MDMA (3, 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a psychoactive synthetic drug possessing stimulant and hallucinogenic properties. This synthetic chemical can be extracted from an essential oil of the sassafras tree. MDMA was first synthesised in Europe as a possible appetite suppressant but due to its side effects, never became popular. MDMA has similar hallucinogenic properties to amphetamines and LSD. MDMA is a designer drug and known on the streets as ecstasy.
History of MDMA/Ecstasy
In 1912, ecstasy was patented in Germany as a potential appetite suppressant. During the 1960′s, Dr. Alexander Shulgin introduced ecstasy to those with an interest in drug-assisted psychotherapy. Medical and psychiatric journals began to present articles on its psycho-activity and to use it to treat various psychiatric disorders. MDMA did not cure any disorder but actually made patients worse. MDMA was quickly abandoned as a therapeutic agent. During the 1980′s MDMA became widely known for its psychedelic effects. Over the past few decades it has risen in popularity especially in the club drug scene. Today, MDMA is the number one abused club drug and the drug most abused by college students.
How is MDMA/Ecstasy Made?
MDMA is made from chemicals synthesised in a laboratory. MDMA is manufactured illegally in clandestine laboratories all over the world. Government regulations have led to a decrease in availability to obtain the drugs required for synthesis however this has not slowed production. Manufactured MDMA has a number of chemicals added to it during the processing which are impure in nature. These include caffeine, dextromethorphan (cough syrup), amphetamines, cocaine and even chalk. MDMA is an extremely lucrative market and many manufacturers operate in unsophisticated laboratories, adding more impure chemicals to dilute the product and increase their own profits. Because an MDMA user is never fully aware of what has been added to the mix, it can make for a volatile experience. MDMA, along with other illegally manufactured drugs, are often so impure with deadly chemicals, that the chances of a person overdosing grow immensely. The lack of controls on the strength and sterility of the drug can increase the likelihood of a user being poisoned or having an adverse reactions to something in the drug.
Street Names for MDMA/Ecstasy
- Cloud 9
- Love drug
Effects of MDMA/Ecstasy
MDMA dependency causes both emotional and physical problems in the addict. Most users who take ecstasy report feeling a pleasant, relaxing effect with the drug. MDMA affects the brains' neurotransmitters, primarily serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin regulates mood, sex drive, sleep, pain and appetite. MDMA causes the brain to release high levels of serotonin or "happy hormones". The drug may also induce a loving or affection feeling in user. This love effect has become closely associated with the drug's use. The feelings MDMA produces are perhaps its most addictive force. Often times users will also be drawn to the drug for its weight loss effects as appetite decreases during and after use. When the user comes down, they experience ecstasy withdrawal symptoms as a result of draining their levels of serotonin. The user may feel depressed, tired or irritable. MDMA dependency will result in creating such low levels of serotonin in the addict, that they are only able to feel happy when taking the drug. MDMA dependency is a vicious cycle of abuse. Physical activity endurance and a decrease in sleep appetite will often lead users to abusing all night at clubs. MDMA addicts will spend hours in crowded and hot conditions, dancing ecstatically, sweating, and often times consuming alcohol which combined can lead to dehydration, hypothermia, exhaustion and sometimes death.
MDMA/Ecstasy User Statistics
MDMA is a club drug and therefore commonly abused by individuals who frequent night clubs, raves, rock concerts and beach parties. MDMA is the most popular club drug among teens and college students. All across the world, countries are experiencing ecstasy craze. While MDMA abuse currently is not as widespread as that of many other illicit drugs, abuse has increased significantly over the past 2 decades. While MDMA laboratories exist in most countries that sell it, seizures by law enforcement agencies indicate that MDMA is the most smuggled club drug. Typically, the drug is smuggled in from parts of Europe, Mexico and even China. With the ever growing popularity of MDMA, the numbers of pills produced are expected to increase.
How is MDMA/Ecstasy Taken?
Ecstasy is usually orally in the form of a pill, tablet, or capsule. Street doses of MDMA generally run from 50mg. to 150 mg. or 1/10th of one gram which is considered an average single dose. Ecstasy is typically pressed into pills or loaded into placebo capsules. Ecstasy pills come in different colors, shapes and sizes. A clever marketing strategy, pills may be branded and stamped with trendy, fashionable names and logos such as Armani, Mercedes, BMW and Calvin Klein. Ecstasy pills can be crushed up and snorted or even inserted into the anus (known as “shafting” or “shelving”). Though not common, injecting ecstasy has increased in recent years. Injecting ecstasy is particularly dangerous because the tablets are not designed for injecting and can block veins. When taken orally, a typical dose will take effect within 20 to 60 minutes. The euphoric feeling a user has typically lasts about 3 to 5 hours. Prices for pills vary immensely by country, ranging from $25 to $40 per pill in the US to a low as $3-$5 a pill in the UK.
