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Finding the Best Private Ecstasy Addiction Treatment Program

Gaining notoriety during the latter decades of the 20th century, Ecstasy has been infamously used at underground dance parties and clubs to facilitate psychedelic experiences with all-night dancing. Chemically known as MDMA, Ecstasy acts as both a stimulant and hallucinogen. As such, the drug causes users to experience heightened levels of adrenaline, sensitivity to sensory stimuli, feelings of emotional closeness, raised libido and euphoria. Unfortunately, the chemical changes caused by Ecstasy also lead to psychological dependency, as users battle serotonin imbalances and mental conditioning around Ecstasy use.

Ecstasy Dependence and Abuse Statistics

Though the addiction field has ruled out a primarily physical addiction among Ecstasy users, psychologically, the drug remains incredibly addictive. The brain becomes trained to associate Ecstasy use with positive rewards, leading to a virtual rewiring of neuropathways as addiction develops. Here are just a few of the statistics on the Ecstasy epidemic in the United States, as countless young Americans develop dependence on MDMA.

Statistics+

  • By 2004, more than 11 million current US residents had tried Ecstasy at least once in their lifetimes, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  • Almost 500,000 individuals in America had taken MDMA within the last month in one 2004 countrywide study.
  • More than 8 percent of high school seniors have used Ecstasy within the last year.
  • In 2001, one research initiative found that more than 40 percent of those who used Ecstasy met the criteria for chemical dependency, suffering from withdrawal symptoms and MDMA drug tolerance.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) came to the conclusion that continual use of Ecstasy can lead to a host of cognitive issues, including difficulty with critical thinking, formation and recall of memories, and memory-storing capabilities.
  • Emergency rooms across the country have treated youth for Ecstasy-related conditions – in fact, the majority of those seeking emergency medical care for such reasons were between 18 and 20 years of age.
  • More than 33 percent of Ecstasy users fulfill the official diagnostic criteria necessary in order to diagnose a drug abuse issue, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
  • More than 2,000 cases of Ecstasy use accounted for emergency room trips from July to December in 2003, according to research by The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN).
  • Ecstasy use spans racial boundaries, with nearly 4 percent of white people, 3 percent of Latino- or Hispanic-origined individuals, and 1.5 percent of black Americans using Ecstasy in 2005, according to the Monitoring the Future Survey.
  • Among Ecstasy users under 26 years of age, those who had taken Ecstasy within the 12 months prior to a 2003 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) also were at high risk for other illicit drug use.
  • America’s northeastern states had Ecstasy young adult usage statistics higher than 9 percent, while MDMA use on the West Coast and in the South hovered at 7 percent. In the Midwest, roughly 4.6 percent of 18 to 25 year olds had used Ecstasy.

Ecstasy Abuse Facts

Most commonly taken in pill form, MDMA or Ecstasy is a popular club drug taken orally to enhance the party experience with its psychoactive and stimulant properties. Though few people become physically addicted to the drug, the high it provides is extremely psychologically addictive, and many take it in too large of an amount of the drug, too often, or combine it with other drugs with deadly results.

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If Ecstasy abuse is an issue for you or someone you love, it’s important that you seek treatment to aid the healing process. Call now for assistance.

Ecstasy Facts

  • About 2.8 million Americans over the age of 12 reported abusing ecstasy at least once in the year prior to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Additionally, almost 2.5 percent of 8th graders, 4.7 percent of high school sophomores, and 4.5 percent of high school seniors said that they had tried the drug, according to the Monitoring the Future survey.
  • Ecstasy goes by a number of street names – often chosen by the manufacturer or according to a stamp on the pill. Some common generic nicknames include X, XTC, love drug, and others.
  • Users of Ecstasy report feeling increased energy and mental awareness, emotionally open, and heightened sensory awareness while under the influence of the drug.
  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, MDMA can stop the body from accurately regulating body temperature, which can lead to stroke, coma and/or death. Nausea, profuse sweating, chills and shaking, grinding teeth, muscle clamps, and blurred vision are also common.

Alcohol seems correlated with Ecstasy dependency, with only 2 percent of individuals who had used the drug within the last year also having drank within those 12 months, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) literature.

