MDMA is an illegal substance commonly known as a “party drug.” But what is MDMA, exactly? And what are the side effects of using the drug? Check out our guide to learn more about how the drug is taken, how it affects users, and how to get help for MDMA abuse.
What Is MDMA?
MDMA stands for methylenedioxymethamphetamine, an empathogen drug that is classified by its ability to make the user feel greater empathy or feelings of love and unity toward others.
This drug is more commonly referred to as ecstasy and is often taken at clubs, parties, raves, or other social settings.
MDMA is an illegal drug bought and sold on the streets—yet it’s important to note that some pills sold under the name of “ecstasy” may not actually contain MDMA or may only include a small amount.
MDMA Street Names
MDMA is known by many different names on the street, including:
- Love drug
- Lover’s speed
How Is MDMA Consumed?
MDMA comes in several different forms, including capsules, tablets, powder, or crystal. Pills are one of the most common forms of MDMA, and they are sometimes imprinted with a logo or symbol. However, even two pills with the same symbol may not produce the same effects and may not come from the same source.
What Type of Drug Is MDMA?
MDMA is classified as an empathogen, along with PMA, mephedrone, and ethylone. These drugs cause a release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which usually produces feelings of love and empathy within the user. Empathogen drugs are illegal and can produce dangerous side effects.
MDMA Short-Term Effects
Users of MDMA may feel short-term effects within about 45 minutes of consumption. The specific effects can vary depending on the size of the person, the strength of the drug, and whether or not the drug has been mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
Along with feelings of greater love and empathy for others, users may experience:
- Greater extroversion
- Emotional openness
- Increased sensory perception
- Dilated pupils
- Sweating and dehydration
- Increased blood pressure
- Rush of energy
- Muscle aches
- Reduced appetite
Once MDMA starts to wear off, users can feel restlessness, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, and exhaustion.
Those who take a large or extra-strong dose of MDMA may experience additional side effects, such as:
- Feeling of floating
- Mood swings, irritability, and paranoia
- Racing heartbeat
MDMA Long-Term Effects
Those who use MDMA frequently and over an extended period can experience long-term effects, including:
- Trouble sleeping
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Heart Disease
- Reduced cognitive function
Is MDMA Addictive?
Some users have reported MDMA addiction, but more research is needed to determine whether or not the drug is truly addictive. Most research shows that MDMA can cause some level of addiction, but not to the level of many other drugs.
Still, MDMA addiction is possible, and extended use presents several psychological and physical risks. MDMA addiction or use disorder is generally determined if a user wants to stop using the drug but feels they cannot. These users may have developed a dependence on the drug, causing various physical and emotional effects.
MDMA Withdrawal Symptoms
Whether a person takes MDMA once or is a frequent user, the drug can cause several withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can increase in intensity with higher or stronger doses. Some users may take MDMA more often to avoid withdrawal symptoms, which continues the cycle.
Possible MDMA withdrawal symptoms include:
- Craving the drug (or other drugs)
- Trouble focusing
- Memory difficulties
- Panic attacks
- Kidney complications
MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD
Dr. Stephen Ross, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine has been conducting clinical trials on psychedelic-assisted therapy, including MDMA. He says, “In the next three to five years, psychiatry is going to be profoundly altered” with the help of these drugs.
Potentially, this is good news for people suffering from PTSD due to experiencing trauma from war or sexual abuse. The hypothesis being tested is that MDMA, with the assistance of a qualified psychotherapist, can bring relief to PTSD patients by bringing to light their intense emotional pain from deep within. Once-forgotten or upsetting memories and connections deep within the brain are brought to the surface, which is where the healing process begins.
This intense psychotherapy approach is currently in its third stage of study and FDA approval, so PTSD patients may be able to access relief through MDMA-assisted therapy in the next couple of years.
Get Help with MDMA Drug Abuse
Though research about MDMA addiction is not definitive, many people may struggle with MDMA abuse and the long-term effects of the drug. If you or someone you know is seeking treatment for any type of drug abuse, Pinnacle Treatment Centers can help.
We understand that overcoming addiction can be challenging, and we offer an empathetic approach to help our patients create a new and vibrant future. Contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment program.