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MDMA (Ecstasy) Addiction Treatment

Millions of U.S. teens and young adults use MDMA every year. It’s a “club drug” commonly known by its users as:

  • Ecstasy
  • Molly
  • X

Though MDMA is often thought of as pretty harmless and less dangerous than other drugs, it can be psychologically addictive and contribute to short- and long-term health effects. In ecstasy rehab, Vogue Recovery Center offers evidence-based addiction treatment that addresses the reasons you misuse MDMA and teaches you new coping skills for a fulfilling life in recovery.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program

What Is MDMA?

MDMA is commonly taken orally as a powder or pill and is sometimes sniffed. It’s an illegal drug associated with the “party scene” taken primarily by teens and young adults who often refer to it as “Molly” and “ecstasy.” MDMA is sold as:

  • Crystallized powder
  • Gel caps
  • Pills
  • Salts

Powdered MDMA can be pure in form or cut with bulking agents and other chemicals such as caffeine, opiates, stimulants, or other harmful substances.
In the “rave” environment, MDMA is often used to accent the drug’s effects with music and lighting, enhancing the user’s experience. The psychostimulant effect at these clubs and festivals often leads to large consumption of MDMA by attendees, and the culture is formed around the feelings that the drug gives.
MDMA is short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a drug created from safrole oil that comes from the root bark of a sassafras plant. It’s a psychoactive drug that affects the central nervous system (CNS). When substances influence the nervous system, they can change brain functioning, altering:

  • Behavior
  • Logic
  • Reasoning
  • Emotion
  • Consciousness

When MDMA enters your brain, the neurotransmitter serotonin is released. This causes feelings of euphoria, connectivity, and general mood elevation. MDMA inhibits the natural creation of serotonin temporarily, which makes you crave more of the drug.

Where Did MDMA Come from?

MDMA’s modern use dates back to 1912. It was synthesized by Merck, a United States subsidiary of its German parent organization that was founded in the mid-1600s. The negative effects of the drug did not become apparent until the mid-1970s. Alexander Shulgin, dubbed “the godfather of psychedelics,” was an American chemist and psychopharmacologist. He developed a method for new synthesis and tested it on himself. He described the effects as:

  • A decrease in fears
  • An increase in compassion towards others
  • Feelings of euphoria

MDMA became a prescribed medication for people in therapy throughout the 1970s and ‘80s. That stopped in 1985 when the recreational illegal misuse of the drug led the federal government to classify it as one of the most dangerous substances alongside heroin and LSD. Since then, studies have shown otherwise, claiming that MDMA is one of the least harmful drugs, though it’s classified under Schedule I status. Research around its potential benefits in therapy is ongoing.

The Effects of MDMA

Ecstasy abuse sometimes goes hand-in-hand with rave and concertgoers who want to decrease inhibitions and heighten their sensual experiences. Other users say they use MDMA to increase insight while meditating or to obtain a closer relation to the collective consciousness or a power greater than themselves.

When MDMA is used with other drugs, it is referred to as “candy-flipping” or “candy swap.” Some of these drugs include LSD and other hallucinogens, like peyote and psilocybin mushrooms, and Ketamine (Special K), a drug developed as an equine tranquilizer.

MDMA is continuing to be tested in psychotherapeutic studies for purposes like treating clients with certain mental conditions. If MDMA proves to be effective in treating conditions like PTSD, it may become a legal substance again. This would increase the manufacturing of it and make it legal to be prescribed as a short-term positive effective drug. These trials haven’t been conclusive yet.

As with other substances, everyone reacts differently to MDMA. Some reasons people return to MDMA are the immediate positive effects they feel. These can include:

  • Elevated mood
  • More comfortable in social situations
  • Euphoria
  • Feelings of connectivity with others
  • Joy
  • Increased compassion and empathy
  • Increased energy levels
  • Increase of senses and pleasure response to senses

Short-Term Effects of MDMA

MDMA can cause a number of unwanted short and long-term effects. A single dose of MDMA can prove toxic and create adverse reactions, though most negative effects come from long-term use. MDMA may cause dehydration, low sodium levels, and hyperthermia after using it for a short amount of time. Under some circumstances these effects can be life-threatening.

