Ecstasy & Ecstasy Rehab
What is it?
The “designer” drug known as ecstasy is also known by the chemical abbreviation “MDMA.” Addiction is only one of the problems experienced by the use of “ecstasy.” Ecstasy users experience problems similar to those experienced by amphetamine and cocaine users.
Psychological effects from MDMA use can include: confusion, depression, sleep problems, anxiety, and paranoia during, and sometimes weeks later. Muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, and chills or sweating are physical effects of using ecstasy. People with circulatory or heart disease are at a high risk because of increases in heart rate and blood pressure.
Large, all-night dance parties known as “raves” have reported MDMA related fatalities. Ecstasy use has reported an escalation among college students and young adults that have began attending these gatherings in recent years. Dehydration, huperthermia, and heart or kidney failure are a result of the ecstasy user combining hot and crowded conditions with the stimulant effect from ecstasy.
Use of MDMA is a common cause of memory problems in humans. MDMA (ecstasy) can be the cause of long-term brain injury. The Journal of Neuroscience reported research findings stating that, brain areas that are critical for thought and memory can quite possibly result in long-lasting damage from use of ecstasy.
People that take MDMA, even just a few times, are at risk of long-term and possibly even permanent, problems with cognitive learning and retention. Findings by a John Hopkins Research Team gives validation to results of previous research in which humans that had taken MDMA scored lower on memory tests. The brains integration of information and emotion depends on the serotonin system which consist of MDMA.
Nerve cells that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with other neurons are the ones damaged by the use of MDMA. Brain imaging research conducted in human MDMA users showed extensive damage to serotonin neurons.
Brain damage revealed from ecstasy use.
Euphoria and increased alertness are effects from ecstasy that are similar to those of cocaine and amphetamine. This is caused from the stimulant effect of MDMA. For the young people attending raves the drug of choice since the 1980’s is ecstasy.
Brain damage apparent in humans.
Evidence of chronic use of MDMA reveals it causes a direct connection to brain damage in people. MDMA was found to harm neurons that release serotonin, a brain chemical that plays an important role in regulating memory and other functions. In some cases of heavy MDMA use memory problems persist for two weeks after the use has stopped. The extent of damage is directly correlated with the amount of MDMA use.
There are functional consequences to the changes in the brain caused from the use of MDMA. For the young people attending these raves, which continue to be popular around the nation, this message is of a particular importance.
Assessing the effects of chronic MDMA use on the memory.
To help answer that question, a team of researches from John Hopkins and the National Institute of Mental Health conducted an imaging study to assess the effects of chronic ecstasy use on the memory. Several standardized memory test were administered to 24 MDMA users that had not used the drug for at least two weeks and then 24 people that had never used the drug. In both groups age, gender, education and vocabulary scores were matched equally.
The results showed that, heavy ecstasy users compared to nonusers had dramatic impairment in visual and verbal memory. The study proved that the harmful effects of MDMA were related to the dosage amount and the frequency of use. The people that used the drug had greater difficulty in recalling what they had seen and heard during testing.
Cognitive dysfunction appears to be permanent.
Other cognitive functions besides memory, such as the ability to reason verbally or sustain attention can be impaired from ecstasy use. The effects of chronic ecstasy use on other functions in which serotonin has been implicated, such as mood, impulse control and sleep cycles are being researched in a more in-depth process. The length of time that brain damage exists and the long term consequences of that damage are other questions researchers are trying to answer. Studies involving animals that first documented neurotoxic serotonin neurons in humans may last for many years and could be permanent.
We have learned through research using monkeys that brain damage is still present seven years after suspending use of the drug. The question of whether or not we are dealing with such long-lasting effects in people does not have a definite answer.