MDMA, also known by the street name ecstasy, produces a range of pleasurable effects, many of which lure users into a false sense of safety and contentment. With regular use, it doesn’t take very long before MDMA health effects start to compromise a person’s physical and psychological well-being.
As one of the more hybrid substances on the market, MDMA (short for methylenedioxymethamphetamine) produces both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects that can last for up to six hours. As a member of the stimulant drug class, MDMA’s ability to cause dangerous health effects rivals that of cocaine and other powerful stimulant drugs. As a psychedelic hallucinogen, MDMA can cause long-term mental impairment when used on a regular basis.
MDMA Effects in the Brain
An MDMA “high” produces feelings of euphoria, enhanced sensory perception, a feeling of closeness with others and increased energy.
MDMA’s combined stimulant-hallucinogenic effects make for a dangerous combination in terms of its addictive properties and overall disruption of brain functioning.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, MDMA interferes with three primary brain chemical pathways:
MDMA’s interactions in the brain account for the range of effects this drug produces. Over time, repeated interference with these chemical pathways opens the door for dangerous MDMA health effects to take shape.
MDMA Health Effects
Effects on the Body
MDMA affects a number of major bodily systems through its effects on the brain. Systems most affected include:
- Body temperature
- Movement and coordination
- Gastrointestinal system
MDMA health effects on the body target these same processes. According to the University of New Hampshire, over time users start to experience the following symptoms:
- Problems sleeping
- Alternating chills and fever
- Heart problems
Effects on the Mind
MDMA health effects on the mind run the gamut in terms of how this drug essentially warps the brain’s chemical system. MDMA effects on dopamine levels in particular lie at the heart of this drug’s high addiction potential.
As dopamine levels continue to surge in response to MDMA effects, the brain’s reward system functions come to view the drug as essential for survival, much like it views food and water. As the reward system ultimately determines a person’s motivations and priorities, users reach a point where they require or “need” the drug to face everyday life pressures.
Other ways MDMA affects the mind include:
- Panic attacks
- Impaired memory
- Distorted sense of time
- Distorted sensory perceptions
The brain develops a tolerance for MDMA at a fast rate, much like it does with cocaine. As a result, users eventually have to start engaging in bingeing practices in order to experience the drug’s desired effects.
Bingeing practices compound the harmful effects of this drug, placing users at increasing risk of liver failure, heart failure, kidney failure and death.
MDMA health effects pose ongoing risks to a person’s overall well-being and can actually destroy his or her quality of life over time. In effect, a full-blown MDMA addiction leaves a person helpless in terms of any will or desire to stop using the drug.
If you or someone you know is struggling with MDMA abuse and need help, please don’t hesitate to call 800-609-2774 to speak with one of our addiction counselors.