What is MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, Ecstasy)?

MDMA is short for methylenedioxymethamphetamine and commonly known as Ecstasy. It is an central nervous system stimulant and a mild hallucinogen and psychedelic drug. MDMA was developed to be used as an appetite suppressant and used in psychotherapy. Today there is no medical use for MDMA, its use is purely for recreational purposes. MDMA is known as a “club drug” being used at parties and raves for its stimulant, mild hallucinogenic, and empathogenic properties.

How MDMA Works

Typically MDMA is ingested orally, however it can be crushed and snorted or dissolved into liquid form and injected. When entering into the body it goes threw the blood system and travels quickly to the brain. MDMA depletes serotonin and destroys neurons in the brain, as well as increasing levels of norepinephrine and dopamine. These effects on the brain cause aggression, mood, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain. Users will experience feelings of euphoria, wakefulness and energy for up to 7 hours after its first use.


Origionally MDMA was developed to be used as an appetite suppressant and used in psychotherapy. However today it holds no medical purpose. The drug is now only used for recreational purposes. It is known as a club drug and commonly used by people looking for its stimulant and hallucinogenic effects. MDMA creates a sense of well being, increased sexuality and sensation, as well as increases the users energy, allowing them to party and dance all night without crashing.

Developing an MDMA Addiction

Most who use MDMA started its use with the intentions of using it on occasion. Quickly they became hooked to its effects, using the drug regularly. The more often the drug is used the faster a tolerance will develop, requiring larger doses of the medication to acheive the desired effects. As the dose increases and the frequency of its use the person is at risk of developing a physical and psychological dependency to MDMA, resulting in withdrawal syndrome when stopping its use.

Signs of MDMA Abuse

  • Change in lifestyle, more interested in partying
  • Lack of interest in usual activities
  • Distance between friends and family due to drug use
  • Trouble at work, school or home
  • Financial Difficulties
  • Appearance changes
  • Agitated when unable to use

Someone high on MDMA may show the following signs:

  • impulsivity
  • inability to pay attention
  • cognitive, perception and mental changes
  • loss of memory
  • uncoordinated
  • Distortion of perception, thinking, and memory
  • disorientation to time and place
  • slow reactions
  • excitability


Symptoms of MDMA Withdrawal

MDMA users go on binges, typically over the weekend. They will use the drug and party without rest and then when stopping the use of MSMA they crash and experience the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • exhaustion
  • apathy
  • depression
  • irritability
  • insomnia
  • muscle tension

MDMA Addiction Treatment

A person who uses MDMA is looking to escape from reality,  increase their senses and energy. While most do not intend to use the drug on a regular basis the effects and lifestyle that go along with the drug become addictive. Regular use of MDMA results in a tolerance to the drug, requiring larger doses to acheive the desired effects. The user increases their dose and uses MDMA more often resulting in a physical and psychological dependency. Most users will take MDMA throughout the weekend, preventing sleep, then when abruptly stopping its use they are hit with a crash and withdrawal symptoms that make them turn to MDMA or other drugs for comfort.

Treating MDMA Addiction

Treating an MDMA addiction often requires the person to enter into a treatment facility where they will be detoxed and provided with the therapy and counseling needed to overcome their addiction.

Medical detox will allow the patient to fully withdrawal from MDMA in a safe, therapeutic and temptation free environment with a prescription medication to ease symptoms of withdrawal. The patient will be cleansed of the chemicals and toxins related to its use and prepared for the remainder of their treatment.

Cognitive therapy is an important step in the treatment process. MDMA addiction holds a high psychological dependency. Patients are able to recognize the dysfunctional behaviors and routines associated with MDMA use and change them to ones that promote sober living. They will be able to develop the tools needed to maintain their sobriety and change their life style to one that is happy, healthy and promotes sobriety.