Just as we start to get a degree of control on things like heroin and cocaine, we have new problems to deal with by way of new psychoactive substances. Also known as ‘legal highs’, these substances are sold on the street to unsuspecting users who falsely believe they are not as dangerous as illicit drugs. One of the most commonly used is ecstasy.
No doubt there is tremendous debate over whether ecstasy is addictive or not. But the cold, hard truth is this: any substance that has psychoactive effects can create dependence and addiction. There are no exceptions. Psychoactive substances trigger the brain’s reward centres and alter chemical balance, thus resulting in the associated pleasurable feelings. It is the pleasurable feelings that lead to addiction in a person predisposed to it.
Another important thing to consider about ecstasy is the common knowledge among users that the effects of the drug become less pronounced over time. What is the result of this phenomena? Users have to take more ecstasy to get high. This is a classic symptom of tolerance, which, when it becomes compulsive, is a definitive symptom of addiction.
If you are an ecstasy user, our question to you is this: do you find that you are losing control over your habit? If you do, you may already be on the road to addiction. Please do not believe the lie that ecstasy is not harmful or addictive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ecstasy can completely take over your life – ruining your health, costing you your relationships, and leaving you completely isolated and alone.
The Basics of Ecstasy
Ecstasy is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that induces a hallucinogenic euphoria in a very short amount of time. It is also a stimulant that increases energy levels, increases tendencies toward erratic behaviour, and distorts a person’s perception of time, space, and reality. It is a popular party drug among young people who want to stay up all night.
Also known as Molly or MDMA, ecstasy is typically sold in pill form. There are more potent types of this drug now making it to the streets as powders that can be inhaled or smoked. What must be understood is that most forms of ecstasy are no longer pure. In fact, that is one of the dangers of using it. If it is cut with other drugs or unknown substances, the user could die of an overdose before doctors knew what to do to save him/her.
Making matters worse is the fact that users can become addicted to the entire party lifestyle rather than just the drug itself. This lifestyle is terribly destructive in so many ways. Those who do go down this path are many more times likely to start using other drugs such as heroin and cocaine to compensate for the physical and mental pain ecstasy causes when users crash. Then it is just another step or two leading to a life controlled completely by addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Ecstasy Addiction
Ecstasy is the preferred drug of choice for many young people who are hooked on its ability to enhance sexual experience and improve overall mood. In light of this, one of the key components of ecstasy addiction is reckless sexual behaviour as a result of mingling with other users on a regular basis. Other associated signs and symptoms normally linked to the party lifestyle are also evident.
If someone you know is addicted to ecstasy, there will be some signs and symptoms to look for:
- Persistent depression evident when the person is not high
- Persistent anxiety alongside depression
- Persistent insomnia and other sleeping problems
- Poor memory and confusion
- Routine worrying followed by progressive paranoia
- Gradually increasing desire for the drug.
There are a lot of dangers associated with ecstasy use that people are simply not aware of. For example, just one dose significantly increases both heart rate and blood pressure. That’s why the drug is so good at enhancing physical sensation. The downside is that taking too much in a short amount of time can result in seizures, heart attack, respiratory failure and death.
Ecstasy also affects the body’s ability to regulate internal temperature. In a party setting, when users are dancing for hours on end, it is very easy for the user to overheat and dehydrate. Doing this too often can damage the liver, kidneys, and muscles.
Lastly, there are ecstasy users who drink large amounts of water after taking the drug in order to combat dehydration. This can also be dangerous. Drinking too much water at any one time interferes with the body’s ability to regulate salt, thereby possibly leading to cardiac arrest.
Treatment for Ecstasy Addiction
Hopefully, everything you have read to this point has grabbed your attention. Suffice to say that ecstasy is a highly dangerous drug that far too many people do not take seriously enough. Ecstasy kills people all the time; don’t allow yourself to become a victim of this terrible drug.
If you believe you might be suffering from an ecstasy addiction, there is no time to waste. Contact us on our 24-hour helpline so that we can refer you to a residential rehab centre capable of helping you recover. Depending on the seriousness of your problem, you may require a long-term recovery programme that includes detox, psychotherapeutic treatments, and follow-up aftercare.
Regardless of how severe your problem is, overcoming ecstasy will require you to make changes in your lifestyle. The ecstasy user must learn to live life without taking drugs and, in most cases, without continuing to engage in the partying lifestyle. Attempting to quit ecstasy while going back to clubbing is almost a guarantee of relapse.
Addiction Helper is an independent organisation offering free advice, referrals and assessments to those in need. We are here to help you if you are struggling with ecstasy in any way. Do not wait to get help for your problem; there is no guarantee you will survive your next party if you wait.