MDMA Addiction: Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

What is MDMA Addiction? MDMA is an artificial drug that is over a century old. The drug was first manufactured in 1912 by a German drug company that was trying to produce an appetite suppressant.

MDMA was not illegal in the US until 30 years ago when it was listed as a Schedule I substance after unlawful use started to pick up in nightclub and college “rave”.

All forms of MDMA are in fact classified as Schedule I drugs, meaning that they have a high possibility of being abused and not accepted for any medical use. Schedule I medicines can lead to severe physical and psychological dependence.

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People tend to refer to “Ecstasy” as the tablets that are prepared with MDMA and other artificial products, while “Molly” as the pure form of the drug. However, most of the powders (Molly) sold by drug dealers are pure MDMA mixed with other ingredients and drugs such as DXM, PCP, MDA, Ketamine, Cocaine, Ephedrine, Methamphetamine, Caffeine, OTCs medications, Synthetic Cathinones, and Pseudoephedrine.

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What is MDMA?

This is an artificial drug that functions as a hallucinogen and stimulant. MDMA provides an energizing impact, distortions in perception and time, and improved enjoyment from physical experiences. The drug has also been known to increase empathy and self-awareness, hence an entactogen.

mdma addiction - ecstasy pill addiction

(Example Of MDMA / Ecstasy Pills)

Can You Get Addicted to MDMA?

Researchers have not really proved whether this drug is addictive, though it interferes with most of the neurotransmitter mechanisms in the brain that are affected by other addictive substances. Experiments have proven that animals will take (self-administer) MDMA – a critical factor that shows the drug is most likely addictive – although the level of taking it is less compared to other addictive substances, like coke.

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Is MDMA Physically Addictive?

Chronic abuse of MDMA might be related to the development of physical dependence (that is, the development of both withdrawal and tolerance symptoms); however, researchers cannot seem to agree about this. The drug does not result in any recognized withdrawal symptom, although it is widely accepted that tolerance to MDMA drug does develop.

In research that has shown that MDMA is physically addictive, the reported withdrawal symptoms involve fatigue, difficulty concentrating, issues with sleep, depression, and other symptoms.

A number of visible physical signs are also associated with abusing Molly. They include appetite loss, blurred vision, muscle cramping, vomiting, nausea, teeth grinding, and hyperactivity.

mdma addiction effect on the brain

(MDMA Addiction Effect)

Can You Get Addicted to Molly?

While many users do not develop any chemical dependency on this drug, psychological caving can be very high (the defining symptom of addiction). Molly alters the brain by changing the chemical reactions of neurotransmitter systems. The disruptions lead to improper interaction between neurons. This is what leads to the distorted effects of the brain as well as the ability to experience heightened sensations of stimulation.

This form of MDMA also produces a hormone called oxytocin. The hormone is usually present during childbirth and orgasm which leads to the increased intimacy a person feel when using Molly. Although the user might not die from abusing Molly, its effects on the body are horrifying and can be seen using SPECT for drug addiction that takes images of the brain.

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Is Molly Physically Addictive?

Because Molly is abused as a recreational substance, its addiction is highly likely when a person take MDMA for that purpose. But you should note that physical addiction and addiction are two separate clinical terms. Physical addiction arises when the body has adjusted to the constant presence of Molly in the system and presents severe withdrawal syndromes once it is skipped.

Long-term use of Molly can alter the brain to a level that cognitive behavior is only possible when the drug is in the blood. At that level, the body is usually physically addicted to this drug. But the majority of Molly users do not get to this level.

Is Ecstasy Addictive?

This drug is addictive since it affects most of the neurotransmitter systems (norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin) that are affected by other addictive substances. Ecstasy changes the chemical reactions of these transmitters, leading to abnormal effects on the brain.

However, when compared to other addictive drugs, ecstasy is less addictive and does not result in physical dependence. On the contrary, continued use of Ecstasy can be a sign of psychological addiction to MDMA.

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Why is Ecstasy Addictive?

Ecstasy is addictive because of the way it works. Just like most addictive substances, ecstasy works by boosting the levels of neurotransmitter systems – serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine – in the brain. When a person takes this drug, it changes the chemical reactions of these transmitters leading to distorted brain functions.

This is often evidenced through different side effects of ecstasy such as higher perceptions, increased energy, mood elevation, and desire for emotional intimacy.  These pleasurable side effects are often followed by severe effects which include confusion, anxiety, cravings, depression, and insomnia.

Is Ecstasy Physically Addictive?

Yes, although uncommon, there is a possibility of a person becoming physically addicted to ecstasy. Physical addiction is usually indicated by the presence of physical withdrawal symptoms which include loss of appetite, fatigue, depression, and trouble concentrating.

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How is Ecstasy Addictive?

When people abuse ecstasy for long, they experience increased emotional empathy and intimacy as well as higher sensations of stimulation. After a binge, regular, or persistent use of the drug, increase is dosage is required. Within a short time, the person cannot experience the same high from a similar dosage they started with.

ecstasy addiction

(Ecstasy Addiction)

MDMA Addiction Treatment

There is no recommended way of treating people addicted to MDMA. Some users prefer behavioral therapy which has been shown to be quite helpful. However, there is the need of conducting further research to understand how effective the therapy is. Of important, it is advisable to seek professional help when detoxing from MDMA drugs.

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MDMA Addiction – Get Help Today!

Depending upon various factors such as the severity and nature of MDMA abuse or addiction, individual’s age, and reoccurring conditions, the right treatment for MDMA addiction might include residential treatment, partial hospitalization, and outpatient therapy.

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