Last updated: 04/30/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Ecstasy or MDMA has a varied reputation. On one hand, it came out of a therapeutic context and it is still being tested as an aid in treating the anxiety of cancer patients and the symptoms of PTSD. It is also associated with euphoria, emotional empathy and dancing all night. It shows up in a many contemporary lyrics, under its other name, molly.
But, it also has a dark side. Use can lead to a multitude of undesirable health effects, such as anxiety and confusion. These effects can last one week or longer after the use of the drug. Other serious health risks include becoming dangerously overheated, high blood pressure, and kidney and heart failure.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offered the following statistics:
- Hospital emergency department visits related to Ecstasy increased 128 percent between 2005 and 2011 (from 4,460 visits in 2005 to 10,176 visits in 2011) for visits among patients younger than 21 years old.
- In each year from 2005 to 2011, an average of 33 percent of emergency department visits among those younger than age 21 involved Ecstasy and involved alcohol.
- The number of hospital emergency visits involving the illicit drug Ecstasy increased from 10,220 in 2004 to 17,865 visits in 2008 – a 74.8 percent increase.
- Most of the above Ecstasy-related visits (69.3 percent) involved patients aged 18 to 29, but notably 17.9 percent involved adolescents aged 12 to 17.
You can it ecstasy, molly, or MDMA, but you can’t deny that its use is increasing, especially among young people and your child may be one of them.
The most obvious sign your child is using ecstasy is to find them in possession of it. There are two common forms: pills and liquid. Liquid ecstasy is actually GHB, a nervous system depressant, which comes in small vials. GHB is often used as a date rape drug and should not be used recreationally. More commonly, ecstasy is produced in colorful tablet form with cute impressions like smiley faces or Mercedes Benz logos stamped on them. These tablets are often hidden in bags of candy or placed on candy necklaces.
General Changes in Activities
As with all drug use, some of the signs will be general changes in behavior and sociability. Be on the lookout for:
- changes in his or her peer group
- changes in his or her sleeping pattern
- declining grades
- a loss of interest in his or her hobbies or favorite activities
- a lack of motivation
- a hostile, uncooperative attitude
- the unexplained disappearance of household money
As drug use tolerance builds up and dependency sets in, getting more drugs and staying high begins to be the most important part of a user’s life. You can keep that in mind if you see your child suddenly distance themselves from previously beloved activities and friends without a clear motivation.
Specific Changes in Activities
Ecstasy can have many of the same physical effects as other stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines, which leads to the following symptoms:
- High levels of stimulation
- Unusual levels of energy
- Long hours awake
- Acting abnormally friendly
- Dancing for long periods
Because ecstasy increases feelings of closeness, it can be linked to sexual irresponsibility. Be sure to talk to your child about the dangerous effect that drug use can have on reproductive health.
Signs of Ecstasy Use
There are signs that are specific to ecstasy use. If your child comes home late from a party or dance and displays the following behaviors, they may be high on ecstasy:
- Involuntary teeth clenching or a sore jaw
- Muscle cramps
- Disturbed vision
- Excited and energetic, but a little confused
- Sweating in combination with chills and nausea
- Dry mouth and dilated pupils
- Overly alert for the circumstance
If you believe your child is using ecstasy, don’t believe that it is safe because it is a “party drug.” No matter how many people sing or rap about it, it still has multiple dangers associated with it.
For instance, users don’t know exactly what is in it or who made it and that can lead to seriously adverse reactions. Not to mention, it is associated with a number of negative sexual behaviors. Plus, it can lead to the body overheating and shutting down internal organs. It’s not all about dancing and loving.