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What is Ecstasy? - Uses, Side Effects, Treatments

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Written by Parth

Many drugs pose multiple dangers to young people and adults alike. MDMA, molly, or Ecstasy is one of these drugs which causes severe physical and mental health issues. What is MDMA? It’s chemical name is 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, and it is a psychoactive drug with multiple purposes and effects. The drug was first developed in 1912 and was initially used to enhance the effects of psychotherapy in 1970s. 

It rose in prominence as a street drug through the 1980s and the early 1990s as well. The drug poses special risks to teenagers and youngsters as it is associated with dance parties, EDM, and rave parties as well. The numbers on Ecstasy use indicate that it was consumed similarly to cocaine or amphetamine. But ecstasy usage was lower than that of Cannabis and some opioids.

How MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly) is used?

There are multiple ways in which MDMA/Ecstasy is used. These include recreational use, medical use, and other uses as well. 

Recreational Use

As mentioned earlier, the drug poses a special risk to youngsters due to its association with party culture, raves, and electronic dance music ( EDM). The effects of ecstasy, mainly its enhancement of visual, auditory, and other sensual perceptions make it a favorite amongst partygoers as the party environment compliments the effects of the drug very well. The drug also reduces inhibitions making it a drug of choice for youngsters looking to shed their misgivings. In some cases, the drug may also be consumed in combination with other substances like LSD, mushrooms, and more. 

Medical Use

As mentioned earlier, MDMA was briefly used in the 1970s as it showed mild efficacy in enhancing the effects of psychotherapy. As of today, there are no medical indicators for the use of ecstasy, and it remains widely banned in most countries across the world. However, recent studies indicate that there might be a case for the use of MDMA in relieving the symptoms of PTSD in conjunction with psychotherapy. 

How is ecstasy consumed?

The different names of the drug also indicate the various forms in which it is consumed. Its most popular name, ecstasy, refers to when MDMA is in tablet form. This form of MDMA also carries a higher risk of being mixed with diluents or adulterants. Sometimes, these tablets may be deceptively shaped or colored to encourage consumption. Another name popular across the world is “molly” which refers to MDMA in a crushed or crystalline form. Eventually, ecstasy/MDMA/Molly is usually consumed by mouth or snorted as well. 

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Effects of Ecstasy Use

Short-term effects

Ecstasy’s effects are varied in nature and severity. Immediate effects of ecstasy consumption include diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, insomnia, increased blood pressure, and increased heart rate. Some short-term effects of ecstasy could include severe dehydration or hyperthermia. Hyperthermia occurs because the drug affects the body’s ability to regulate temperature, and the body may record a severe increase in temperature damaging the liver, kidneys, and lungs. These effects may last for a week or more and result in severe issues for the person. 

Long-term effects

Ecstasy side effects are different and far more serious for long-term or chronic users of the substance. Long-term use of MDMA or ecstasy is shown to decrease a person’s neurocognitive abilities, with research indicating deficits in the brain, and changes in brain function.

It impacts memory function as well, and its effects on the serotonin levels in the body can lead to depression as well. Psychological effects include the risk of addiction, severe anxiety, craving for the drug, and confusion as well. Chronic use also results in damage to vital organs of the body.

Signs of Ecstasy Use

Common signs of ecstasy use include an increase in sensory perception, improved receptivity to positive sensations, and increased feelings of empathy. Physiological effects include dilated pupils, changes in sleeping habits, unnatural bursts of energy, and more. Identifying these early signs is a key part of preventing addiction, or overdose. 


Ecstasy overdose signs vary widely. There is a higher risk of MDMA overdose as its consumption interferes with the body’s ability to metabolize, leading to higher doses of the substance being stored within the body continuously. Since the usage of MDMA is usually between longer intervals, fatality is low compared to the number of users. However, an overdose of ecstasy and its complications can largely be understood under the banner of hyperthermia, hyponatremia, serotonin syndrome, and multiple organ failure.

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Ecstasy Abuse Treatment Options

As with most addiction disorders, identifying the early symptoms of the use of the substance is key to ecstasy treatment. Post-identification it is important to seek help from a trained mental health professional who can guide you on the various treatment options available. A person stopping consumption may face withdrawal signs, which may need medical intervention in some cases. 

Treatment approaches that have seen the most efficacy for those addicted to ecstasy include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other associated therapies. Eventually, it is your mental health professional who can guide you on the best possible treatment course.

Addiction is a mental health disorder that needs urgent attention and medical help. If you or a loved one is showing signs of addiction, or are facing complications with substance use, do not hesitate to reach out to us at.

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