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HOW OUR HELP LINE WORKS
For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the AddictionBlog.org helpline is a private and convenient solution. Caring advisors are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options.
Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit (IP: 174.212.23.174) will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC) or a paid sponsor.
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Ecstasy detox timeline: How long to detox from ecstasy?

 


ARTICLE OVERVIEW: You are less likely to develop physical dependence on ecstasy than other drugs. Still, anytime you come down off of MDMA, it’s like a mini detox. Here, we review how long detox typically lasts and what can be expected during and after. At the end, we invite your questions and comments about ecstasy detox. In fact, we will try to respond to all legitimate questions with a personal reply.


TABLE OF CONTENTS


Who Needs Detox?

Ecstasy is an empathogenic drug used for its ability to produce altered states of consciousness. Its primary ingredient is MDMA, or 4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine a synthetic psychoactive drug of the amphetamine class of drugs, first synthetized in 1912. Thought to be first marketed as an appetite inhibitor, MDMA has been used in past decades in research on human empathy, as a treatment for PTSD, and even as an antidepressant.

Ecstasy mainly works by releasing large amounts of serotonin. This “feel good” neurotransmitter floods the synapses of the brain leading to rushes of empathetic feeling. However, the brain also becomes significantly depleted of this important neurotransmitter, contributing to the negative psychological after effects that people may experience for several days after taking MDMA.

  • Have you used ecstasy on weekends over a period of 3 months or more?
  • Have you experienced any unwanted effect after using MDMA?
  • Have you grown accustomed to the effects of MDMA?

If you find yourself answering: “YES”, to any of these questions you may want to consider detoxing your body from the drug toxins found in ecstasy, and we strongly recommend you continue reading for processes and protocol. While ecstasy use rarely triggers physical dependence, there are some cases wherein folks can benefit from time off…or even tapering doses. But first, why even consider a detox?

What Is Withdrawal?

Technically, anytime that you take ecstasy, the buzz-kill you feel afterward is a kind of withdrawal. However, it’s a little known fact that MDMA can cause both longer-term physical and psychological dependence.

Data from both humans and animals studies suggest that regular MDMA use produces adaptations in the serotonin and dopamine systems that are associated with substance use disorder and related behaviors, such as increased impulsivity. In addition, some people who use MDMA report symptoms of addiction, including:

  • Continued use despite negative physical or psychological consequences.
  • Craving.
  • Tolerance.
  • Withdrawal.

Still, expert opinion regarding the possibility of developing physical dependence on MDMA varies [linkto: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24703083]. In fact, self-reports of a true ecstasy withdrawal syndrome are few and far between. Most users take ecstasy only occasionally, which makes it less likely that the brain requires structural or functional adaptation. Still, users can get physically dependent on the amphetamines combined with MDMA, which can lead to physical cravings upon cessation.

Duration

The duration of acute ecstasy withdrawal symptoms will depend upon a number of factors including:

  • The person´s level of use.
  • How long s/he has been abusing ecstasy.
  • If s/he has been taking other drugs along with ecstasy.

It takes between 2-4 days for the body to get rid of toxins found in ecstasy; this is why physical stability can be reached within a short period of time. However, the time it takes for the withdrawal symptoms to subside is variable. Further, it may take longer for psychological withdrawal symptoms to subside. For example, some symptoms can persist for weeks and months after cessation.

For a full list of symptoms and when they appear, see this Addiction Blog ecstasy withdrawal timeline chart.

Common Symptoms

Ecstasy withdrawal syndrome has not been demonstrated nor recorded in scientific literature. In other words, long-term physical dependence on ecstasy and accompanying withdrawal symptoms are rare. Still, when you notice that the “come down” period is worsened…this can be a sign that you are becoming physically dependent on ecstasy.

As reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, some users experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms after regular (daily or almost daily) use of the drug is reduced or stopped. The most common symptoms include traits such as:

  • depression
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • trouble concentrating

Furthermore, acute MDMA detox happens anytime you take ecstasy. It is usually completed within the first 72 to 96 hours, making this period for recovery. During acute detox, the individual experiences a number of withdrawal symptoms since the body reacts to the absence of the drug. The most common ecstasy detox symptoms that can occur when MDMA leaves the system, are:

  • blurred vision
  • chills
  • constipation
  • depression
  • faintness/fatigue (physical and mental)
  • insomnia
  • involuntary teeth clenching
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle tension and muscle cramps predominantly in the chewing muscle
  • nausea
  • sweating
  • tremors
  • trouble concentrating

Once the toxins are out of the system, the physical symptoms are considerably reduced. However, heavy users will experience these symptoms much more intensely and may re-administer ecstasy at this point so as to avoid the discomfort. In addition, people who maintain high doses use of MDMA may present problems with the body´s ability to regulate its own temperature, resulting in a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), leading to liver, kidney, and cardiovascular failure.
It is of crucial importance to rest and stay hydrated during the first 72 hours after taking ecstasy. Severe dehydration can result from the combination of the drug’s effects and the crowded and hot conditions in which the drug is often taken.

Protracted Symptoms

A “protracted symptom” is a symptom that last for the duration of weeks or months after use. One of the most common protracted withdrawal symptoms is depression. A person may start to experience depressive thoughts after using MDMA for weeks or months, which is sometimes resistant to any treatment other than antidepressant medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

Another likely protracted symptom is the compulsion to use ecstasy again. This can happen when a stressful situation arises or during a party when someone offers a pill, even though the person is clear of drug for some time. Being more of a mentally than a physically addictive drug, some users may need cognitive-behavioral therapy to help them overcome obsessive thinking about ecstasy.

What are some other protracted withdrawal symptoms?

Other people may experience a loss of appetite. Some report feeling anxious and confused. Still other people who take MDMA regularly have also reported a lack of motivation or impairment of decision-making, information processing, logical reasoning and simple problem solving.

Other protracted symptoms of ecstasy detox include:

  • Depersonalization
  • Flashbacks and even psychotic episodes
  • Hallucinations
  • Impairment of memory, both verbal and visual
  • Greater impulsivity and lack of self-control
  • Panic attacks
  • Recurrent paranoia

… as well as hypokinetic or hyperkinetic disorders including parkinsonism, tremor, dyskinesias, and myoclonus (strange and involuntary movements).

Studies suggest chronic use of MDMA can produce damage to the serotonin system. It is ironic that a drug that is taken to increase pleasure may cause damage that reduces a person’s ability to feel pleasure. This especially applies to heavy and long-term users, while occasional ones may not feel any of the above-mentioned. Although there are conflicting theories concerning the mechanism of how is toxic to neurons, it is clearly related to the excessive metabolic activity and neurotransmitter release in the serotonergic and, possibly, the dopaminergic neurons.

While the physical symptoms of ecstasy dependence usually subside quickly, some of these psychological symptoms could trigger relapse making it important to stay surrounded with close and sober people and/or seek counseling. Avoiding people who take ecstasy and places where it is being taken is necessary, it is very important to stay at a safe environment among sober people and avoid situations that could trigger cravings for ecstasy. A person who has been addicted to the effects of ecstasy may fall into the trap of relapse, especially if they encounter stressful situations.

Tapering

Most people who are long-term or heavy users of ecstasy will need to seek medical advice when considering coming off MDMA for good. Each case is different. Further, some people may benefit from slow withdrawal protocols while others may be prescribed antidepressants during detox.

Medications That Help

Although there are currently a number of medication targets that show promise in animal models and in some eary clinical trials, there are currently no FDA-approved medications to treat MDMA use disorder. Nevertheless, there are medications to treat the symptoms caused by the use and abuse of this drug.
For example, treatment with SSRIs (Selective Inhibitors of Serotonin Reuptake) and / or mirtazapine, may be recommended for six months or until the disappearance of the symptomatology. In any case, a medical doctor´s help should always be included in cases of ecstasy detox. Do not try medicating yourself or detoxing on your own!

Detox At Home?

So, can you detox from ecstasy at home?

No, it´s not recommended. Counseling is often very helpful for chronic or heavy users in easing the process of quitting. Talk therapy centers around modifying behavior by teaching techniques to deal with cravings. It is likely that people with addictive personalities reach for other chemical substances or alcohol, making it crucial to stay at a safe environment.

Safety

MDMA is potentially dangerous, even in the doses typically used by participants at raves. Both the acute and the chronic effects can lead to serious and even fatal toxicity, the full extent of which cannot yet be estimated with accuracy.