Short Term Effects of MDMA/Ecstasy Abuse – Low Dose
- Extreme confidence
- Sense of well being
- Feelings of affection
- Dilated pupils
- Tensing of facial muscles
- Jaw clenching
- Teeth grinding
- Increase in heart rate
- High body temperature
- High blood pressure
- Nausea Loss of appetite
- Sweating, chills
- Rapid eye movements
Short Term Effects of MDMA/Ecstasy Abuse – High Dose
- Floating sensations
- MDMA/Ecstasy dependency
- Manic or bizarre behaviour
Long Term Effects of MDMA/Ecstasy Abuse
- MDMA/Ecstasy dependency
- Memory loss
- Brain damage
- Lowered immune system
- Suicidal thoughts
Who is at risk for MDMA/Ecstasy TOXICITY?
- Individuals with some disorders are at a slightly higher risk for MDMA/Ecstasy toxicity. These individuals may have:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- History of seizures
- Individuals with panic attacks
- Psychiatric disorders
Though rare, overdose from ecstasy can occur. Overdose symptoms include a very high body temperature and blood pressure, hallucinations and a rapid heartbeat. Those with preexisting heart or lung conditions and for individuals with psychiatric disorders should be especially cautious. The number of ecstasy overdose deaths is unknown however it has been reported by hospitals that in severe cases to cause:
- Bleeding in the brain
- Kidney failure
- Overheating of the body, dehydration
- Excessive increase in blood pressure
MDMA/Ecstasy Tolerance and Dependency
MDMA is a highly addictive drug that affects people from all walks of like. MDMA dependency manifests both physically and psychologically. The danger with MDMA addiction is that it happens quickly and what may be viewed by the user as "recreational use" is actually ecstasy abuse. The MDMA user becomes consumed with the way they feel when on ecstasy. The drug makes them feel more confident, energised, and happy. When the user comes down, they often experience a severe crash, a depression so strong they may not get out of bed to go to work or class the next day.
Ecstasy tolerance builds up in the body rapidly. Users that don't space out their MDMA intake will find themselves doubling or even tripling up to reach the same high within a short time span. This can lead to ecstasy binging which forces the addict to consume large doses of the drug. The crash from these binges can be severe, leading to almost manic levels of depression, aggressive behaviour and even suicidal thoughts.
Ecstasy abuse can rapidly cause a strong dependence on the drug that many individuals have difficultly stopping. The pleasant effects induced by the drug can leave the user feeling empty without it. Given the fact that ecstasy is a club drug only further fuels the fire in quitting. Young teens and adults who are regular clubbers will find the temptation waiting for them every weekend. The temptation combined with the addictive nature of MDMA creates makes quitting the drug difficult and the vicious cycle of ecstasy dependence continues.
MDMA/Ecstasy Addiction Treatment
Several drug addiction treatment options are available to treat MDMA/ecstasy dependence. Some users try abstinence, however due to the nature of the drug (club drug), avoiding situations where they may be tempted is difficult.
Long term users of ecstasy will find the stopping the drug especially difficult. Ecstasy addicts will experience severe withdrawals symptoms that range from almost manic levels of depression to anxiety and panic attacks. The longer someone abuses ecstasy, the harder it is to stop. This is why it is so important that these addicts receive professional drug counselling treatment during this process.
MDM/Ecstasy Withdrawal Symptoms
- Panic attacks
- Severe depression
- Paranoid delusions
- Loss of appetite
At The Cabin Chiang Mai, we treat MDMA addicts from all over the world in our residential rehabilitation drug treatment programme. Our team of Western trained and licensed addiction counselling specialists have years of experience in treating patients of all ages addicted to this club drug. We understand what it takes to get our patients clean and healthy again.
Our programmes are unique and innovative. We are a 12 step treatment centre that combines Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques, fitness therapy, therapeutic body treatments, healing art therapy and other methods for healing addictions and transforming lives.
Our 12 step treatment programmes range from 14 to 90 days. Individuals who recover at The Cabin will receive a foundation in 12 step recovery in the form of one on one and group therapy sessions. We focus on getting to the root cause of addiction, teaching individuals' to recognise behaviours and circumstances that lead to addiction, developing interpersonal skills, learning relapse prevention techniques and coaching sober living skills.
If you or someone you care about is suffering from ecstasy addiction, contact The Cabin Chiang Mai at [email protected] and inquire about our mdma addiction rehab treatment programme. Our team of Western trained professional counselling staff will help guide you or your loved one through the process of recovery.
The Cabin Chiang Mai's Ecstasy Treatment Services
- 12 Step Treatment Programme
- Physical health evaluation
- Individual and group counselling
- Ecstasy addiction education
- Health and wellness education
- Fitness Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Massage Therapy
- Ecstasy relapse prevention planning
- Managing sober time coaching
- Aftercare counselling