the body, most notably mood, sleep, appetite, digestion, and sexual desire. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, while high levels increase levels of happiness and social connection.
Is MDMA Addictive?
Research has been inconclusive as to whether MDMA is addictive, however, some users have reported an addiction to the drug. When those who are regular users of MDMA stop taking it, some report feelings of depression, exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, and loss of appetite.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are no specific medical treatments for MDMA addiction, however, “Some people seeking treatment for MDMA addiction have found behavioral therapy to be helpful.”
Treatment for MDMA Addiction and Abuse
Whether or not you have developed a dependency or addiction to MDMA, if it is causing a problem in your life it is important to get professional help. The use of the drug poses risks to your health that can be life-threatening. If alcohol or other drugs are also being used, the risk is intensified.
At Midwest Recovery Centers we specialize in treatment for substance use disorders, focusing on drug and alcohol dependence and addiction, as well as other life problems.
Much of our philosophy comes from the basic principles of 12-step programs, leading to accountability, respect, and recovery. We are a therapeutic, and supportive, community dedicated to the long-term recovery and personal growth of each client. Please contact us today for more information.