What is ecstasy (XTC)?
Ecstasy is MDMA, or 3, 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Ecstasy is sometimes called an “ecactogen”, meaning you feel like you can look within yourself, which produces a desire to be in contact with other people. Ecstasy is almost always swallowed as a tablet or capsule. Black market ecstasy tablets vary widely in strength, and often contain other drugs.
What are the effects of ecstasy?
Ecstasy is a mood elevator that produces a relaxed, euphoric state. It does not produce hallucinations. Ecstasy takes effect 20 to 40 minutes after taking a tablet, with little rushes of exhilaration, which can be accompanied by nausea. Sixty to 90 minutes after taking the drug, the user feels the peak effects. Sensations are enhanced and the user experiences heightened feelings of empathy, emotional warmth, and self-acceptance. The effects of ecstasy subside about 3-5 hours after use. Users report that the experience is very pleasant and highly controllable. Even at the peak of the effect, people can usually deal with important matters. The effect that makes ecstasy different from other drugs is empathy, the sensation of understanding and accepting others.
Is ecstasy addictive?
Ecstasy is not physically addictive. However, the drug can often take on great importance in people’s lives, and some people become compulsive in their use. Taken too frequently, however, ecstasy loses its special effect. Ecstasy releases the brain chemical serotonin, elevating mood and acting as a short-term antidepressant. Compulsive users may be unconsciously trying to self-medicate for depression. Effective treatments for depression are available with the proper diagnosis by a qualified physician.
What are the risks associated ecstasy?
Some people experience depression after taking ecstasy. This is caused by ecstasy’s action on certain brain chemicals. There have been some deaths associated with ecstasy. Usually these have been a result of heatstroke from dancing for long periods of time in hot clubs without replenishing lost body fluids. Much of what is sold as ecstasy on the black market actually contains other drugs, some of which can be more dangerous than ecstasy, like speed and PCP. Mixing ecstasy with alcohol or other drugs increases the risk of adverse reactions. Additionally, ecstasy is also illegal and a conviction for possession can carry long prison sentences.
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