Once used mainly as a party drug, MDMA, or ecstasy, is now one of the easiest illegal drugs to obtain, but taking ecstasy has serious health risks. The impurities found in MDMA, the side effects associated with it, and the risk of addiction make ecstasy one of the most dangerous drugs available.
There are many dangerous side effects associated with ecstasy use. The common practice of taking more than one dose in sequence to prolong its effects also increases the risk of overdose. Some of the side effects associated with MDMA use and overdose include :
- Common Side Effects
- Increased heart rate, body temperature, and/or blood pressure
- Increased confidence
- Nausea or loss of appetite
- Feelings of well-being (happiness, love)
- Effects of Overdose
- Extremely high body temperatures
- High blood pressure
- Fast Heartbeat
- Breathing problems
Some of the signs that a person may be overdosing on ecstasy include feeling hot without sweating, becoming confused or unable to speak properly, and a racing pulse while sitting still. In addition they may complain of a headache, vomit, tremble, faint, lose control of body movements, or have problems urinating. If a person who has been using MDMA exhibits any of these symptoms, they should seek medical help immediately.
It is very easy to overdose on ecstasy because of the inconsistency in ingredients and concentrations between manufacturers. Because MDMA is illegal, it is difficult for its manufacturers to obtain the necessary ingredients so they will use substitutions in manufacturing that can cause dangerous impurities. Other psychoactive drugs known as cathinones are sometimes sold as ecstasy. Even when ecstasy pills do contain MDMA, they may also contain ephedrine, caffeine, cocaine, or methamphetamine. These added ingredients can make it hard to judge what the effects of each dose might be and compound the side effects. This increases the risk of serious injury, overdose, or death when taking ecstasy.
Although little is known about the addictive properties of MDMA, studies have shown it to be a habit forming substance. Different people report a different level of dependency associated with long term use, but many have reported experiencing cravings and withdrawals and building a tolerance when using ecstasy regularly. Using ecstasy can also increase a person’s chances to becoming addicted to other drugs. Using drugs like cocaine, ketamine, methamphetamine, and marijuana at the same time as ecstasy is a common practice and can cause a person to form a dependency one or more of these other drugs.