Even though ecstasy (MDMA) is a widely sought after recreational drug among many young people today, it isn't as pleasant as the name implies for everyone that's experimented with the man-made party drug. In spite of the dangers and possible long term effects, many young people feel ecstasy is a safe drug compared to crack, heroin and other street drugs.
Ecstasy isn't a drug that most young people abuse on a daily basis, but it is what many users consider a 'harmless drug' that's often used recreationally while hanging out with friends, attending clubs or while partying.
Many users describe their experience under the influence of ecstasy as an unbelievably exciting inexpensive high that can last for up to four hours or so. Some people continue to use small doses of the drug throughout the night to keep a level of high ongoing while others prefer to take larger quantities of the drug at one time. Ecstasy is described by some users as 'amazing', 'Christmas morning in pill form' or the 'love drug'.
When a person is under the influence of ecstasy they may feel exhilarated and euphoric, have an extreme amount of energy, they're much less timid and shy and feel emotionally warm and fuzzy all over. If a person's first experience with ecstasy is overwhelmingly happy and euphoric without a care in the world, they may view the drug as harmless and exhilarating and can't wait to experience the feelings again. Because ecstasy may be less addictive than other drugs of abuse, many young people feel the drug is safer in spite of the potential dangers and negative side effects they hear about.
The Bad Side of Ecstasy
There are plenty of side effects associated with the use of ecstasy and not everyone that uses the drug experiences extreme forms of pleasure either. Some people feel the negative side effects of ecstasy immediately and experience anxiousness and agitation right away and may even feel dizzy and faint. Dehydration and overheating are serious risks a person takes when they use ecstasy. Ecstasy use can cause a person's body temperature to increase which is dangerous and can lead to dehydration very quickly.
A common party scene where a lot of young people use ecstasy is in clubs where they're able to dance and move all night long without wearing down, the effects of the drug especially when use is repeated, can keep a person going for hours on end. Ecstasy use can affect a person's body temperature from regulating properly though. Overheating and dehydration is very serious and if the level of dehydration is high enough, it can be fatal which has been responsible for many casualties associated with ecstasy use.
Other negative effects associated with the use of ecstasy include depression, anxiety and sadness which can last sometimes for days with some people. Muscle tension is another negative side effect that a lot of people experience from ecstasy use. A lot of ecstasy users chew on pacifiers as a way of relieving tension because one of the common effects associated with the drug's use, is clenching of the teeth.
The Dangerous Side of Ecstasy
Besides the possibility of addiction and overdose, ecstasy can cause recklessness, increased blood pressure, heat stroke cramping of the muscles, blurry vision, hyperthermia, heart failure and kidney failure. Memory loss is also a possibility among people who regularly use ecstasy according to research.
Thousands of people attending raves have died from taking ecstasy for various reasons including severe hydration. According to the 2001 Dawn Report, emergency department visits that involved ecstasy had greatly increased 74.8%, from 2004 to 2008. Ecstasy is especially dangerous because you can never be too sure what chemicals have been combined in the specific drug a person is taking.
Often time's ecstasy is laced with toxic chemicals such as PMMA which users are unaware of and they die after taking the drug. Nationalpost.com ran an article in January of this year about tainted ecstasy being linked to 12 deaths.
Ecstasy and Possibility of Therapeutic Treatment for PTSD
There's been a lot of coverage on the web about ecstasy and the effect the drug may have on individuals suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. To understand more on the "experimental use of Ecstasy" for treating PTSD, CNN ran a very good series on the subject I found very informative and educational.