MDMA (Molly) Treatment
We all crave things that enhance our lives. Sometimes those cravings lead people to improve their competitive edge and other times, they drive people to drug addiction.
One drug that young people use to enhance their feelings of happiness, euphoria, and connection to others is MDMA, aka, Molly. This synthetic drug is both a stimulant and hallucinogen that has been widely popular at raves and the club scene since the late 1980s.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse MDMA statistics, kids as young as 8th graders abuse this drug. Like any addictive drug, this one also has the potential to cause serious physical and mental health issues.
What Is MDMA?
The synthetic chemical formula 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, or MDMA, goes by many names including:
- Ecstasy, XTC
- Disco Biscuits
- Vitamin E
- Scooby Snacks
Though kids more commonly use these names for the drug, it also goes by many more that describe the effects it produces, such as Ecstasy.
Ecstasy works like both a hallucinogenic and a stimulant to produce an uplifted euphoric feeling that enhances all of the senses. It produces these effects by attaching to receptors that trigger the reward center of the brain.
The stimulant effects happen from the hyper release of norepinephrine, which fuels the fight-or-flight response created by the sympathetic nervous system.
The drug also causes the body to release serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters responsible for the feelings of happiness, euphoria, and sexual arousal.
It can come in capsules, a white powder form, or as colorful, candy-like pills of all shapes.
Though scientists continue to research the drug for its antidepressant effects, it carries many risks, especially since street dealers often cut it with cocaine, methamphetamine, ketamine, and many other harmful substances.
One of the biggest problems with MDMA is the inconsistency with the drug being sold on the street. Molly is the purest form of MDMA and the most popular, although in reality, it is very difficult to find a pure form of it anywhere.
Because it is a synthetic substance made by rogue labs instead of pharmaceutical companies, there is no standard of control with the manufacturing process. Most users and dealers have no idea what the are actually getting unless they use a testing kit before using it. This inconsistency can lead to people taking different variations each time, so they never know what to expect. This is both careless and dangerous.
Who Uses MDMA?
While a small percentage of high school kids use this drug, Molly is extremely popular at raves, music festivals, and nightclubs because of the way it heightens the senses. The largest age group of users is 18 to 25 year olds, followed by those over 26.
Music plays a big role in the use of MDMA or Molly because its effects on the brain complement the music and lights at clubs and raves.
It also has a highly social aspect to it, and people feel strongly connected to each other in both a physical and emotional way.
How Long Does MDMA Stay in Your System?
The high from the drug peaks around 60 to 90 minutes after taking the first dose. People usually report feeling the effects of the high for 6 to 8 hours depending on the dose.
Ecstasy stays in the system longer though. Drug tests can detect Molly drug for the following amounts:
- Urine test: 1-3 days
- Blood test: 1-2 days
- Saliva test: 1-2 days
- Hair test: around 3 months
The drug breaks down quickly in the body compared to other drugs, such as marijuana. Unfortunately, this can make it easier for users to hide.
MDMA Side Effects
This drug can produce a number of side effects that range from pleasurable to life threatening. Below are some short and long-term side effects of MDMA.
Short-Term Side Effects
Some of the side effects only last for the duration of the high. These include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Teeth grinding
- Blurry vision
- Muscle cramps
- Excessive sweating and rise in body temperature
- Increased energy
- Decreased inhibitions
Though short lasting, some of these can result in serious adverse effects.
Long-Term Side Effects
Over time, the effects of this drug can become more permanent. Constant grinding can wear down the teeth and cause TMJ, a painful condition that affects the jaw muscle.
Some side effects can get much worse. Long-term use of MDMA can lead to an irregular heartbeat which can wear down the heart muscle and lead to heart disease.
Since the kidneys and liver work to detox your system, this drug makes them work overtime. Chronic use can lead to irreversible kidney and liver damage.
The drug can also create long-term problems with memory, attention span, and problem-solving, due to the area of the brain it affects. Furthermore, it can create personality changes.
People who abuse this drug for a long period of time may develop anxiety, depression, start acting impulsively and with poor judgment, and lose their sex drive.
There have been quite a few stories over the years about MDMA overdose deathsat raves and music festivals. While it seems more common than it actually is, nevertheless, any death by drug overdose is one too many.
MDMA users rarely ever overdose on the drug itself, but some of the side effects can be fatal, and are the true cause of most Molly drugrelated deaths.
MDMA often stimulates sweating, dehydration, and hyperthermia.
Hyperthermia can lead to stroke, while an increase in heart rate can cause a heart attack. Life-threatening dehydration can also occur without the user even realizing it.
Both of these symptoms can be caused by overheating in a crowded club or music festival with poor ventilation where users are dancing for hours on end without drinking enough non-alcoholic fluids.
The result is not an overdose to the drug, but a reaction to the symptoms caused by the MDMA drug.
Is My Loved One Using Ecstasy?
Your loved one might suffer from an ecstasy addiction if they suddenly behave more sociable, act excessively happy, overly friendly, and energized due to frequent or constant use. They may lose their sense of time and find sleep difficult as well.
People who use ecstasy may exhibit child-like behaviors, such as sucking on pacifiers and craving all sorts of sweet candies. They may also show a distorted sense of reality or seem unusually connected to things like music or nature.
You may also find strange items, like Vicks Vapor Rub, menthol inhalers, and surgical masks in their rooms or backpacks.
Engaging in risky behaviors outside of their normal routine is also a sign of MDMA or Molly use, especially related to increased sexual activity.
This drug tends to produce more of a psychological withdrawal than a physical one. This is due to flooding the reward center with feel-good neurotransmitters and then essentially drying them up.
Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory difficulties
- Mood swings
- Aggressive behavior
- Decreased motor control
- Hallucinations or delusions
- Panic attacks
Not everyone will experience all of these withdrawal symptoms, and the amount taken is a contributing factor to the true nature of the symptoms.
The extent and duration of withdrawal depends on the person’s unique body composition, the amount of ecstasy they took, and the amount of time they used the drug.
Symptoms of withdrawal generally begin around 12 hours after discontinuing use.
The person will typically experience the worst of it the day after use and it can continue for a few more days. Since the brain can take a while to return neurotransmitter production back to normal, the person discontinuing use may experience some of these adverse effects for several weeks.
MDMA Therapy and Treatment
Seeking treatment can help you or a loved one overcome addiction and it is important to seek help at the earliest signs of a problem.
Quitting MDMA can feel like a difficult task for many people, and it usually is if done alone without the help of trained professionals.
At Alo House, our addiction treatment program uses evidence-based therapies that are successful for overcoming MDMA or Molly-related substance use issues.
We begin with a psychological assessment to uncover the root causes of use and identify the most problematic symptoms caused by misuse, such as anxiety or depression.
Sometimes the substance misuse derives from a co-occurring disorder that either preceded the addiction or was caused by the addiction. In either case, we are uniquely qualified to provide dual diagnosis treatment.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy allows the client to self-asses their drug use and comprehend why it is problematic and discover the most effective way to overcome it.
We offer a wide range of cognitive behavioral therapies that have proven to be effective for conquering addictive behavior.
Unlike 12 step group therapy that is one-dimensional, our comprehensive non 12 step program provides individual, group, and family therapy for young adults and professionals in a comfortable residential setting.