Addiction A-Z

MDMA (Methylenedioxyamphetamine)

MDMA stands for 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, the chemical name for a recreational street drug commonly known Ecstasy. Ecstasy was extremely popular in the mid-1990s at “rave” parties among people ages 14 to 30 years old who took the drug to induce feelings of warmth and love while dancing to “rave” music. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were 869,000 first-time users of the drug within the past year. MDMA is the second most widely abused street drug, ranking after heroin and before cocaine, LSD, and marijuana. Ecstasy provides both stimulant and psychedelic effects that last three to six hours. As heart rates, blood pressure and body temperatures rise, users feel energized.

mdmaPsychological effects are mental stimulation, decreased anxiety, emotional warmth, empathy toward others and an increased sense of well-being. But Ecstasy also has negative effects that can appear up to a week after using it, such as anxiety, sadness, restlessness, sleep problems, impulsivity, thirst, aggression, decreased interest in sex, and reduced cognitive ability. Long-term Ecstasy users may experience major personality changes. Some as-yet inconclusive research indicates that in humans, long-term Ecstasy use is linked to brain changes in cognition, emotion, and motor function. The most common Ecstasy danger is overheating, which can result in death. Other users have died from brain blood clots. Some MDMA users experience nausea, chills, sweating, involuntary teeth clenching, muscle cramping, and blurred vision. Ecstasy overdose symptoms include high blood pressure, faintness, panic attacks, and even loss of consciousness and seizures. Medical emergency treatment may be required after using the drug in combination with alcohol, marijuana or cocaine. Psychological dependence can develop. The U.S. government classifies MDMA as Schedule I Controlled Substance.

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