Long Term Effects of Ecstasy
Ecstasy, MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), is a stimulant derivative of amphetamine with psychedelic properties similar to mescaline. Since it became available on the street in the 1980’s, Ecstasy has become a popular drug that has made a tremendous impact on society.
Ecstasy was initially used in psychotherapeutic treatments to enhance communications in patient sessions by breaking down user inhibitions and allowing them to achieve insights about their problems.
Its popularity gained momentum among adolescents and young adults as a “club drug” that produces euphoria, energy, altered sensory perceptions, emotional warm and empathy toward others
MDMA was banned in 1988 and today, “Ecstasy” pills actually may contain little to no MDMA at all. Ecstasy is made in illicit labs and often contains other variants that can be extremely harmful and poisonous. Some formulations may include Ketamine, DXM, ephedrine, caffeine, or other chemicals.
By itself, Ecstasy can be dangerous, but, these formulations add to the risks and in 2011, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, there were 22,498 emergency department visits involving Ecstasy, a 120% increase from 2004 where it was involved in 10,227 ED visits.
Long Term Psychological Effects of Ecstasy
Long term effects of Ecstasy most frequently reported include depression, sleep disturbances, mood swings, anxiety, reduced concentration, and other cognitive deficits including impaired memory.
Further studies revealed that Ecstasy can damage the user’s ability to produce serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating sleep, moods, pain, appetite, and other behaviors. It also damages portions of the brain that regulate these critical functions.
Neurological impairments caused by degenerated nerve branches and nerve endings can lead to many other long term psychological effects. Some describe it as a complete reversal of the “feel good” effects they experienced while under the influence of Ecstasy.
Ecstasy influences the production of dopamine, to a lesser extent of its influence on the production of serotonin, but, any drug that increases dopamine can lead to dependence and addiction.
Long Term Physical Effects of Ecstasy
Ecstasy can cause many physical impairments including the inability to be metabolized leading to toxicity poisoning which can damage multiple organs.
It has been widely known to cause kidney failure and damage to the cardiovascular system. Long after Ecstasy is used, the person may still be at a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and cardiac arrhythmias.
Permanent damage to the teeth and gums is a result of grinding teeth or sucking on them which dries out the mouth tissues and causes cavities, broken teeth, and gum disease.
Other long term physical effects of Ecstasy may include tremors, convulsions, hemorrhaging, seizures, or death.
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