Ecstasy effects

Originally Published: May 31, 1996 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: August 14, 2009
Share this
Dear Alice,

I heard that the first reaction you have to taking Ecstasy is to become violently ill, after which the party can continue. This sounds like an urban legend to me. Could you clarify please?

Dear Reader,


Ecstasy (N-methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine or MDMA) is a recreationally used hallucinogenic amphetamine. There is limited research about the nature of effects and no mention of "violent illness" in the scientific literature. Some users do report that they experience nausea, chills/sweating, blurred vision, and an increase in blood pressure. As is the case with any substance, dosage, pre-existing health conditions, and drug combinations (including alcohol and prescription drugs) can all adversely impact one's experiences. FYI, the effects of one dose of "X" (usually taken in pill form) lasts for four to six hours.


Ecstasy is sometimes used as a companion at parties and nightclubs because it produces a combination of heightened arousal, mellowing effects, and enhanced self- and group-consciousness. The drug, illegal and considered to have no legitimate use by the government since 1985, when some users' problems with X made headlines, has been most associated with a rise in body temperature — usually resulting in acute dehydration. This is important since dancing for hours without enough breaks and water is pretty common while on X.


Studies have shown that ecstasy uses serotonin, a chemical in the brain that affects mood and after the initial high, users may feel tired, depressed, or moody. The body will eventually produce more serotonin, but it may take some time to get it back to normal levels. So, after a weekend of heavy partying, one could have trouble getting up and going to class or work, and, once there, may be irritable. (True for many non-Xers, too.)


Heavy use has been linked to speed-like symptoms of paranoia, and in some cases, liver damage and heart attacks. Although research has not yielded conclusive evidence of Ecstasy-induced brain damage in humans, heavy administration of the drug has produced neurological damage in rats and monkeys.


Urban legends aside, your question suggests you or someone you know might be considering giving Ecstacy a try. Despite knowing the potential positive and negative effects of any substance, have you given some thought to why people chose to use drugs like Ecstacy? Knowing that violent illness hasn't been documented, but other negative consequences have, how would that impact the decision to use or not use? All drugs have effects on the body and in the case of Ecstacy the lack of scientific research makes it difficult to know exactly how a person will react.

Alice

August 5, 2009

21530
Dear Alice,

I've taken ecstasy a hand full of times, the second or third times using it I experienced this violent illness. Almost an hour after taking it I vomited violently then fell right to...

Dear Alice,

I've taken ecstasy a hand full of times, the second or third times using it I experienced this violent illness. Almost an hour after taking it I vomited violently then fell right to sleep. The thing with ecstasy is that you never really know what your gonna get. Be careful!!!

January 25, 2008

21407

To the reader:

I wanted to add a note to this response: street ecstasy is often laced with other drugs; the most common one is Methamphetamine. Sometimes street ecstasy has research...

To the reader:

I wanted to add a note to this response: street ecstasy is often laced with other drugs; the most common one is Methamphetamine. Sometimes street ecstasy has research chemicals that can be purchased over the internet. The rumor about getting violently ill after ingesting ecstasy could be related to pills that contained an unanticipated substance. I tend to view ecstasy as a "mystery pill." Even "trusted friends" with "trusted sources" can have pills with undesired substances.  :(