The effects of this drug starts around 45 minutes after you first take it. As mentioned before, ecstasy can make you experience heightened senses, a rush of good feelings, and emotional warmth. You feel greater empathy towards others. Your inhibitions are lowered and you feel really energized. All of these effects occur because the drug increases the activity of three brain chemicals – dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that has several functions. It helps us control the movements of our body. It plays a role in making us feel good, specifically involving motivation, reward, and reinforcement. Aside from making you feel pretty good, dopamine can also make you feel more alert and focused. Norepinephrine is another neurotransmitter, sending signals to your nerve cells. It can increase your heart rate as well as blood pressure. It also increases your blood sugar levels. In addition, it can help promote focus. Like the others, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps send signals to different parts of your brain. It’s known as the “happy hormone” because it helps regulate your mood and promotes a sense of well-being. Aside from influencing your mood, this hormone also helps with digestion, bone health, sexual function, and sleep. It’s the increased levels of serotonin in a person’s system caused by ecstasy that makes a person feel happier and empathize more with others.
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While ecstasy might seem like a less dangerous drug compared to heroin or cocaine, there are still a lot to be concerned about. This is especially true if the drug is taken over a long period of time. Some of the long-term effects of the drug include brain damage, depression, memory loss, and impulsiveness. Not to mention, the increased sexual function and emotional warmth towards others can lead to STDs.
Overdosing on ecstasy is rare, but it does happen especially when mixed with other illicit drugs and alcohol. In addition, it can cause your body to overheat if you indulge in physical activities such as dancing while under the influence. This, in turn, can cause damage to your muscles and organs such as your kidney, liver, and heart. Ecstasy can also cause brain swelling and seizures. While taking this recreational drug enables you to experience a rush of good feelings, it also has several adverse effects such as:
The effects of ecstasy can last anywhere from 3 to 6 hours. Many users often take a second dose as soon as they feel the effects of the first one fade. However, the crash after the high lasts much longer – days even. Moderate use of the drug can cause a person to experience one or more of the following:
There is still some debate on whether ecstasy is addictive or not. Research results over the past years are varied. There have been some who have reported MDMA addiction, but there are still some who believe that it’s harmless. That being said, it is a very popular drug among young people, often used in social settings. It is believed that around 1 out of every 10 students in college have experimented with drugs. According to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, there are approximately 9 million ecstasy users worldwide, most of whom are teens and young adults. So, whether there is an addiction to this recreational drug or not, the increased use of ecstasy still needs to be addressed. In fact, the rate of emergency room visits due to ecstasy has increased by 1,200 percent. Moreover, prolonged use of this recreational drug can result in physical and psychological dependence which needs to be treated.
Like with all other drug addictions, the treatment starts with detoxification. Individuals who are considered heavy ecstasy users may experience withdrawal symptoms which is why users are recommended to go through an inpatient rehab program. They will benefit from a medically monitored detox to prevent any complications. Moreover, the medical team can help ensure their comfort while they clear their body from toxins. This can involve taking prescribed drugs that will increase the amount of neurotransmitters in your brain (such as serotonin) to alleviate any feelings of anxiety and depression.
Similar to other addiction treatment protocols, each treatment plan is uniquely tailored to the needs of the individual. This may involve participation in therapy and addiction support groups. A patient may also be required to undergo lifestyle changes to prevent relapse. For example, attending nightclubs and raves can make it easier for a person in recovery to access ecstasy. Removing yourself from temptation is key.
Inpatient treatment programs for ecstasy abuse can run from 30 days to six months. For some, it can be even longer. The focus of the treatment plan is to understand any underlying issues that might be triggering the abuse. Some individuals take ecstasy to help them deal with pain, sadness, or stress. For this reason, many treatment centers use cognitive behavioral therapy to help individuals learn how to deal with their emotions better without turning to recreational drug use.
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