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Ecstasy Abuse, Addiction, and Treatment

Ecstasy is a popular club drug that gives users a sense of euphoria and energy. Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 0.9% (or about 2.6 million people) reported using the drug in the past 12 months.[1]

But behind the pleasurable effects of ecstasy are hidden dangers and risks of addiction. Understanding the risks of ecstasy and knowing how to get help for ecstasy abuse and addiction can help you make informed decisions about your treatment.

Contact the Mandala Healing Center staff today for information about ecstasy abuse treatment. 

What is Ecstasy (MDMA)?

3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) is a synthetic drug that can be snorted or taken orally. In pill form, MDMA is known as ecstasy and often contains caffeine, ketamine, amphetamines, cocaine, or other stimulating substances. 

Ecstasy shares the hallucinogenic effects of LSD and the stimulant effects of amphetamines. It causes a flood of chemicals in the brain, including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are related to pleasure, mood, energy, and sexual arousal.[2]

Ecstasy users experience a range of desirable effects when they take the drug, including:

  • Deepened empathy
  • More energy
  • Heightened pleasure
  • A sense of closeness to others
  • Emotional openness
  • Increased sexuality

Users generally feel the effects of ecstasy within 30 to 45 minutes of taking the drug. Effects last from 4 to 6 hours. The intensity and duration of the effects a person experiences depend on several factors, including:

  • The person’s metabolism
  • The amount of Ecstasy they took
  • Additives in the Ecstasy
  • Tolerance (needing to take more to achieve the desired effects)
  • Other substances used at the same time

Ecstasy abuse can also cause unpleasant and harmful short and long-term side effects, including:

  • Tremors
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Chills
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Distortions of time
  • Reduced inhibition
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Memory issues

People who take ecstasy in a hot or crowded environment are at risk of overheating. A dangerously elevated body temperature can cause liver, heart, and kidney failure, dehydration, fainting, or seizures without treatment.[2]

How Do People Develop Ecstasy Addiction?

Ecstasy works in part by increasing neurotransmitters involved in pleasure and reward. Drugs that increase these chemicals in the brain can be addictive. Not everyone who takes ecstasy will become addicted to it, but addiction is possible. 

People who frequently use ecstasy may come to depend on it to feel good or normal–even if they are not necessarily physically dependent on it. Chronic and habitual users may feel compelled to use ecstasy and become anxious if they do not have access to the drug.

If you are concerned about ecstasy abuse and addiction, take the following actions:

  • Do not take ecstasy
  • Avoid others who use ecstasy
  • Avoid settings where ecstasy is likely to be available
  • Be aware of the signs of addiction and seek treatment immediately, if necessary

People who become addicted to ecstasy may require substance abuse treatment to address these conditions’ physical, emotional, and behavioral aspects. 

Do I Need Treatment for Ecstasy Abuse and Addiction?

People who use ecstasy frequently or in high doses may have a hard time going without the drug or feel anxious without access to it. It’s important to understand the signs of Ecstasy abuse and addiction.

Some signs that you may need treatment for ecstasy abuse and addiction include:

  • Needing to use more ecstasy to get the same effects
  • Experiencing negative consequences associated with Ecstasy use
  • Wanting to stop or cut back but being unable to do so
  • Falling behind at home, work, or school due to Ecstasy use
  • Spending a lot of time getting, using, and recovering from Ecstasy
  • Having intense cravings for ecstasy

Addiction treatment can help people identify the roots of their substance use, treat the addiction’s physical, emotional, and behavioral aspects, and learn skills that will help them avoid relapses in the future. 

What Happens in Treatment for Ecstasy Addiction?

Substance abuse treatment happens in stages. Before starting treatment, a doctor or addiction specialist will ask questions about your substance use, mental and medical history, prior treatment, and other personal information. This evaluation will allow your treatment team to tailor a treatment plan to address your unique needs and goals. Once you know what level of care you require, you can begin treatment.


Some people with addiction require medically-supported detox before starting a comprehensive treatment program. In a detox program, medical and support professionals will monitor you, treat your withdrawal symptoms, and ensure a safe, complete detox.


A comprehensive treatment program utilizes a combination of evidence-based and holistic therapies to support addiction recovery and give people the skills they need to avoid future relapse.

Therapies include:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Education
  • Medications
  • Medical and mental health care
  • Holistic therapies like nutrition counseling, yoga, massage, and mindfulness

The length of time and level of care someone requires depends on the length and severity of their addiction and other personal factors. 

Get Help Now

To learn more about ecstasy abuse and addiction or to begin a substance abuse treatment program, contact the Mandala Healing Center addiction specialists today.