ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Relative to other drugs, ecstasy is not very difficult to quit. Withdrawal is usually time limited and not severe. Cravings can be managed through behavioral therapy. This article provides insight into withdrawal and how to quit safely.
ESTIMATED READING TIME: 10 minutes.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Addictive Potential
- What Makes Quitting Difficult
- Side Effects
- Quitting Ecstasy Safely
- Your Questions
Ecstasy, also known as MDMA/ molly belongs to the Schedule I class of controlled substances, meaning that it carries a high potential for abuse and addiction. Ecstasy is labeled as an illegal drug by The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration with no recognized medicinal use since 1985.
Indeed, ecstasy has similar chemical properties to stimulants and hallucinogens, with powerful effects on the brain and body. As a stimulant and hallucinogen, ecstasy produces feelings of:
- increased energy
- intense emotions and empathy
Additionally, MDMA impairs sensory and time perception.
Ecstasy carries a low potential for physical dependence; on the other hand, it produces strong symptoms of psychological dependence. Frequent use of ecstasy can evolves into addiction and takes over a person’s life. Today there are clinical trials for using ecstasy in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety in autistic adults.
What Makes Quitting Difficult
Ecstasy is hard to quit for two main reasons:
- Availablity. You can get high for just $10 to $30 per dose.
- Withdrawal that causes strong psychological discomfort.
Ecstasy affects three neurotransmitters in the brain:
- Dopamine (DA) by producing euphoria and increased energy/activity.
- Norepinephrine (NE) by increasing heart rate and blood pressure.
- Serotonin (SERT) by causing mood changes, loss of appetite, sleep disorders. By affecting serotonin transporters, ecstasy affects sexual drive as well. The release of large amounts of serotonin produces: emotional closeness, elevated mood, and empathy.
Besides chasing the physical effects in the body, ecstasy users tend to chase after the emotional rush they experienced in the beginning. Over time, this emotional draw feeds the psychological dependence that develops with repeated use and users get caught up in the web of addiction.
Ecstasy withdrawal can cause serious psychological symptoms which can be accompanied by a physical discomfort. The physical effects of withdrawal from ecstasy are most commonly mild and not life-threatening.
Ecstasy withdrawal includes symptoms such as:
- Changes in self-perception
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of appetite
- Memory problems
Cold turkey withdrawal and lowering doses suddenly are methods that increase the risk for relapse and can make ecstasy withdrawal extremely uncomfortable. Read further why you should NOT try quitting ecstasy in these ways.
1. Cold turkey ecstasy should not be an option for chronic users.
Going cold turkey is not a recommended method for chronic ecstasy users because of the shock it makes to your system. Cold turkey withdrawal can intensify symptoms, especially realted to mood. If you have been using ecstasy for a longer period of time, you’ll need to assess your risk of extreme depression, suicidal thinking, or even panic. As an alternative for cold turkey, rely on medical assistance. Doctors and addiction professionals can determine the level of your dependency and estimate the risk of going cold turkey.
2. Lowering doses of ecstasy suddenly and abruptly.
This method of ecstasy cessation is unsafe and NOT recommended for heavy users because it might worsen withdrawal symptoms that will eventually require medical assistance.
Quitting Ecstasy Safely
Managing ecstasy withdrawal symptoms – particularly feelings of depression – can be difficult for you to do on your own. For this reason it is recommended that you complete the withdrawal process in a medical detox facility or in a closely monitored and controlled inpatient setting. The following methods of ecstasy comedown have proven safe:
1. Quitting ecstasy under medical supervision.
Quitting ecstasy outside of a treatment facility is successful only when done with medical clearance. In a detox clinic, doctors can monitor you 24-7 and prescribe medications to ease the withdrawal discomfort as symptoms occur. You’ll also be tested before and after you quit in order to follow progress. One of the benefits of supevision is that you’ll have reliable support for all kinds of complications and emergencies.
2. Tapering doses.
Gradually reducing or tapering ecstasy dose until you completely stop may be necessary in cases of chronic or extremely high dosing. Tapering is very effective in avoiding the experience of intense or severe withdrawal discomfort. The benefit of this method of cessation includes minimizing withdrawal symptom severity and intensity.
3. Continued treatment if necessary.
Ecstasy detox clinics can help you stabilize off of ecstasy while being monitored for withdrawal symptoms. During this period of time, you’ll be assessed for mental health issues that are related to ecstasy withdrawal. After stabilization, and freeing your body from ecstasy you might be transfer to residential rehab to continue with treatment of the other aspects of your ecstasy addiction.
4. Addressing emotional issues.
If you cannot quit MDMA on your own, addiction treatment offers you high quality level of care and helps you to address all underlying issues related to your addiction. A residential program provides you with the knowledge of many skills such as how to decrease relapse risks, manage chronic craving issues, improve task-oriented behaviors and establish a sleep routine to promote a healthy lifestyle. During an inpatient program, you’ll have the chance to attend individual, couples and/or family counseling session that will decrease the risk of relapse and improve your self-esteem. Rehab can last 30-60-90 days or longer depending on the level of addiction severity.
We hope we’ve helped you!
In case you still have questions about ecstasy or quitting … feel free to leave them in the comment section below. We’ll try to respond to you personally and promptly.