Warning Signs of Abuse

If you are concerned about psychological dependency on Ecstasy – either in yourself or a loved one – you may want to consider the warning signs that Ecstasy abuse may have become a more severe problem segueing into addiction. Below we’ve listed some of the telltale signs of Ecstasy abuse. While no single sign can indicate that someone is abusing the drug, a variety of signs in tandem can create a composite picture of an Ecstasy user.

Warning Signs+

  • Glow in the Dark Sticks and Props
    Most Ecstasy is consumed at dance clubs or underground dance parties that last throughout the night (known as “raves”). Because these settings are often dimly lit – and because users crave sensory stimulation while on Ecstasy – many dancers will carry glow sticks or other glow-in-the-dark props such as necklaces, headbands or stickers as they move to the music.
  • “PLUR” Merchandise or Paraphernalia
    One of the mantras of the rave scene – even among those who do not use drugs at such gatherings – is “PLUR.” Standing for “Peace,” “Love,” “Unity” and “Respect,” PLUR is often written on posters, flyers and paraphernalia.
  • Sudden Pseudonyms
    In keeping with the feel-good vibe of Ecstasy-fueled raves, many ravers will adopt a second name, usually an abstracted, positive noun (such as “Harmony,” “Rhythm,” “Sunshine” or the like).
  • All-Night Parties and Exhaustion
    If someone you love has been staying out at all-night parties or raves, yet returning home full of energy, a stimulant like Ecstasy may be the cause. Such periods of drug use are often followed by a severe “crash,” where users can sleep for days at a time as their bodies and minds recover.
  • Personality Changes
    When serotonin and dopamine levels become affected by chronic Ecstasy use, mood disorders and personality shifts can occur. Mood shifts can also include anxiety attacks, bouts of depression, paranoia and a turn towards pessimistic thought.
  • Lowered Cognition
    Some individuals find that Ecstasy use affects their mental acuity. Particularly affected are memory and critical thinking skills, which affect judgment, recall and productivity.
  • Hyperactivity
    Ecstasy is a stimulant that engenders high bursts of energy, and is often cut with speed.
  • Dental Problems
    Ecstasy users often chew candy or gum in order to prevent tooth grinding that is natural while on the drug. Tooth grinding, dry mouth, cavities and gum disease can all occur when Ecstasy use takes place.
  • Dehydration
    One of the most dangerous side effects of Ecstasy abuse is dehydration. In all-night dancing atmospheres, individuals experience environmental effects of crowded, hot clubs or warehouses alongside the naturally dehydrating properties of Ecstasy. This can result in overheating, exhaustion, fainting, hyperthermia (dangerously high fever), coma or even death.
  • Pupil Dilation
    Ecstasy tends to dilate pupils, causing the black inner circle of the eye to enlarge.

 

Effects on the Body

While Ecstasy can initiate any one of these effects with just a single use, many individuals raise their risk of side effects with repeated “trips.” Here are just a few of the effects that Ecstasy can have in frequent users.

Effects+

  • Hyperthermia
    Ecstasy is often taken in a dance-club atmosphere, where users experience bursts of energy that keep them moving all night long. Though Ecstasy’s peak experience tends to last four to six hours, some users will double the dose for an extended trip. Other users will combine Ecstasy with other drugs, such as cocaine, LSD (in a practice known as “candy flipping”), GHB or amphetamines. These extended trips often lead to dehydration, exacerbated by the drug’s disruption of the body’s regulation of temperature. The mental high users experience also tends to distract them from thirst, leading to profuse sweating, overheating and severe dehydration. The majority of Ecstasy deaths occur as a result of hyperthermia (dangerously high body temperatures).
  • Severe Depression or Self-Harm
    Because of the way that Ecstasy affects the brain’s levels of serotonin, many users “crash” after a trip, falling into a deep depression due to a lack of the neurotransmitter. As a result, Ecstasy users can engage in paranoid behavior, self-harming behavior (such as cutting or starving) or even experience suicidal ideation.
  • Brain Damage
    Ecstasy use can lead to a host of brain-oriented problems, including memory lapses, incidence of stroke and even brain hemorrhages. In some cases, severe amnesia can occur, as well.
  • Serotonin Syndrome
    In some Ecstasy users, an adverse to the overabundance of serotonin occurs in a condition known as “serotonin syndrome,” marked by fever, hives and disorientation. If untreated, serotonin syndrome can become quickly fatal.
  • Severe Headaches
    Many Ecstasy users experience migraine headaches, partially due to the effects of the drug, and partially attributable to dehydration, ocular migraines triggered by flashing or strobe lights, and exhaustion.
  • Cardiac Problems
    Because Ecstasy has stimulant properties, many users can experience heightened blood pressure, irregular or rapid heartbeat and severe chest pains as a result of using the drug.
  • Kidney and Liver Problems
    Ecstasy use can take a toll on the liver and kidneys, even triggering failure of one or both organs in severe cases.
  • Circulatory Problems
    Ecstasy can cause a host of circulatory issues due to reduced blood supply to tissues throughout the body. In the worst cases, users can become immunocompromised, or even succumb to circulatory shock and muscle tissue breakdown.
  • Skin Problems
    The combination of sweat, grime and dehydration that Ecstasy use engenders can lead to “Ecstasy pimples,” a rash resembling acne but which can sometimes be a harbinger of liver problems.
  • Dental Issues
    Ecstasy can lead to severe dental decay and gum disease, due to dry mouth stemming from dehydration, an affinity for candy and sugar, and lack of oral hygiene.

