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MDMA Addiction

Party drugs have been around for years. It seems each generation gets its own favorite drug that’s seen in the nightlife and music scenes. In recent years, MDMA has made waves among teens and young adults. Since becoming a staple in the EDM (electronic dance music) scene, it seems more people than ever are indulging in MDMA. But what does this mean for their health? And what happens if it becomes more than just fun, but an addiction?

What Is MDMA?

MDMA is known by many names. Molly, E, X, bombs, or Adam are just a few of the plethora of other names given to this powerful drug. MDMA itself, however, is short for 3,4-Methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine. It is a synthetic psychoactive drug that is chemically similar to methamphetamine and mescaline. Since it has chemical properties of both of these drugs, it acts in tandem as both a stimulant and psychedelic. It can come in pill or powder form.

When taking the drug, it directly impacts the way your brain functions. By increasing the activity of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, it changes the way your brain responds to stimuli. MDMA will actually increase the release of serotonin and norepinephrine over dopamine. This is what causes the mood elevation experienced when under the effects of the drug. 

MDMA users can often experience severe depression after the effects of the drug have worn off since MDMA depletes the brain’s stores of serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood.

What Are the Signs of MDMA Addiction?

While MDMA itself does not pose as great of a potential for physical addiction as other drugs, it is often seen as a psychological addiction. People become accustomed and attracted to the euphoric effects the drug has on their mood. Since the drug can also cause severe depression to follow as part of the “come down,” people may continually turn to the drug to help combat the depression. 

Signs you should look out for when it comes to MDMA addiction are:

  • Dental issues (from teeth grinding associated with MDMA use)
  • Difficulty in meeting daily responsibilities
  • Impulsiveness
  • Frequent attendance to raves and concerts, returning from a night out full of energy
  • Weight loss (from dehydration and lack of appetite)
  • Inability or unwillingness to stop using the drug even with negative consequences

What Is Involved in MDMA Addiction Treatment?

When heading off to treatment for MDMA addiction, the first step in the treatment continuum may be a medical detox facility, especially if there are other substances involved like alcohol. Upon arrival, you will be assessed by a team of medical professionals. After the assessment is completed, you will be admitted to the facility and given prescription medications designed to help you through the detox process. Since MDMA often contains other drugs in the tablet or powder, it can cause withdrawal symptoms in users.

During your stay at the medical detox facility, you will be monitored 24/7 by the medical staff to make sure you are safe during your detox process. You will also be surrounded by psychological support staff such as therapists and case managers and begin the therapy portion of your treatment which will get to the underlying causes of your addiction.

Upon finishing the detox process, continuing care recommendations will be made, which may include transitioning to an inpatient facility where you will spend typically 30-45 days (sometimes longer or shorter depending on individual needs). Here, you will be subjected to intensive full-time therapy designed to find and treat the underlying causes of addiction, as well as help you through the emotional beginning stages of sobriety.

Following completion of inpatient or residential treatment, it is suggested for an individual to participate in PHP or IOP treatment. IOP stands for intensive outpatient programs, which is a step down from all-day to part-time therapy. Usually only a few days a week for a shorter increment of time, you will still have counseling and group support as well as maintain accountability to your recovery. Attending an IOP can further solidify your foundation in sobriety and can help increase your chances for success in maintaining long-term recovery. PHP is a live-in treatment program which gives clients the skills needed to manage life outside of recovery. It is a long-term therapy  which provides therapeutic treatments five or more times a week for up to eight hours.

How Dangerous Is MDMA?

MDMA itself is not dangerous. The problem with MDMA is that it is not monitored, so each dose is different. The amount of the drug in each batch varies as well as the other drugs and cutting agents that are used in the synthesization process. 

Not knowing what or how much MDMA you’re doing can always pose health risks, including overdose. MDMA is often thought of as the “cosmopolitan” of party drugs.

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MDMA can also lead to other health problems. Since it provides a seemingly unlimited supply of energy, exhaustion can occur unbeknownst to the user. Dehydration is also a pervasive side effect of the drug because the user often doesn’t know or realize that they are thirsty, thanks to the euphoric effects of the drug. Additionally, in some cases people over-hydrate to compensate for the perception that use of MDMA itself causes dehydration (rather than the energy exerted when using it). There has been at least one known instance of a death related to over-hydration.

MDMA Abuse Statistics

While MDMA may not be the most commonly seen drug among the regular population, among the nightlife community, it’s huge. More than 50% of young adults surveyed for the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health who reported going clubbing at least four times per year reported MDMA use. According to the survey’s results:

  • 4% of all young adults aged 18-25 reported using MDMA in the last year.
  • .2% of young people aged 12-17 reported using MDMA in the last month.
  • In 2011, more than 22,000 emergency room visits involved MDMA.

Start Your Journey to Recovery Today

If you or someone you know is currently struggling with MDMA addiction, Ocean Breeze Recovery can help. We provide quality addiction treatment to people who are battling substance abuse challenges of any kind. Call us today at 844-554-9279 for a free phone consultation and start your journey to recovery today. You can also reach us online.

Sources

Anderson, L, ( October, 2018). Ecstasy. Drugs.com. Retrieved January, 2018 from https://www.drugs.com/illicit/ecstasy.html

(September, 2017). What are MDMA’s effects on the brain?. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved January, 2018 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/mdma-ecstasy-abuse/what-are-mdmas-effects-on-brain

(September, 2017). Is MDMA Addictive?. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved January, 2018 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/mdma-ecstasy-abuse/mdma-addictive

(n,d). How many people use MDMA?. Drug Policy Alliance. Retrieved January, 2018 from http://www.drugpolicy.org/drug-facts/how-many-people-use-mdma

(n,d). Usage, Death, and other MDMA Statistics. DEA. Retrieved January, 2018 from https://thedea.org/mdma-risks-science-and-statistics-technical-faq/mdma-molly-ecstasy-use-and-death-rate-statistics/

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