In 2014, experts found that over 17 million people aged 12 or older used ecstasy at least once. That represents a 6 million increase from the 11 million who used the drug in 2004.
Ecstasy is the more popular name for the substance called MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine). Other common terms for this illicit Schedule I substance include “E”, “X”, and “Molly”.
Ecstasy brings both hallucinogenic and stimulant effects. It can distort one’s perception of time and stimulate sexual arousal. It makes people feel euphoric and “hyper”.
This mood-altering and perception-altering drug is addictive and can even be toxic.
That said, knowing what ecstasy symptoms and warning signs are can help save lives. Granted, no official reports on ecstasy deaths exist. But a study estimated 50 deaths happen yearly.
As such, if you suspect a loved one uses or abuses it, a drug intervention may already be in order.
Symptoms of Addiction to Ecstasy
Not everyone who takes ecstasy will develop an addiction to it. But anyone who takes it is at great risk for psychological and physical addiction.
In fact, a study found that up to 43% of young users fit ecstasy dependence criteria. 34% also met the drug’s abuse criteria.
Ecstasy addiction occurs when people keep using it to induce its effects. They repeatedly take the drug to feel the excitement and euphoria it causes. They’re addicted to the drug’s ability to boost energy levels and self-esteem.
That said, ecstasy addicts continue to use it even with the knowledge of its dangers.
Ecstasy symptoms of addiction can be difficult to pinpoint, as many often use it with other drugs. But there are some signs of the drug’s use that can give away a person’s addiction. These include:
Unusual High Level of Energy
Ecstasy’s stimulant effects cause users to have excessive energy levels. This can then lead to users being awake for long periods of time. The stimulation can also make them very – even abnormally – friendly and emphatic.
The “rush” and other effects of ecstasy use make people crave for their next dose. To many addicts, the wait can be too much to bear. So, they end up foregoing some of their responsibilities to satiate their cravings.
Hanging Out with a New Crowd
People with addiction to ecstasy often leave their old friends who aren’t into it. They then replace their old friends with a new set of people — those who use or sell the drug.
Warning Signs a Loved One May Be Abusing Ecstasy
Ecstasy causes some chemicals in the brain to produce certain effects. These substances affect some types of emotions and sensations, including pleasure and trust. They also have something do with body functions, including hunger and sleep.
The main brain chemical ecstasy affects is serotonin. The drug prompts the brain to produce higher levels of it. It’s for this reason that ecstasy use heightens feelings, emotions, and sensations.
But repeated use makes the body tolerant of the drug. This tolerance then makes it more difficult to achieve the effects with the same dose. As such, users have to keep increasing their dose to feel the same level of “happiness” they did before.
This signals the beginning of ecstasy abuse.
That said, failing to achieve these effects leads to withdrawal symptoms like depression. If users felt at ease and less anxious before the abusive behavior, they’ll now feel more worried. They may also become confused and display poor memory.
Is My Child Using Ecstasy?
A common sign of ecstasy use in children, especially teens, is a sudden change in their group of friends. As mentioned above, the “old crowd” can be their friends who don’t use the drug. They discourage its use, which is why your child no longer wants to be in their company.
Instead, you’ll notice that they now meet with strange or party-going people. They start going to more parties at night and coming home very late or in the wee hours of the morning. They may also start to avoid family get-togethers, where they won’t have access to the drug.
Your child may also begin doing badly in school exams and quizzes. You’ll start getting calls from school faculty members. These reports may be about your child’s academics or erratic behavior while in school.
Physical signs of ecstasy use include teeth clenching and constant complaints of thirst. Impulsiveness is also a telling sign. Your child may start displaying risky behavior, like sudden interest in extreme sports.
Note though that a sudden and huge increase in showing affection and love is also a telling sign. You may also notice an unusual level of happiness in them. These may sound pleasant, but anything that’s “weird and excessive” isn’t a good thing.
Is My Parent Using Ecstasy?
The physical signs of ecstasy abuse in adults are almost the same as in children. In the case of parents abusing the drugs though, certain symptoms can arise.
For instance, you may have noticed your mom or dad hanging out with people you’ve never met. You also don’t see your parents’ good, old friends anymore. They may also keep asking you to go to family events without them because they’re “busy”.
They may also go out late at night and come home still full of energy. Although they can become more loving and affectionate, they can also be quick to burst in anger.
If your parents use ecstasy, you may hear a lot of complaints about muscle pains and fatigue. They may have display confusion and forgetfulness. For example, they forget about parent meetings in school or mix up important dates.
Intervention for Ecstasy Abuse
It’s vital to respond promptly when a loved one shows ecstasy symptoms and warning signs. Not only because the effects of the drug’s use and abuse are a health danger. But also because they make people more vulnerable to predatory and dangerous people.
One of the best ways to help a loved one with ecstasy addiction is arranging an intervention. It’s the first step to helping them realize that they have become addictive or abusive. It’s key to showing them that their behavior endangers their lives.
That said, an intervention specialist can help ensure proper intervention. After all, there’s a process behind this life-saving method. A specialist can help increase the chances of successful results.