Relapse is always a risk, safety depends on how you deal with the psychological dependence to the drug and this is directly related on how hard your MDMA use was in your life, this is why we strongly recommend looking for help in counseling groups, and avoiding places where you´ll feel tempted to use the drug.

Signs of a Drug Problem

While many would claim that there is no possibility to develop an addiction to ecstasy, the habit to compulsively use ecstasy can certainly make one dependent on the drug effect. Moreover, while symptoms of withdrawal tend to be mild compared to other narcotics, they do exist. In fact, some people who use MDMA report symptoms of addiction. The main signs of a problem are:

  • Continued use despite health problems or problems at home/work/school.
  • Loss of control of drug use.
  • Quitting but not being able to stay quit.

If you or someone you know have been taking ecstasy but do not feel like quitting yet, we encourage you to learn more about what MDMA does to your brain and body. Even though ecstasy is usually out of the system within few days, there is a possibility for protracted withdrawal symptoms last for many months after cessation.

Furthermore, treatment works!

If you think you have a problem with ecsasy, you probably do. What can you do about it? First, admit that you need help. Then, we suggest that you follow up with a medical professional. No need for shame. Drug problems are medical problems. So, seek help with any one of these professionals:

  • An addiction doctor
  • An addiction treatment center
  • A psychologist
  • A psychiatrist
  • Your family doctor or general physician

Your Questions

Have you perhaps experiences to share about detoxing from ecstasy and would like to add something? Write us in the comment section below and we try will get back to you ASAP. In fact, we try to respond to all legitimate questions or concerns or will refer you to someone who can help.

Do you have any questions about scheduling an ecstasy detox? You are not alone, we can help you overcome your drug problem, but the first step you must give is to accept there is a problem; we will accompany you all the way.

Reference Sources: Bolla KI, McCann UD, Ricaurte GA. Memory impairment in abstinent MDMA (“Ecstasy”) users. Neurology. 1998;51(6):1532-1537.
Kish SJ, Furukawa Y, Ang L, Vorce SP, Kalasinsky KS. Striatal serotonin is depleted in brain of a human MDMA (Ecstasy) user. Neurology. 2000;55(2):294-296.
NIDA: How are MDMA Use Disorders Treated?
DEA: Drugs of Abuse for Ecstasy
NIDA for Teens: MDMA
NIDA: MDMA Effects on the Brain
NIDA Drug Facts: Molly
NIH: The pharmacology and toxicology of “ecstasy” (MDMA) and related drugs
CIJ: Manual 
NIH: Psychostimulants and Movement Disorders
Leave a reply

Kayla
Friday, January 20th, 2017

I have a question for one of my best friends she snorted 8 ecstasy pills well she did it with others she said they did lines and that she bought them off of someone on the street and she weigh 364 pounds & her height is 5'7 she wants to know how can she clear her system from this ? & how long does it stay in your system ?
Lydia @ Addiction Blog
Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Hi Kayla. Generally, ecstasy can be detected in urine up to 2 days after you take it. But, the detection frame is longer for heavy users. Here's an article on the topic: http://drug.addictionblog.org/how-long-does-xtc-stay-in-your-system/ Moreover, if you or your friend want to learn more about drug testing, I suggest that you download our free e-book: https://addictionblog.org/ebooks/the-definitive-guide-to-drug-testing/
Alfredo
Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Personally speaking ecstacy withdraw is probably the worst experience I've ever encountered in my entire life, I've used marijuana pretty much since I was 12 and I'm 25 now. About 1 month and 2 weeks ago I was abusing ecstacy pills but little did I know what effects would come along after my body no longer had the drug in my system. I started to notice a discomfort in my left side of my chest along with stiffness in my left arm all together. From there the depressions, fatigue, suicidal tendencies and lack of appetite came. It felt like the worst time of hell on earth. It got to the point even a few puffs of marijuana started to make me really paranoid and my heart palpatations came more often (heart palpatations came after coming off ecstacy in into withdrawal phase). It's hard to tell how long the drug can stay in your system I guess It all depends on how long the persons been using is also how long you'll be facing with these or other symptoms. I went to the ER because my heart felt like it was pounding out my chest and I felt like at any moments I was going to have some sort of heart attack or seizure of some sort along with passing out, again the worst feeling on earth. I was diagnosed by the doctor with heart palpatations which at anytime would come and go, I tried finding way to combat this because it was just the worst feeling to deal with threwout the day and made me feel like I was gonna die. I took fish oil pills to regulate my heart and calm my depressions way down along side drinking warm water with squeezed lemon in it to flush my system out of all toxicity it was enduring. About 3 weeks from went I stopped is when I first started noticing the problems, at first it was my chest and arm and continued for some time then eventually the arm tightness went away but the heart stiffness still remained somewhat until I took the fish oil pills. My recommendation is stay of that garbage forever it's very disturbing drug and has the worst feels to it i ever encountered and if it's your first time and if you think of using DONT! Rather be heathy than suffer like I did and believe me it's one ride you don't want to get on. So if your reading this take it from someone who's gone threw this misery and just find something else to do to have fun. Take care and always be safe not all drugs are what people say they are anymore and more and more are cut with more deadly elements.
Lydia @ Addiction Blog
Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Thank you for sharing, Alfredo. Hope your message will help our readers...
Rose
Saturday, July 8th, 2017

