“Ecstasy” is a slang term for MDMA, short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a name that’s nearly as long as the all-night parties where MDMA is often used. That’s why MDMA has been called a “club drug.” It has effects similar to those of other stimulants, and it often makes the user feel like everyone is his or her friend, even when that’s not the case.
MDMA is man-made—it doesn’t come from a plant like marijuana does. Other chemicals or substances—such as caffeine, dextromethorphan (found in some cough syrups), amphetamines, PCP, or cocaine—are sometimes added to, or substituted for, MDMA in Ecstasy tablets. Makers of MDMA can add anything they want to the drug, so its purity is always in question.
Like other drugs, MDMA can be addictive for some people. That is, people continue to take the drug despite experiencing unpleasant physical side effects and other social, behavioral, and health consequences.
No one knows how many times a person can use a drug before becoming addicted or who’s most vulnerable to addiction. A person’s genes, living environment, and other factors play a role in whether they are likely to become addicted to MDMA
In general, NIDA-supported research shows that abuse of any drug, including MDMA, can cause serious health problems and, in some instances, even death. Many drug abusers take combinations of drugs, including alcohol, which may further increase their risk.
MDMA users can also become dehydrated through vigorous activity in a hot environment. It may not seem like a big deal, but when MDMA interferes with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature, it can cause dangerous overheating, called hyperthermia. This, in turn, can lead to serious heart and kidney problems—or, rarely, death. MDMA can be extremely dangerous in high doses or when multiple small doses are taken within a short time period to maintain the high. High levels of the drug in the blood stream can increase the risk of hyperthermia, seizures, and the ability of the heart to maintain its normal rhythms.
We have intense programs for a drug addiction to ecstasy. Since 1972, the renowned Clearbrook Treatment Centers have been providing effective treatment programs for adults and adolescents who suffer from alcoholism and/or chemical dependency.