 

Addiction Treatment

For many individuals, recovery from the drug involves dedicated inpatient Ecstasy addiction treatment, fostering social, psychological and physical healing from prolonged use.

With the power to raise sensitivity and pleasure to a user’s emotional bonding and sensory capabilities, Ecstasy is a psychoactive stimulant, earning it a reputation as “the hug drug.” A presence at underground all-night parties (known as “raves”) and social gatherings, the synthetically derived drug is part of the amphetamine family, causing high levels of energy alongside its hallucinogenic properties. Though Ecstasy does not initiate classic physical addiction, the drug has been acknowledged for its psychologically addictive properties.

Detoxification

Despite Ecstasy’s reputation as a feel-good drug, Ecstasy addiction can have harrowing effects. Although the drug is not considered physically addictive, Ecstasy does affect neurological chemical messengers, known as neurotransmitters. As serotonin and norepinephrine levels rise during an Ecstasy trip, users can undergo a series of physical and mental changes that can prove dangerous. Ecstasy also affects the body’s levels of dopamine, a neurochemical responsible for feelings of well-being, calm and positive mood.
As neurotransmitter balance becomes disrupted, the dangers Ecstasy can cause include physical – as well as psychological – ones. Ecstasy use can lead to dehydration, stroke, delusions, paranoia, depression, suicidal ideation, panic attacks, coma and even fatalities. As such, detoxification from Ecstasy – particularly while the drug is still active in the system or in the days thereafter – can endanger users if attempted alone.
At Ecstasy addiction treatment centers, patients can detoxify from Ecstasy use in a safe and sane environment.

Physical attention can be given by medical staff to ensure proper hydration is provided, along with nutritional supplements to encourage serotonin production to mitigate post-Ecstasy depletion of the neurotransmitter. Additionally, patients can access mental health counseling, diagnostic testing for co-occurring mental health disorders and psychiatric medication such as anxiolytic drugs or antidepressants that can help combat the psychological damage that chronic Ecstasy use may have caused.

Therapy at Treatment Centers

For many Ecstasy users, the psychological addiction has dual components of chemical imbalance initiated by prolonged use and emotional addiction to the drug. For some Ecstasy-addicted individuals, the chemical effects of the drug are compounded by the social setting in which the drug is taken. While not every individual taking Ecstasy does so in a rave setting, the ideals of social acceptance, love, emotional connection and spontaneity often become associated with drug use. Issues of emotional escape also tend to factor into Ecstasy use, as some users gravitate towards the drug due to past traumatic experiences or preexisting social anxiety. The drug’s reputation for enabling social interaction and emotional openness comes from Ecstasy’s role as an oxytocin, a substance that enables psychological bonding. In fact, one study conducted in 1999 found that the majority of Ecstasy users claimed that ease of social interaction due to removed inhibitions remained their primary reason for taking the stimulant.

At Ecstasy addiction treatment centers, these psychological issues can be addressed through the use of personalized counseling. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), hypnotherapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) may be employed in order to address issues of trauma, negative self-beliefs or self-sabotaging behaviors. Family counseling and couples counseling sessions may also be available, to help revisit and strengthen intimate bonds. Group counseling and 12-step meetings (secular and religious) are often also offered in order to provide social support and promote insight in recovery.