It is important to understand the facts about all drugs of abuse to prevent falling prey to addiction and also to help others stay off of drugs. These Ecstasy facts will describe how Ecstasy can be addictive and how its use can be very dangerous and even life threatening. Ecstasy is a mind-altering drug which can cause both hallucinogenic and amphetamine-like reactions in its users. Ecstasy is an illegal drug which is produced through a chemical process, and is therefore classified as a synthetic drug meaning that it isn't naturally occurring in nature or grown and harvested such as marijuana or opium. Ecstasy is most commonly found as tablets or pills, and will typically have some sort of imprint that will identify its origin, i.e. who manufactured it and/or distributed it.
Ecstasy isn't hard to come by, and is a popular drug or choice among youth and young adults of all backgrounds and ethnicities, and is typically used as a "party" or "club" drug. Ecstasy was first introduced to the party scene in the 1980's, when youth who attended raves and partook in the club scene discovered its powerful hallucinogenic and energy boosting effects. Just one Ecstasy pill can cause a high which lasts anywhere from three to six hours. Once someone takes the drug, they feel a boost in energy which makes it a perfect drug of choice for part-goers who will typically take the drug so they can dance and party for hours on end. Due to its hallucinogenic properties, Ecstasy users also experience a sense of emotional warmth and may lose track of time and have different changes in perception such as enhanced tactile experiences. The enhanced tactile experience when using Ecstasy is why it is also commonly referred to as the "love drug".
On the flip side, Ecstasy users also commonly experience many negative effects during and after having used the drug. For example, many Ecstasy users become nervous and agitated, and may suffer psychological problems such as depression. If an ectasy user wants to continue the party and not experience these ill effects, they will typically just pop another pill. The problem with this is that the Ecstasy is inhibiting the user from hearing their body's natural alarm signals, telling them that they have become exhausted, dehydrated etc. They continue partying nonetheless. However, Ecstasy in itself can cause high body temperature, and along with the constant party-going raises the risk of dangerous overheating which can lead to a condition known as hyperthermia. Hyperthermia can lead to various types of organ failure and can even lead to death. If an Ecstasy users takes repeated doses of the drug within a short time span, this too can be very dangerous and increase the users risk of seizures and can also affect heart rhythms which can lead to cardiac arrest.
The side effects of Ecstasy use can persist for days and weeks in fact, and some can be extremely unpleasant. For example, Ecstasy users may experience tension in their muscles and involuntary teeth clenching. This is why many Ecstasy users, especially on the club scene or party scene will actually use baby pacifiers to stop themselves from grinding away at their teeth. Many Ecstasy users will chew pack after pack of gum while on the drug to avoid tooth damage. Nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness, and chills or sweating are also very common side effects of the drug. Because Ecstasy affects heart rate and blood pressure, individuals who are predisposed to circulatory or cardiac disease should not take the drug.
The psychological effects caused by Ecstasy use can be most problematic for Ecstasy users. As described earlier, many Ecstasy users experience psychological problems such as depression which can linger for weeks and months. This can occur even after short term use, and can include loss of appetite, fatigue, confusion, sleep disturbances, anxiety, paranoia and even psychotic episodes. These types of side effects occur in 60% of people who use Ecstasy, and can be defined as side effects of the drug, but also as withdrawal symptoms which will usually be accompanied by drug craving which will cause the individual to seek out and use more of the drug. This is the true definition of dependence and addiction, and despite the common misconception that Ecstasy is not addictive it is in fact just as addictive as any other illicit drug.
Long-term Ecstasy use can also cause significant damage to certain areas of the brain which can affect memory and cognition. Some studies have even linked long-term Ecstasy use to Parkinson's disease. A great deal of research has been conducted on how Ecstasy affects the brain, and animal studies provided a glimpse as to how much damage actually occurs. Research shows that exposure to Ecstasy for just a few days can cause brain damage that is still evident several years later.
One of the other problematic scenarios that Ecstasy users are always faced with is the question of drug purity. Ecstasy was first introduced to the illicit drug market in the 1980's and by 1995 was already less than 10% pure. What is known as Ecstasy today is typically a toxic concoction of a variety of substances such as ephedrine which is a stimulant, dextromethorphan which is a cough suppressant, ketamine which is an anesthetic or even caffeine, cocaine and methamphetamine. Users also run the risk of taking two other potentially toxic substances known as MDA and PMA, which are similar to Ecstasy but much more toxic and have been responsible with fatalities in the United States and Australia. So Ecstasy users don't ever really know what they are taking, so are literally playing Russian roulette with their lives every time they take the drug.
So while many individuals would have you believe that Ecstasy use is safe, it is just as unsafe as any other illicit drug of abuse. These Ecstasy facts prove that the drug can cause just as much short and long term harm as any other drug of abuse. If you have a problem with Ecstasy or know someone who does, there are many drug rehab programs available which can help. Many Ecstasy users have sought out treatment and overcome Ecstasy addiction.