How to help an ecstasy addict
If you have someone in your family or in your circle of close friends who might have a problem with ecstasy addiction you may be wondering what you can do to help him/her. The good news is that addiction to drugs like ecstasy (MDMA) is a medical condition. As such, addiction is treated medically.
But, what needs to be in place before you begin an intervention? What is the process of getting help for ecstasy addiction like? We review here. Then, we invite your questions at the end …. and we try to answer all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly.
Help an ecstasy addict quit
Start with this thought: Ecstasy addicts are not always aware of the problem.
In fact, many people who experience addiction are in denial of their REAL condition. So, they tend to overlook what their chronic ecstasy use may be doing to their life and to the people like you who care about them. What can you do?
STEP ONE = Address denial.
Getting the person to, first of all, acknowledge the presence and level of addiction. Staging an intervention can be a great wake up call for the ecstasy user to realize there might be a problem and accept treatment. Most importantly, if done right and with the help of an intervention specialist, interventions don’t need to feel like an ambush. In fact, models like the CRAFT program of family training have high success rates.
Keep this in mind: Many people can initially deny being addicted to MDMA. While the addictive potential of ecstasy is more or less a disputable matter, it so happens that people do get psychologically addicted to ecstasy and this can cause serious problems. If the individual has been taking ecstasy regularly for some time, it can begin to negatively impact home, work, or social life. Note that physical dependence does not necessarily indicate addiction but they often go hand in hand. The best way to determine the presence of dependence and/or addiction is by consulting a medical professional who can also determine the level and the best treatment should there be a need for it.
STEP TWO = Address physical dependence, if present.
If your friend, loved one, or family member has a physical dependence/addiction problem, they may need to go through medical detoxification. The purpose of ecstasy detox treatment is to cleanse the body from the accumulated toxins of MDMA. Depending on the level of dependence/addiction, the intensity and duration of ecstasy withdrawal symptoms will also vary. More intense symptoms can be eased with over-the-counter medications, but it is recommended to consult a medical professional beforehand.
To date, there are no pharmacological treatments for dependence to ecstasy. However, there are effective treatments that could help addicts cope with the drug absence and adopt a different lifestyle. Cognitive behavioral treatments are important interventions that help tackle the root cause of the problem and the compulsion to use ecstasy. Support groups are also said to be effective alongside cognitive behavioral treatments for achieving long-lasting results.
STEP THREE = Find treatment.
There are a number of facilities and medical professionals throughout the United States that offer help for ecstasy addiction. It is important to choose one that will tailor the treatment program to meet individual needs and preferences. If seeking professional help, consider requesting information from any of the following:
- Addiction support groups
- Addiction treatment centers (rehabs)
- Clinical psychologists/psychiatrists
- Detox clinics
- Social workers
Helping an ecstasy addict friend
If you are wondering how are you helping your ecstasy addicted friend throughout this process, here are a few ideas:
Talk to your friend or loved one about your concerns.
Look into the CRAFT Model of intervention.
Take steps to locate an appropriate physician or health professional.
Help them find an appropriate ecstasy treatment program by calling a helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Help them figure out appropriate payment methods for treatment. You can call the treatment helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357) or 1-800-487-4889 (TTY) to ask about treatment centers that offer low cost or no-cost treatment.
See what you can do for them while they are away in rehab like keeping an eye on the house, taking care of a pet, mowing their lawn, etc.
Drive them to therapy sessions or support group meetings if they need a lift.
Tell your addict friend that you admire their courage for becoming aware of their problem and doing everything they can to tackle it. But, let them know that you will offer your support and encouragement as long as they stick with the treatment plan.
Need more drug hotlines? Click here.
Self help ecstasy addiction
If you are looking for ways to help yourself with your ecstasy addiction problem, you accomplished the hardest and most important part, i.e. acknowledging your addiction problem. Now that you are aware of your addiction problem, do not hesitate to talk to someone close and seek their help and support. At the base, addiction treatment = talk therapy + supportive medications. You can get a referral for help through your family doctor, or go directly to see an addiction counselor. Or, you can seek help directly through peer support group like N.A., SMART Recovery, or
Also, make sure you consult a medical professional if you need to go through the detoxification process. Depending on how long, how much, and how often you were using ecstasy, you may be advised to taper doses first or quit cold turkey. Alternatively, you can check the national database of detox clinics on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration website. Here you can find a clinic in your area and request further information. In any case, make sure you stay away from people who use ecstasy and avoid situations where ecstasy could be present.
Helping an ecstasy addict questions
To sum it up, helping an ecstasy addict requires information, planning, and follow-up. If you still have questions about helping an ecstasy addict, do not hesitate to ask us in the comments section below. We will try to provide answers to all legitimate inquiries as soon as possible OR in case we don’t know the answer to your questions we will gladly refer you to professionals who can help.
Reference sources: Federal Bureau of Prisons: Detoxification of Chemically Dependent Inmates
NIH: MDMA (Ecstasy) Abuse
U.S Department of Veteran’s Affairs: Center for Innovation to Implementation (Ci2i)
Photo credit: U.S. Congressman Michael C. Burgess Newsletter