Other short-term effects of MDMA can include:

  • Teeth clenching
  • Sleep disorders
  • Loss of appetite
  • Digestive issues
  • Hyperactivity
  • Sweating
  • Erectile dysfunction

Some negative effects can last for up to a week after mild to moderate use of MDMA. These include:

  • Lockjaw (Trismus)
  • Lack of sleep/insomnia
  • Moderate to severe fatigue
  • Increased anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood fluctuations
  • Impulsive thinking
  • Boredom and restlessness
  • Memory challenges

Long-Term Effects of MDMA

Research is inconclusive on the long-term effects of regular MDMA use. Some evidence shows adverse reactions in people who use large doses for an extended period. Moderate users are considered people who have consumed less than 100 tablets in their life. Higher-risk users are considered those who have used more than 100 tablets. Regular, high-dose users have shown some brain damage and neurodegeneration in several areas of the brain. They may also experience a reduction in gray matter density. This puts you at increased risk for movement, learning, memory, and attention problems.

Long-term effects of MDMA can include:

  • Attention and focus issues
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Memory problems
  • Sleep disorders
  • Increased risk-taking and impulsiveness
  • Depression, especially between use
  • Inflammation of the central nervous system

Signs of MDMA Abuse

MDMA addiction is classified in the DSM-5 as a hallucinogen use disorder with criteria for mild, moderate, or severe. People who abuse MDMA may become psychologically dependent on it. With excessive use, they may experience physical addiction symptoms of ecstasy. People who use MDMA have been known to use other substances like alcohol or marijuana, which may cause more serious signs of addiction and abuse.
Any drug that’s taken front and center in an individual’s life can come with common addiction symptoms like:

  • Needing MDMA to function in certain situations
  • Inability to quit or cut back on MDMA use
  • Preoccupation with where you’ll get more MDMA and when you’ll use it again
  • Planning out events and experiences around MDMA use
  • Avoiding events or experiences that don’t include MDMA
  • Changes in mood and appetite
  • Neglecting responsibilities like work and school
  • Narrowing your social circle to people who use MDMA or other drugs
  • Relationship problems
  • Financial or legal problems due to MDMA use
  • Dishonesty about drug use or situations tied to drug use
  • Continuing to use MDMA despite negative consequences

How Do You Treat MDMA Addiction?

A key sign of drug addictions is continuing to use a substance even though it’s negatively impacting your physical or mental health, relationships, and life. Even though you may not be physically addicted to MDMA, if you’re using it in this way, you may need an intensive therapy program and medications to quit abusing it. If you’re using other substances like alcohol or other drugs as well, professional treatment in ecstasy rehab is even more important.

Types of treatment for MDMA addiction may include:

MDMA Detox

One of the most predominant withdrawal symptoms of MDMA is depression, which can last up to a week after the last use. You may also experience anxiety and some memory loss that can increase both anxiety and depression. Whether you need detox depends on how much and how long you’ve used MDMA and if you’re using alcohol or other drugs as well.

Your body can build up a tolerance to MDMA. That’s why it should not be used on a regular basis. Since it releases a large amount of serotonin, it can take your brain weeks or months to replenish serotonin levels naturally after taking MDMA. If you use the drug more than once every three months, withdrawal symptoms like depression can become especially severe. MDMA may not be as dangerous as other drugs like cocaine, alcohol, or opiates, but it can lead to complications and psychological difficulties. Along with severe depression, MDMA withdrawal and detox may include:

  • High levels of anxiety
  • Decreased appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Aggression
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy

Ecstasy withdrawal usually doesn’t require medical detox unless you’re using it with other substances. Instead, medical staff at an addiction treatment center will help you manage withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, and depression while you begin addiction treatment. Some medications may be prescribed as clinically appropriate to help stabilize mood, ease insomnia, and reduce anxiety during drug detox.

