In today’s world, it seems as though people search for a way to escape from reality. This desire has been around since medieval times and was even included in stories such as Alice In Wonderland or The Wizard Of Oz, which portrays a girl who eats a cake that makes her grow larger.
This idea is still expressed in modern society through television shows, movies, books, and music. However, there are many different ways to escape from the reality of everyday life: coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs through prescriptions or street drugs. Some of these substances can be used without becoming addicted, while others require treatment upon realizing there is a problem.
One example of this is methamphetamine addiction. Meth has been shown to alter brain function by causing damage to neurons that send dopamine between brain cells, thus changing neural plasticity.
People use drugs for many reasons; to explore new experiences, self-medication, peer pressure, and unawareness of the harm that may come with using a certain illegal substance.
There have been numerous reports on the dangers of commonly used illicit substances such as heroin or cocaine in recent years. However, one drug seems to have gained popularity in mainstream society: MDMA, also known by its street name ecstasy.
Is this “feel good” drug really safe? Or is it a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode into addiction and dependence?
How Addictive Is MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly)
There are three different states where people can be when they take MDMA: awake, asleep/unconscious, and near-death experience. While under the influence of ecstasy, some effects can make a person more susceptible to violence and injury. This is why friends need to look out for one another while under the influence.
Since MDMA is a stimulant, it has been reported as causing cardiovascular problems such as rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, and stroke. These negative side effects, along with the many others that come from taking this drug, have led to numerous deaths worldwide, including some famous celebrities such as Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson. According to the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), “More than 70,000 Americans died from a drug-involved overdose in 2019, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids.”
Impacts On Your Brain & Body
When taking MDMA, users experience increased energy from increased oxygen intake because of accelerated breathing rates. Unfortunately, it also causes a decrease in appetite. It is understandable why people may want to keep this increase in physical activity up for as long as possible by not eating or sleeping. Still, this practice can cause severe dehydration and exhaustion. Other negative effects of MDMA are an increased perspiration rate, chills, tremors, teeth clenching, and blurred vision.
There are short-term side effects that come along with using ecstasy. These include confusion, depression, anxiety or panic attacks, paranoia, hallucinations, sleep problems (insomnia), and drug craving. To make matters worse for those who do become addicted to “happiness,” there are also risks for addiction/ dependence, which can lead to withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop taking ecstasy. These symptoms include tiredness, loss of appetite, depression, anxiety, craving, and trouble concentrating.
While scientists have not yet found any specific gene that links addiction to MDMA, some research has revealed epigenetic changes in the brains of mice whose mothers were addicted to cocaine or alcohol during pregnancy. These changes are believed to alter genes involved with serotonin receptors, which may explain why drugs made with MDMA impact some people differently than others.
Using ecstasy can lead to memory problems and permanent damage in the brain’s reward system because it causes a reduction in the amount of serotonin available for use. In addition, it is reported that 50% of those who use ecstasy only one time will develop a tolerance and therefore need more ecstasy to get high. “Once an addict, always an addict,” and this phrase definitely rings true with MDMA.
And this is why MDMA should not be taken lightly. It can lead them down an extremely dangerous path with harmful short-term and long-term side effects that will stay with them for life if they give in to addiction.
Seek help before it’s too late
This is why it’s incredibly important that you seek help immediately when you start feeling down so your doctor can provide an accurate medical diagnosis of what exactly may be causing these feelings, whether it comes from drug use or something else entirely. And if so, how they can best treat depression related to MDMA to achieve positive results in overcoming the depressive symptoms. Getting help when you need it most is perhaps one of the most significant steps towards getting past negative thoughts associated with drug use; this allows for a strong medical intervention when necessary which can greatly improve your quality of life moving forward into sobriety. Think of your family and friends; would you put yourself first over their happiness? The choice is simple; say no to drugs.