What is ecstasy?

The chemical abbreviation for the so-called ‘designer’ drug ecstasy is MDMA.

What are its effects?

Users of MDMA (ecstasy) may encounter problems similar to those experienced by amphetamine and cocaine users, including addiction.

In addition to its rewarding effects, MDMA’s psychological effects can include:

  • confusion
  • depression
  • sleep problems
  • anxiety
  • paranoia during, and sometimes weeks after, taking the drug
  • muscle tension
  • involuntary teeth clenching
  • nausea
  • blurred vision
  • faintness
  • chills or sweating
  • increases in heart rate and blood pressure (a particular risk for people with circulatory or heart disease)

How dangerous is it?

MDMA-related fatalities at raves (large, all-night dance parties) have been reported. The stimulant effects of ecstasy, which enable 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.

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) damages brain serotonin neurons. Serotonin is thought to play a role in regulating mood, memory, sleep and appetite. Recent research indicates heavy MDMA use causes persistent memory problems.


How do I get help for myself or my loved one?

The first step in getting help is finding out whether you have a problem. A trained clinical psychologist can effectively perform a professional assessment, which will identify whether you have any problem areas, and will recommend the treatment most appropriate for you if necessary.

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