Ecstasy Side Effects
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Ecstasy Side Effects

Ecstasy side effects may range from minimal impact to potentially being fatal. When an user takes the drug, they begin to experience its effects within thirty minutes or so and continue to feel them for hours. While on ecstasy the user feels a “rush” followed by a sense of calmness and well being. They also experience a heightened perception of color and sound. Ecstasy triggers the release of certain substances in the brain making you euphoric and uninhibited. You may feel closeness with others, you want to touch and hug them and share intimate secrets with them - this is actually what often occurs.

Then, the next day when you wake up and recall what you have said to this or that person you may regret some or all of what you have revealed. This happens frequently. When people are on ecstasy they disclose many more secrets to complete strangers (or school mates...) than they would normally do sober. Your own words, when shared with people who don't care about you, may hurt you.

Ecstasy is a Schedule I synthetic, psychoactive substance possessing stimulant and hallucinogenic properties. Ecstasy possesses chemical variations of the stimulant amphetamine or methamphetamine and a hallucinogen, most often mescaline. Commonly referred to as Ecstasy or XTC, MDMA was first synthesized in 1912 by a German company possibly to be used as an appetite suppressant. Chemically, it is an analogue of MDA, a drug that was popular in the 1960s. Today Ecstasy is most often distributed at late-night parties called "raves", nightclubs, and rock concerts. As the rave and club scene expands to metropolitan and suburban areas across the country, Ecstasy use and distribution are increasing as well.

Short Term Ecstasy Side Effects

While ecstasy is not as addictive as heroin or methamphetamine, its side effects can be just as intense. Many of the ecstasy side effects faced by users are similar to those found with the use of cocaine and amphetamines including nausea, hallucinations, chills, sweating, increases in body temperature, tremors, involuntary teeth clenching, muscle cramping, blurred vision, anxiety, paranoia, and depression. There is also risk for those people who develop a rash that looks like acne after using ecstasy. When this occurs, there is evidence that users may be risking severe ecstasy side effects, including liver damage, if they continue to use the drug.

Common Short Term Ecstasy Side Effects Include:

  • Anxiety
  • Dehydration or over-hydration
    • Hyponatremia occurs when sodium in your blood levels drops dramatically. Sodium is considered an electrolyte. Electrolytes help to balance water levels within your cells. Users of Ecstasy may overcompensate by drinking too much water, which can cause the body to lose massive quantities of sodium. According to the Mayo Clinic, death has resulted from hyponatremia, which can lead to nausea and vomiting, headaches, confusion, seizures, spasms of the muscles, loss of consciousness and possible coma.
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased body temperature
    • According to Brown University, one of the biggest concerns when using Ecstasy is the potential risk for heatstroke. Ecstasy contains norepinephrine, a chemical released into your body after ingesting the drug. As a result, your heart rate increases, which can be dangerous in individuals who have a pre-existing, heart condition such as cardiovascular disease.
  • Jaw clenching
    • Ecstasy users report ecstasy side effects of bruxism (teeth grinding) and trisma (jaw clenching) as short-term ecstasy side effects. Many users attempt to alleviate this by using chewing gum. However, this can result in temporary mouth ulcers through inadvertent biting of the mouth lining. Temporary jaw ache often results from jaw clenching or excessive chewing. Some users even consume supplemental magnesium tablets to relax the jaw muscles and relieve clenching.
  • Nausea

Users of Ecstasy have also reported feeling paranoid, feeling faint, losing consciousness, having seizures or experiencing great anxiety. Other ecstasy side effects include increased heart rate, chills and sleeping disorders. You may also crave the use of other drugs while on Ecstasy. According to an abstract by the University of East London's Department of Psychology, the use of Ecstasy can also result in psychiatric disorders, altered appetite, loss of sexual interest and cognitive deficits.

Long Term Ecstasy Side Effects

Brain damage and memory loss are long-term ecstasy side effects. It is important to note that memory loss and brain damage are not necessary related to the dose or how long a person takes ecstasy. Ecstasy side effects from long-term use are just beginning to undergo scientific analysis. In 1998, the National Institute of Mental Health conducted a study on a small group of habitual ecstasy users who were abstaining from use. The study revealed that the abstinent users suffered damage to the neurons in the brain that transmit serotonin, an important biochemical involved in a variety of critical functions including learning, sleep, and integration of emotion. The results of the study indicate that recreational ecstasy users may be at risk of developing permanent brain damage that may manifest itself in depression, anxiety, memory loss, and other neuropsychotic disorders.

Research links ecstasy use to long-term damage in parts of the brain that are critical to thought and memory. One study, in primates, showed that exposure to ecstasy for a period of 4 days caused brain damage that was evident 6 to 7 years later. Brain imaging research in humans indicates that ecstasy causes injury to the brain, affecting neurons that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with other neurons. The serotonin system plays a direct role in regulating mood, aggression, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain.

Additional long term ecstasy side effects include withdrawal symptoms such as: depression, fatigue, loss of appetite and inability to concentrate. These ecstasy side effects usually last about a week. However, in some cases they may last for several months, even after a single tablet.

Ecstasy Side Effects
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