Ecstasy addiction costs the United States money and human lives every year. The National Institute of Health announces its determination that “Ecstasy abuse and Ecstasy addiction cost Americans over $484 billion annually.
This figure includes healthcare costs — and abuses of that system — lost job wages, traffic accidents, crimes, and the associated criminal justice system costs.” Ecstasy’s part in such tragic statistics represents the level of danger associated with Ecstasy addiction and abuse.
Ecstasy is bought and sold illegally – via the black market — in the form of a pill or capsule that is frequently white in color.
The website ecstasyaddiction.com defines Ecstasy as “a Schedule I synthetic, psychoactive drug possessing stimulant and hallucinogenic properties. MDMA possesses chemical variations of the stimulant amphetamine or methamphetamine and a hallucinogen, most often mescaline.” Ecstasy can be taken orally. Some users crush and snort or smoke Ecstasy. In very rare cases Ecstasy may be injected or “shot up” directly into the bloodstream.
What Makes Ecstasy Addictive?
Ecstasy is potentially addictive for a variety of reasons. Many people will get addicted to Ecstasy while others will use it recreationally and never experience an addiction. The determining factors that decipher who becomes addicted and who does not are still being studied and debated within the medical community. Properties of Ecstasy that lead to certain individuals becoming addicted include its euphoric and pleasure-invoking abilities.
Users of the drug say that it also produces the following addictive qualities:
- Intensely positive feelings
- Empathy for others
- Enhanced sensory perception
- Elimination of anxiety
- Deep relaxation
- Suppresses the desire to eat
- Reduces the need to sleep, enabling users to stay up for two- to three-day parties or raves
Some of these factors may be more addictive for some people than others. For example, a teen woman suffering from anorexia may become addicted to Ecstasy as a part of her quest to stay lean. Regardless of the age or gender of the person addicted to Ecstasy, resulting symptoms and side effects of the drug are very risky.
Negative Symptoms of Ecstasy Addiction
Although the experience is generally pleasurable for Ecstasy users, there are adverse symptoms that may occur.
- Chills and sweating
- Spikes in body temperature
- Involuntary teeth clenching
- Muscle cramping
- Blurred vision
- Anxiety, depression and paranoia
In severe cases, the psychological effects can be so debilitating they interfere with the addict’s ability to function in society. In severe cases of Ecstasy addiction, the afflicted individual may suffer from psychotic episodes, clinical depression, and permanently destroyed serotonin production in the brain, which is associated with memory, aggression and sleep patterns. Further scientific studies by the National Institute on Drug Abuse have revealed that “heavy MDMA users have memory problems that persist for at least 2 weeks after they have stopped using the drug. Both studies suggest that the extent of damage is directly correlated with the amount of MDMA used.” In addition, there is always the potential for an overdose. Ecstasy overdoses trigger high blood pressure, faintness, panic attacks, seizures, and loss of consciousness in the Ecstasy addict. In severe cases the resulting spike in body temperature is so drastic the Ecstasy user may die from heart failure or heat stroke. Over the long term, Ecstasy abuse may cause the addicted individual to succumb to severe dehydration and exhaustion.
Barring an addiction to Ecstasy, the drug still remains extremely dangerous taken on occasion. “The stimulant effects of the drug, which enables the user to dance for extended periods, combined with the hot, crowded conditions usually found at raves can lead to dehydration, hyperthermia, and heart or kidney failure,” states a leading website on Ecstasy addiction (http://www.addictionca.com/FAQ-ecstasy.htm).
Ecstasy Addiction Treatment Help
When a person is addicted to Ecstasy, overcoming the addiction without outside help from a drug treatment center
, presents itself as a impossible obstacle to overcome.
Thankfully, inpatient treatment facilities exist worldwide to help addicts recover from addiction. Ecstasy addiction takes a toll on the individual’s emotional, spiritual and physical self. Treatment center staffs trained clinicians with a background in the addiction and alcoholism field. They have experience with clients who have recovered from a number of different addictions – some behavioral and some substance-related – and have learned from each experience. While enrolled in an inpatient treatment center the addict will undergo detoxification from Ecstasy upon entry. Traces of the drugs will be flushed out through a combination of western medicine and homeopathic options. Many Ecstasy detoxification programs include the implementation of a nutritious meal plan as well as time spent in a sauna. Most programs also provide hydrotherapy and psychotherapy, aimed at restoring proper brain function.
The detoxification process is carefully documented by staffed professionals in conjunction with the psychological process each client engages in to contend with the addict’s underlying issues.
An addict recovering from Ecstasy addiction in a treatment center has the opportunity to exchange stories, feelings and anecdotes of related struggles, with other clients who are going through a similar process. Resulting unity empowers the addict to take charge of his or her own recovery. It is motivating for the addict to realize that others walk the same difficult path and go on to lead happy, healthy, sober lives.