Ecstasy addiction is more common than one would think, and addiction to this type of drug can be very dangerous. Ecstasy is an illegal psychoactive drug that is classified as a stimulant. It produces effects very similar to methamphetamine but on a smaller scale. Ecstasy typically comes in the form of a capsule or tablet and is a synthetic drug, meaning that it is made through a chemical process instead of being harvested or obtained from a naturally occurring substance such as opium from the opium poppy. Ecstasy is one of the most abused drugs in the world, and as recent as 2009 over 14 million Americans had used the drug. There are no signs that rate of Ecstasy use is slowing or will slow at any point in the near future, and as of 2009 Ecstasy boasted another 1.1 new users.
Ecstasy is a common drug of abuse among young adults and adolescents, and first came on the scene when all weekend parties known as "raves" were the trend. Ecstasy remains popular in the party and nightclub scene, because it gives that boost of energy that users are looking for to sustain their party going. But since Ecstasy emerged as a drug of choice among this type of user, it has garnered a whole new following amongst individuals of all backgrounds and ethnicities. For example, members of the gay community use Ecstasy as one of many drugs which they combine to party as part of a multidrug experience.
Ecstasy's effects kick in about 15 minutes after the drug has been ingested. A typical Ecstasy high is characterized be a boost in energy, a sense of euphoria, and changes in the way the user perceives things in their environment, along with enhanced tactile experiences. The high that Ecstasy users experience can become addictive, despite the false impression that Ecstasy is a benign drug of abuse. Once you alter the levels of chemicals in the brain through the use of drugs such as Ecstasy, your body and mind want to feel that way again, real soon. This is because drugs such as Ecstasy elevate certain chemicals in the body that are part of the brain and central nervous system's natural reward mechanism. These levels of reward chemicals cannot be produced naturally without the use of drugs, and this is why taking drugs like Ecstasy can be so addictive.
There are a few chemicals, scientifically known as "neurotransmitters", which are effected when someone uses Ecstasy. One of those chemicals is called Serotonin. This chemical is responsible for regulating mood, aggression, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain. This is what causes all of the positive feelings that users experience, or the "high". Of course users would want to experience an effortless sense of well being and all of the other perks that come with a boost of serotonin. But unfortunately, there is a flip side to an Ecstasy high, and that is the come down. Because these levels can't stay this artificially high forever, levels will drop and will sometimes drop far below even naturally occurring levels. This is why many Ecstasy users complain of depression, anxiety and the like when the effects of Ecstasy wear off. Along with these unwanted symptoms from the come down, many Ecstasy users experience a sense of confusion and sleep problems. These types of side effects don't always subside right away, and can last for days or even weeks.
Any long term Ecstasy user who is being honest with themselves will tell you that Ecstasy is addictive. It is far too easy to pop an Ecstasy pill and experience the pleasant effects, than it is to participate in a social event or the like without the use of drugs such as Ecstasy. Individuals become dependent to Ecstasy, and addiction to the drug builds very quickly. Ecstasy research confirms this fact, and a recent survey of young adult and adolescent users reported that 43% of those who used the drug met the criteria for dependence. Meaning, they kept using the drug to get high even though they knew it wasn't good for them.
Ecstasy addiction is a dangerous addiction, and on rare occasions can even be lethal. Because ecstasy is a stimulant, it increases heart rate and blood pressure. If someone has a heart or circulatory problem, they can have a heart attack or stroke and die from taking Ecstasy, even a single dose. This can happen at high doses among healthy Ecstasy users as well. The drug can also cause a spike in body temperature, which can cause liver and kidney failure as well as cardiovascular system failure which can potentially result in death. Sometimes Ecstasy doesn't metabolize properly or quickly enough, so after repeated doses an individual can wind up with potentially harmful or even lethal levels of Ecstasy in their body.
The most effective way to overcome Ecstasy addiction is to seek substance abuse treatment a drug rehab. It can be hard to beat any kind of addiction on one's own, and many Ecstasy users will simply turn to another substance such as alcohol or other drugs to ease withdrawal symptoms or to help with cravings. This is just replacing one addiction with another, and the only effective way to handle addiction permanently is to treat it, not run away from it. Because Ecstasy addiction is so common, there are a number of drug rehab programs available to effectively treat Ecstasy addiction.
Overcoming Ecstasy addiction will entail first overcoming the physical symptoms of withdrawal and getting through a thorough detox, followed by fully addressing the underlying psychological and emotional issues which may be hindering an individual from getting and staying off of Ecstasy or any drug for that matter. Individuals and their loved ones can choose the Ecstasy addiction treatment program which makes sense for them, and most programs which treat Ecstasy addiction will take anywhere from 30 to 90 days. It is time well spent, and individuals will be able to get their lives back on track after having been rehabilitated and overcoming Ecstasy addiction.