MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, is an psychoactive drug that acts primarily on the central nervous system where it alters brain function that results in changes in mood, perception, consciousness and behavior.
Ecstasy is valued as a recreational drug for its tendency to induce a sense of intimacy with others along with diminished feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression.
MDMA is one of the most widely used recreational drugs in the world and is taken in a variety of contexts far removed from its roots in psychotherapeutic settings. It’s most common association is with large electronic music dance parties known as “raves.” MDMA is criminalized in most countries in the world and its possession, manufacture and sale is subject to arrest and prosecution.
There is some controversy within scientific, health care, and drug policy circles about the risks of MDMA, specifically regarding possible neurotoxic damage to the brain.
Before it was made a controlled substance, MDMA was used as an augmentation to psychotherapy, often couples therapy, and to help treat clinical depression and anxiety disorders. Clinical trials are now testing the therapeutic potential of MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety associated with terminal cancer.
MDMA is occasionally known for being taken in conjunction with a number of substances including psychedelic drugs, such as LSD (“candy flipping”) or psilocybin mushrooms (“hippy flipping”), or even common drugs such as marijuana. It has also been combined with ketamine (“kitty flipping”) and some even take mentholated products such as menthol cigarettes and lozenges after taking Ecstasy for their cooling sensation while experiencing the drug’s effects . This can have a harmful result on the upper respiratory tract.
A number of treatment options are available to treat Ecstasy dependence, usually involving detoxification, counseling, and behavior modification.
While abstinence may be a suitable management plan for those who have only used MDMA for the short term, it is not recommended or long-term users. Those who have used Ecstasy for a prolonged period can experience severe withdrawal symptoms, which can lead to serious medical complications including cardiovascular problems.