Why Do People Take Ecstasy?

Why Do People Take Ecstasy
Category: addiction, recovery

What is Ecstasy?

Ecstasy, also known as MDMA or molly, is a mind-altering drug that affects a person’s perception of reality. It has a similar structure to stimulants and hallucinogens, so taking the drug can change a person’s level of energy and often distorts a person’s sense of time and space. When taking the drug, people tend to see and hear things that are not really there. This can create fear and anxiety within a person as they are unable to differentiate between their hallucinations and the world around them.

Ecstasy comes mostly in pill form, but there are some liquid and powder versions of the drug that people use. The most common form, though, is either a capsule or a tablet. Ecstasy was popularized by the nightclub and “rave” scenes and is commonplace at music festivals and concerts as well. The U.S. Government classifies ecstasy as a Schedule I substance, meaning there is no medical benefit to taking the drug, and it carries with it a high potential for abuse.

What are the Effects of Ecstasy?

When a person takes ecstasy, they will experience an increase in three chemicals: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. You’ve likely heard of serotonin and dopamine and how those affect our mood on a daily basis, but similar to the fact that too little of these chemicals can affect our well-being, too much of these cause a negative effect as well. 

Serotonin regulates our mood and is most commonly discussed in reference to symptoms of depression. A person whose brain is either not producing enough serotonin or whose serotonin receptors are not functioning correctly, will likely be placed on a medication to help increase serotonin in the brain. However, when a person adds too much serotonin to their brain chemistry, they can experience negative effects as well including: 

  • An altered sense of time and space
  • Increased alertness leading to feeling “on edge”
  • High levels of energy
  • A heightened sense of emotional closeness which can lead to a dangerous level of trust towards strangers

Dopamine is most notably connected to our feelings of pleasure and the regulation of emotions. Dopamine is designed to let our body know when something is a positive experience, and you’ve likely noticed an increase in this chemical after a positive interaction with someone. This could include making a new connection with another person, a compliment from your boss, or hearing someone say “I love you” for the first time. Feelings created by dopamine are meant to indicate when something good is happening, but too much dopamine can also have a negative effect. High levels of dopamine over an extended period of time can lead to dependence on the substance providing the neurotransmitter and subsequent addiction.

Norepinephrine increases heart rate and blood pressure which can be deadly especially for those who have heart conditions or other preexisting health concerns. So with all these risks in mind, why does a person take ecstasy?

Why Do People Take Ecstasy?

Despite the number of dangers with the substance, ecstasy can provide temporary feelings of pleasure and an increase in energy. These effects don’t last long, though, so people are often left craving that feeling and continue to take ecstasy in hopes of recreating the initial pleasurable feelings. They will take the drug in higher doses and more frequently chasing this “high” and, ultimately, can become addicted to the substance. 

Help for Those Addicted to Party Drugs

Any person who is addicted to a substance, such as ecstasy, requires a professional level of care. This often includes a detoxification process, intensive therapy, and rehabilitation program. If you or someone you love are addicted to drugs of any kind, our team at HVRC can help. Our nationally-recognized medical team provides you with the best possible care for your addiction. Contact us today for a free consultation.