Inpatient Treatment

Many people need time and space away from life’s usual triggers to begin their recovery. Residential inpatient treatment at a drug rehab center provides a high level of structure and support. You’ll live in residences with other clients in treatment. Usually, these are similar to comfortable dorm rooms or apartments depending on the treatment center. You attend individual and group therapy during the day and participate in recovery activities at night.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

Partial hospitalization programs usually provide the same day programming as residential treatment, but you live at home. Some people in ecstasy rehab partial hospitalization programs choose to stay at a sober living facility, where there is more support and fewer triggers than a home environment may offer.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

People typically enter an intensive outpatient program from residential treatment or partial hospitalization. An IOP is a significant step back into life outside of a treatment setting. These programs usually have day or evening hours and meet for a few hours at a time so you can work around your work, school, or home responsibilities.

Outpatient Treatment

The final level of care in a professional treatment program is outpatient treatment. At this point, you are feeling more confident in your sobriety, and you’re fully emerged back into school, work, or other responsibilities. Outpatient treatment for ecstasy rehab is one to three hours a week. It provides a weekly check-in point for you to discuss triggers and get peer and professional support. After outpatient treatment, you can support your recovery by participating in 12-step groups and your treatment center’s alumni program.

Treatment Approaches

Certain treatment methods are shown to be effective for people with addiction and co-occurring disorders. Some of these substance abuse treatment methods include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy program
  • Relapse prevention treatment
  • Medication management for mental health disorders
  • Therapies that address trauma, like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Ongoing addiction resources, like 12-step groups

Approaches that can complement these evidence-based treatments often include:

  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness
  • Fitness

MDMA Addiction Treatment at Vogue

Vogue Recovery Center provides expert psychotherapy and a multidisciplinary approach for a customized, goal-oriented treatment experience. We draw on the science of addiction medicine and holistic approaches, so treatment is effective and engaging. Our treatment approach addresses the physical, mental, and spiritual effects of addiction. Our home-like environments and welcoming staff offer an abundance of comfort and a clear path to restoration.
We start with physical and mental health assessments and gatherinformation about:

  • Family history
  • Traumatic life events
  • Unique stress factors
  • Relationship challenges
  • Individual patterns

This helps us develop an ecstasy treatment plan that meets your needs. Our drug rehabilitation programs include individual therapy and group therapy, as well as co-occurring disorders treatment. Vogue’s therapists are highly trained addiction professionals who help you address the root causes of alcohol and drug abuse. These often include challenges like:

  • Trauma
  • Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder
  • Dysfunctional relationships in childhood
  • Socioeconomic factors
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Chronic stress
  • Grief and loss

When you understand the reasons why you’re using drugs and alcohol to cope, you can begin to do the work of addiction recovery. We’ll help you address these underlying issues, recognize your strengths, and gain the coping skills to maintain sobriety when you leave us.

Does Insurance Cover Ecstasy Rehab?

Most major insurances include coverage for behavioral health and substance abuse treatment. This may mean time in an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility, or some other form of outpatient care. Insurance may pay for drug or alcohol addiction treatment partially or in full. Some insurances require you meet a deductible before they pay for treatment fully or partially. If you need help navigating the complexities of insurance coverage for MDMA treatment, our admissions team can help. We offer complimentary insurance verification and work directly with your provider to determine out-of-pocket costs.

Looking for Help?

Recovery is hard work, but it’s worth it. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to ecstasy, contact us. We can help.

Vogue Recovery Centers offers comprehensive care for addictions and co-occurring mental health disorders. In addition to ecstasy treatment, we offer:

  • Meth addiction treatment
  • Heroin addiction treatment
  • Alcohol addiction treatment
  • Cocaine addiction treatment
  • Benzo addiction treatment
  • Marijuana addiction treatment
  • Opioid and prescription drug addiction treatment
  • Dual diagnosis treatment

Vogue Recovery Center has helped thousands of clients recover from addiction. Life is better in recovery. Don’t wait another day to get help.

References

  1. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/mdma-ecstasy-abuse/what-is-the-history-of-mdma
  2. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/mdma-ecstasymolly
  3. https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Psychiatrists/Practice/DSM/ICD10-Changes-Listed-by-DSM5-October-2017.pdf
  4. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/mdma-ecstasy-abuse/what-are-mdmas-effects-on-brain
  5. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/mdma-ecstasy-abuse/what-are-effects-mdma
  6. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/mdma-ecstasy-abuse/what-are-mdmas-effects-on-brain
  7. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00138/full

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