Is Ecstasy Addictive?

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Ecstasy, also known as MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) or molly, is a synthetic, psychoactive drug. Although it was originally developed in Germany in 1912, it was not used for recreational purposes in America until the 1970s. In 1985, ecstasy became an illegal substance, as the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officially classified it as a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Denoting ecstasy as a drug defined as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Although it remains an illegal substance, it continues to circulate in America. It most commonly comes in a pill or tablet form and is swallowed, but could be crushed and snorted, and the liquid form could be injected. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse it is “chemically similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens, producing feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth, and distorted sensory and time perception.” The effects of ecstasy usually last between three to six hours long. 

How Does It Work?

Ecstasy affects one’s mood and perception by increasing the activity of certain neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters work by relaying signals between nerve cells. The National Institute on Drug Abuse assert that the three most notably affected neurotransmitters when ecstasy is introduced into one’s system include:

  • Norepinephrine (involved in regulating mood, anxiety, sleep, energy and focus) by increasing one’s heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Dopamine (involved in mediating pleasure, motivation, and learning) by producing increased energy/ activity and acts in the reward system to reinforce behaviors.
  • Serotonin (involved in feelings of happiness, well-being and mood stabilizing) by affecting one’s mood, appetite, sleep, and other functions, including triggering hormones that affect sexual arousal. 

When the brain is continuously bombarded with a foreign chemical it creates synaptic connections and must develop neural pathways to accommodate functioning with the substance present. Though the addictive nature as it specifically relates to chemical makeup of ecstasy may be unclear, its effects on one’s brain after continued and habitual abuse can leave a lasting impression and depending on the individual could lead to the development of substance use disorder. 

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one in regards to substance abuse and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-318-3777. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.

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