Abuse of Ecstasy (MDMA)

Head | Emergency Medicine | Abuse of Ecstasy (MDMA) (Disease)


MDMA, also known as ecstasy is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that is chemically similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline.

Causes and Risk factors

MDMA produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth, and distortions in time, perception, and tactile experiences. MDMA is taken orally, usually as a capsule or tablet. MDMA can produce confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, and severe anxiety.

In addition, chronic users of MDMA perform more poorly than nonusers on certain types of cognitive or memory tasks, although some of these effects may be due to the use of other drugs in combination with MDMA. MDMA can also be dangerous to overall health and, on rare occasions, lethal. These include increases in heart rate and blood pressure - which present risks of particular concern for people with circulatory problems or heart disease - and other symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, and chills or sweating. In high doses, MDMA can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature.

Diagnosis and Treatment

There are no specific treatments for MDMA abuse and addiction. The most effective treatments for drug abuse and addiction in general are cognitive-behavioral interventions that are designed to help modify the patient’s thinking, expectancies, and behaviors related to their drug use and to increase skills in coping with life stressors. ...