It is not uncommon for ecstasy users to have a few (or many) alcoholic drinks while partying on the drug, but the effects of this drug cocktail are far more dangerous than more people realise. Learn about the dangers here.

Drug cocktails ecstasy and alcohol, just how dangerous is it

Ecstasy and alcohol are two of the most commonly used drugs around the world. Ecstasy, a popular name for 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), is considered to be the most popular illegal club drug, while alcohol is the most popular legal drug in use today.

MDMA is often taken at nightclubs, bars, festivals or raves where alcohol is usually served, and it is common for users to combine the two drugs without much thought. Unfortunately, the effects of this combo can cause serious harm and even death.  As MDMA can have serious impact on brain function, users should seek treatment for MDMA addiction as soon as possible.

Effects of Alcohol and MDMA

Although many people assume alcohol to be a stimulant, it is in fact a depressant. When a person drinks alcohol, it gets distributed throughout portions of the body that contain water, such as the brain. The brain is what controls our cognitive thinking and behavior.

Effects of alcohol use include:

  • Dehydration
  • Hot flashes or flushing
  • Loss of inhibition
  • Decreased alertness
  • Impaired judgment
  • Lack of concentration
  • Decreased coordination

Ecstasy on the other hand is a stimulant, which causes the brain to release chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine which are associated with pleasure and excitement, often giving the user a feeling of euphoria.

Along with the high come several negative side effects of MDMA, which can include the following:

  • Jaw clenching
  • Increased heart rate
  • Panic attacks
  • Aggression (especially when mixed with alcohol or other drugs)
  • Paranoia
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle cramping
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrest

Dangerous Consequences of Mixing Alcohol and Ecstasy

Ecstasy is often taken in a club environment where it is already hot and overcrowded. The euphoric effect of the drug can make users forget about drinking water, or they may drink alcohol in an attempt to quench their thirst. Due to the diuretic effect of alcohol, this actually makes the user even more dehydrated and puts them at higher risk of overheating which can lead to liver and kidney failure, coma and death.

As well as dehydration and overheating, mixing a depressant drug (alcohol) with a stimulant drug (MDMA) puts a lot of pressure on the heart, which could lead to cardiac arrest.

Furthermore, ingesting both ecstasy and alcohol clouds judgment in the user’s brain, making poor decisions leading to harmful or fatal accidents increasingly common.

Warning Signs of Dehydration and Overheating on Molly

Due to the fact that alcohol and ecstasy are such a popular combination to mix, it is crucial for people to be able to recognise the warning signs of overheating and dehydration:

  • Feeling very hot and overall unwell
  • Confusion
  • Inability to talk properly
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Inability to urinate or urine becomes thick and dark
  • Not sweating, even when dancing
  • Heart rate and pulse remain elevated even during rest
  • Fainting, collapsing or convulsing

If you should notice any or all of these signs in yourself, sit down, intake water slowly, and get medical help immediately.

Alcohol- and MDMA-related Depression

Alcohol is a depressant, and it has been proven that regular drinking lowers serotonin levels (the chemical in the brain often referred to as the ‘happy hormone’).  Though it seems like a natural thing to do to turn to alcohol for stress relief, over time drinking can actually cause depression and increase anxiety in users.

MDMA use causes an artificial surge of serotonin in the brain (producing the euphoric effects of the drug) which causes the regular serotonin production system to shut down temporarily. Many users experience a period of depression following ecstasy use which can last from one day up to a week while natural production of serotonin tries to replenish stores in the brain.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the combination of ecstasy and alcohol can increase feelings of depression and the effects may last even longer. And depression, whether natural or caused by substance abuse, is one of the number one risk factors for addiction as the user seeks more substances to drive away their depressive state. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the problem, driving the individual to seek more and more substances, which can lead to addiction.

Further Dangers of MDMA Use

Whether purchased under the name ecstasy, MDMA or Molly, the chances of the drug actually containing pure MDMA are very slim. In an article written for Playboy in 2013, author Frank Owen went on a search for pure MDMA. He bought three different capsules and tested them with a multidrug screening test. What they found was >very little MDMA, and all sorts of other drugs including bath salts, meth, cocaine and even opioids among other ingredients they could not even identify.

From 2010-2014, only 13% of Molly seized by the New York Police Department contained any traces of MDMA. The rest was made up of various drugs and chemicals including Methylone, MDPV, 4-MEC, 4-MMC, Pentedrone and MePP.

Put simply, most users of MDMA, ecstasy or Molly are not actually taking MDMA but rather a variety of dangerous drugs and chemicals. This makes it nearly impossible to know how the body will react, and has caused many ecstasy-related deaths in recent years.

The Bottom Line: Do Not Mix Alcohol and Molly

Both alcohol and MDMA are dangerous drugs on their own, but when combined, the risks are amplified. This drug cocktail that offers up a double dose of potential dehydration, overheating, coordination loss, impaired alertness and coma or cardiac arrest in severe cases.

Getting Treatment for Substance Abuse and Addiction

Many people do not realise that pure MDMA can be addictive, but it can be. And when it is cut with other drugs including meth, cocaine or bath salts, the risk of addiction becomes even higher.

Struggling to control MDMA or alcohol use it is a sign of addiction. And because addiction is a chronic disease, it only gets worse over time if left untreated. If you or someone you know is suffering from loss of control or serious addiction, rest assured that help is available. Contact us today for a free, no obligation assessment to see how we can help.

Are Drugs Taking Over Your Life

About the Author

Lee Daniel Hawker-Lecesne

Lee Daniel Hawker-Lecesne

Clinical Director at The Cabin (MBPsS, British Psychological Society Number: 479469) Lee is a Registered Member of the British Psychological Society. He graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK with a degree in Behavioural Science and a postgraduate clinical focus on addictions from the University of Bath. Lee is a focused and ambitious individual who has in-depth training and experience in a broad range of clinical psychological interventions in the treatment of addiction, dual diagnosis, and complex trauma.

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