MDMA, or Molly, E, ecstasy or X as it’s commonly referred, is a powerful psychedelic drug known for producing intense states of euphoria as well as a general calm and openness in its users that lasts for 3-4 hours.
While the drug has shown some medicinal benefit in previous studies, healthcare professionals in the United States are not currently using it to treat or prevent any disease or condition due to a ban by the United States government. As such, it’s treated as a Schedule I narcotic and is highly illegal.
The long-term effects of the drug are still being studied, but over the short term it has shown to produce heightened states of anxiety and depression upon cessation of use, or as the user is “coming down.” This is a term that is commonly known as “Suicide Tuesday” in reference from the partying over the weekend (while using ecstasy), the hangover on Monday and then the depleted states of serotonin that lead to depressive behavior in the following days. In fact, the number of suicide attempts by those coming down from MDMA doses has been shown to be significant in the days subsequent to ingestion when compared to non-users.
Current Ecstasy Trends
Although there is a lot we don’t understand about MDMA, that doesn’t mean that young adults are shying away from it.
According to statistics published in a paper paid for by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, MDMA use seems to be largely cyclical. That is to say a few years of increasing use, followed by a year or two of decreased use, a stabilization period, and then another growth period. We’re currently in a growth period, as regular ecstasy use has increased every year since 2013.
We have seen a large spike in adolescent (ages 12-17) ecstasy use from 1999 to 2002, followed by a decrease from 2002 to 2005, a slight rise from 2005 to 2008, mostly stable numbers from 2008 to 2010, then a slight decrease between 2010 and 2013, and that leads us to our current spike in use.
Pop Culture Influence on MDMA Use
The current trends for the cyclical nature of ecstasy use are largely to be pop culture-influenced. While not studied extensively, an interesting correlation between the use of the terms associated with MDMA in a popular song or television show led to increased web traffic for weeks and months after. Now, causation does not equal correlation, so it is difficult to say with 100-percent certainty that this is the cause of the peaks and valleys of ecstasy use, but it is a growing trend with many more pop-culture references.
Dangers of Ecstasy Use
Although the usage patterns change, the dangers do not. Ecstasy is known to cause dehydration, nausea, chills, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, muscle cramps, blurred vision, dangerously high core body temperatures, high blood pressure, heart failure, kidney failure and arrhythmia; and that’s just while you’re using it.
The biggest dangers post-use, or during the comedown period, are largely related to the decreased levels of serotonin after un-natural spikes (which cause the euphoria) after taking the drug. These serotonin levels can lead to depressive behavior, anxiety, and even suicide.
If you or a loved one is addicted to ecstasy, contact the professionals at Prescott House today to find out how we help young men overcome their addictions and live a productive life of sobriety.