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Ecstasy and MDMA Overdose

Call it a club drug or call it a street drug. Either way, ecstasy, or MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), is a dangerous, synthetic drug. It is a psychoactive stimulant.

About 11 million people in the U.S have used ecstasy. The typical dose of MDMA is 80 to 160 mg, which comes in powder or pill form.

The Short-Term Effects of MDMA

Ecstasy impacts the user’s levels of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, all of which are neurotransmitters, in the body. Once the MDMA enters the bloodstream, the levels of these neurotransmitters spike in the brain causing an immediate high.

Other MDMA short-term effects, which begin within 30 minutes and last 3 to 6 hours, include:

  • Euphoria
  • Emotional peace
  • High blood pressure
  • Jaw clenching and teeth grinding
  • Eye twitching
  • Hallucinations
  • No urge to eat, drink or sleep

MDMA is freely used at the popular rave parties that usually last between 24 to 48 hours. Not eating, drinking or sleeping is the norm at raves, where it is hot and crowded and severe dehydration can rapidly occur. While users are unaware of the seriousness of their physical situation, organ damage and death can result.

The Long-Term Dangers

Long-term use of MDMA can cause permanent impairment. Learning, sleep and emotional well-being are all impacted. Depression, anxiety and memory loss can develop.

Ecstasy is addicting. Seeking more of the drug becomes the main focus for the addict. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 43% of MDMA users become addicts.

ODing on E

Overdose of MDMA is a real possibility. The symptoms include:

  • Extreme nausea
  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to sweat or urinate
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • High body temperature, which can lead to kidney and/or heart damage or death
  • Muscle cramps
  • Confusion and impaired judgment
Overdose is more likely when alcohol or other drugs are mixed with ecstasy. MDMA removes all inhibitions, which leads the user to other substances. The mixture of drugs and/or the high amounts of substances used can be deadly. Furthermore, every batch of E is different—this is a synthetic, man-made drug, so how powerful a dose will be is unpredictable.

Death attributed to ecstasy is usually due to heat stroke or heart failure as a result of extreme dehydration and exhaustion.

How to Treat an Ecstasy Overdose

Treating an ecstasy overdose is based upon an individual user’s symptoms and physical reaction to the drug. MDMA overdosing requires immediate medical attention in a hospital emergency room. Some of the medical interventions to treat ecstasy overdose include:

  • Reducing body temperature
  • Medication for nausea
  • Sedatives to help the user through the physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms
  • Providing a safe environment

Once the physical reactions of an MDMA overdose subside, the user needs a thorough psychological evaluation and interventions to deal with their drug addiction. Ecstasy rehab and other treatment options are available.

 

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