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Ecstasy is the common name for the illegal synthetic drug called methylenedioxymethamphetamine MDMA. It is classified as an empathogen, which means it increases feelings of empathy and compassion towards others. Ecstasy is commonly used as a mood enhancer at parties and nightclubs. In high doses, ecstasy can cause seizures and vomiting or may contribute to death.
Ecstasy is usually swallowed as a tablet, but can come in powder form. Pills are usually different colours and have pictures or logos stamped on them. The effects of ecstasy are usually felt about 20 minutes to an hour after it is taken and last for around hours. The comedown or return to normal as the drug leaves the body may last one to two days or up to a week. MDMA was originally developed in Germany.
Today, ecstasy is generally made in illegal laboratories, which means the person taking it has no idea if the dose will be strong or weak, or even if it will contain any MDMA at all. It is possible for pills sold as ecstasy tablets to contain little or no MDMA. Ecstasy usually comes as pills capsules or tablets , but can come as a powder or crystal. Most people take pills, but some may snort inhaled through the nose , smoke or inject ecstasy. When we are stressed or under threat, the central nervous system readies us for physical action and our bodies react in response.
This may include the release of adrenalin and other stress hormones. Key functions like heart rate and blood pressure may increase, redirecting blood flow into the muscles and away from the gut. As a nervous system stimulant, ecstasy works by prompting the brain to initiate this 'fight or flight' response and the user feels refreshed by a burst of energy. Ecstasy is renowned for the feelings of peace and love it invokes.
This could be caused by an elevation in brain chemicals, or neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. People with certain conditions — such as epilepsy , high blood pressure , heart disease , diabetes , kidney disease or mood or psychiatric disorders — are at greater risk of harm if they take ecstasy. Ecstasy can be dangerous if it is mixed with other drugs including alcohol , cocaine , amphetamines , ice and some prescription medications such as antidepressants.
In addition to these symptoms, people who take ecstasy in large or strong doses, may experience further effects such as:. Symptoms may last a few days and include:. If the strength of the dose is high or if ecstasy is taken in large amounts, it can cause bad reactions or overdose. s to watch include:. If you suspect an overdose or severe reaction while using ecstasy, dial triple zero to call an ambulance immediately. Don't delay because you think you might get into trouble. Ambulance officers are not obliged to call the police. Stay with the person until the ambulance arrives.
Tell the ambulance officers as much as you can about what drugs were taken, when they were taken and whether the person has a medical condition. There has been little research on the long-term effects of taking ecstasy. Studies suggest that problems may include:. It is unknown whether ecstasy is a drug of addiction. Many users say that it is hard to stop taking the drug and may indicate that it is possible to become psychologically dependent.
Like many other drugs, someone can build up a tolerance to ecstasy. This means they need to take larger and larger doses to try and achieve the same effect. However, this also tends to increase the intensity of unpleasant side effects.
The drug known as 'liquid ecstasy' is a different drug to ecstasy. In recent years, synthetic products, claiming to have similar effects to ecstasy, have also been available in Australia. The active ingredient in these products can include chemicals — such as benzylpiperazine BZP , mephedrone or methylenedioxypyrovalerone MDPV , but it is difficult to know what exactly they contain. Treatment options for drug use include:. See your doctor for information and referral or contact an alcohol and other drug service in your area. This has been produced in consultation with and approved by:.
Asking for help when you first suspect you have an alcohol or drug problem is important. If you think you have an addiction, speak to your local doctor or phone DirectLine. The size of a standard drink can vary according to the type of alcohol. Amphetamines are psychostimulant drugs that speed up the workings of the brain. Prolonged misuse of steroids can cause liver damage and severe mood swings. Benzodiazepines tranquillisers are highly addictive and should only be used for certain conditions in a short-term or emergency situation.
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The State of Victoria and the Department of Health shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website. Home Drugs. Ecstasy MDMA. Actions for this Listen Print. Summary Read the full fact sheet. On this . What is ecstasy MDMA? How ecstasy MDMA works When we are stressed or under threat, the central nervous system readies us for physical action and our bodies react in response. Ecstasy can distort your experience of reality by influencing perceptions of sight and sound.
Risks of ecstasy MDMA People with certain conditions — such as epilepsy , high blood pressure , heart disease , diabetes , kidney disease or mood or psychiatric disorders — are at greater risk of harm if they take ecstasy. How ecstasy MDMA affects the body The effects of ecstasy can vary from person to person and depend on factors such as: the amount and strength of the dose your physical make-up and state of mind how you respond to the drug for example, a first-time user may experience different effects to someone who has used it before whether it has been mixed with other drugs.
Generally, effects begin around 20 minutes and will last around hours. They may include: euphoria and feeling energetic and confident accelerated heart rate and breathing rise in blood pressure sweating and dehydration nausea jaw clenching and teeth grinding tingling skin and muscle aches and pains dilated pupils loss of appetite heightened senses sleep problems feeling affectionate and an increased sex drive libido loss of inhibitions excessive thirst — drinking large amounts of water can result in death. In addition to these symptoms, people who take ecstasy in large or strong doses, may experience further effects such as: changes in perception such as hallucinations irrational behaviour that seems out of character — aggression, paranoia anxiety and irritability vomiting.
Symptoms may last a few days and include: sleep problems and fatigue aching muscles anxiety, agitation, depression trouble concentrating. Symptoms of ecstasy MDMA overdose If the strength of the dose is high or if ecstasy is taken in large amounts, it can cause bad reactions or overdose. Ecstasy use can lead to serious harm or death Ecstasy may also contribute to serious harm, including: cardiac arrest stroke kidney failure overheating hyperthermia and dehydration dilutional hyponatremia — when the user 'drowns' their brain by drinking too much water.
In an emergency, call for help If you suspect an overdose or severe reaction while using ecstasy, dial triple zero to call an ambulance immediately. Long-term effects of ecstasy MDMA There has been little research on the long-term effects of taking ecstasy. Studies suggest that problems may include: permanent damage to the brain cells that make the neurotransmitter serotonin — which is involved in mood regulation, body temperature, appetite and sex drive liver damage memory and concentration problems colds or flu depression risk of HIV , hepatitis , blood poisoning or skin abscesses — if ecstasy is injected using shared needles risk of unprotected sex , which increases the chance of contracting sexually transmissible infections STIs increased need to use other drugs such as benzodiazepines , alcohol or cannabis to balance the side effects of ecstasy.
Ecstasy dependence, tolerance and withdrawal It is unknown whether ecstasy is a drug of addiction. Unlike ecstasy, GHB is a depressant that has sedative and anaesthetic effects. Synthetic ecstasy In recent years, synthetic products, claiming to have similar effects to ecstasy, have also been available in Australia. As a result, synthetic ecstasy effects can be unpredictable and more harmful than ecstasy.
Treatment for ecstasy MDMA misuse Treatment options for drug use include: detoxification individual counselling group therapy. Peer support — or talking to someone who has been in the same situation — can also be helpful. Penalties apply under federal and state laws for anyone who: uses or keeps it in their possession supplies or sells it to another person this includes without their consent — such as drink spiking drives under its influence. Family Drug Support Tel. Give feedback about this . Was this helpful? Yes No. View all drugs. Related information. Support groups Family Drug Help.
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Ecstasy Summary of Harmful Effects