The informatiom and tool provided was most definitely helpful! I admit to using for many years (off n on) however in the past several years I've been using more so now than ever, definitely for the past 3-4 years it has gotten worse... I use up the 3 in one day (smh) -- when I'm done with my little stash, I'll take a short break for maybe 24-48hrs then I'm back at it again. I am 35yrs old, I know using recreational drug is wrong on so many levels. I want to quit and I know that I can, it's just harder than I expected. My fiancé and I would like to one day have a baby. We are sexually active w/no contraceptives and I have not gotten pregnant yet... I already have two girls and In the back of my mind I felt strongly that using could possibly be the problem :( and since we both have children from our previous marriages, the question of can we is not even a thought. I am also experiencing other symptoms such as; spinal back pain, my nerves in my arms and legs gives sharp pain, my memory is not as sharp as it once was and most importantly I feel sharp/sudden pain in my chest. It's all bad I know and still I do it, I can admit to being weak however I want to quit! Now basically after writing a book of myself :) It is important for me to now know if I can have a baby since I've been using close to (10)yrs (3) of it me being a heavy user, do you think I'm not fertile and besides quitting is there anything else's that can help me while in the process?!? Please Help!
Lydia @ Addiction Blog
Friday, July 21st, 2017

Hi Rose. Call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant.
Paula
Saturday, August 19th, 2017

My son has taken MD and a mix of alcoholic drinks 48hrs ago and has since developed a red itchy urticaria all over his body What do you recommend He is up and functioning, has poor appetite and is thirsty But it's the rash that is different from normal?
Lydia @ Addiction Blog
Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Hi Paula. You son may want to consult with a doctor about his rash.
Big dump
Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

These drugs are no joke ive been shooting mdma and heroin the past month every day and ive been doing heroin for a pinched nerve for 5 years ive gotten clean for a few months here and there but the pain comes back within a few weeks and im back on the dope. Extasy and mdma is just as bad you may not get as sick when u quit but youll really feal like your dying and you'll want to kill yourself the depression is a bitch get to a detox if u wamt to quit dont try to do it on your own a detox place will make you much more comfortable than u can ever get on your own. After detox they should be able to help you get into a long term counciling program. And thats going to be your best bet to stay off that horrible shit
Big dump
Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Ive never heard of a rash from mdma its probably cut with something he may be allergic to try benadryl see if that helps if not maybe its just like a fugus or ring worm type deal. When your on mdma u don't care where u hang out who u sleep with or how dirty the place u are is so make sure its not like an impentego type thing or staff infection find out if hes been iving /shooting up that could even be part of the problem
Ryan
Sunday, December 31st, 2017

I have recently went to a music festival and went on a 2 day binge and consumed around 2.5-3.5 grams of mdma and a few days later I was laying in bed and I started to get brain zaps and they are very uncomfortable and prevent me of sleeping . The day after I started having minor brain zaps every 10 seconds and my left arm started to twitch a lot throughout the zaps , I was wondering what these electric sensations in my head are and hiw they can be treated ?
Addiction Blog
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Hello Ryan. You may need a medical opinion. Have you consulted with your family doctor about the sensations yet? Full disclosure may be best.