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Ecstasy (MDMA)

Ecstasy/MDMA is a synthetic substance that people often use for its energetic effects and to experience increased feelings of closeness, sexuality, and empathy.1 People who use ecstasy should be aware of what ecstasy is, ecstasy effects, and how ecstasy misuse can potentially lead to addiction.2 Keep reading to learn the facts about ecstasy and how to seek help if you suspect that you, or someone you know, might be struggling with ecstasy misuse or addiction.
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What Is Ecstasy (MDMA)?

Ecstasy, or 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), is a synthetic drug made in labs.1 It is a substance that has both stimulant and hallucinogenic properties and is a derivative of amphetamine.2, 3The ecstasy that has been seized by U.S. authorities is primarily manufactured in clandestine labs in Canada and the Netherlands and is smuggled into the US through illegal channels.1 Ecstasy labs have also been found in the US.1

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Is Ecstasy Addictive?

It’s not entirely clear whether ecstasy is addictive.2 Research has shown different results, but some animal studies have indicated animals will self-administer ecstasy in lab tests, which could be a sign of its addictive potential. However, the level of self-administration is lower than with other addictive substances, such as cocaine.2

Additional research has shown that MDMA causes adaptations in serotonin and dopamine systems in the brain that lead to certain behaviors which are associated with addiction.10 Still, there have not been many conclusive studies on ecstasy’s potential to cause addiction, or in people who have used ecstasy.10

Treatment for Ecstasy Misuse

There is no specific treatment or medication for Ecstasy/MDMA misuse, but studies have shown that behavioral therapy may be helpful for some people.2, 12 More research is needed on potential ecstasy treatments.2

If you are interested in quitting ecstacy, you should know that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says that the most effective behavioral therapies for ecstasy misuse include cognitive behavioral methods.12 Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to help you change the thoughts, behaviors, and expectations that contribute to substance misuse and helps you learn healthier ways of coping with life stress without using substances.12

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