Ecstasy (MDMA) is both a stimulant (amphetamine-like) and mild
calming (tranquilizing) substance. Ecstasy is also called Adam, XTC, X, hug, beans, and the love drug. Ecstasy pills often have a logo, such
as cartoon characters, stamped on them. This drug is most often taken as a
pill, but the powder form is sometimes snorted or, rarely, injected into a
This stimulant's effects help a person dance for long
periods of time without getting tired. Ecstasy is said to enhance the sense of
pleasure and boost self-confidence. Its hallucinogenic effects include feelings
of peacefulness, acceptance, and empathy. People who use the drug claim they
experience feelings of closeness with other people and want to touch or hug
Ecstasy causes muscle tension and jaw-clenching, which has led to the
use of baby pacifiers to reduce this discomfort. It also causes nausea, blurred
vision, rapid eye movement, faintness, and chills or sweating. In high doses
ecstasy can cause a sharp increase in body temperature, leading to dehydration,
muscle breakdown, kidney failure, or heart failure and death. A person who does
not drink extra water can become severely dehydrated. When ecstasy is used with
alcohol, the effects can be more harmful.
Ecstasy can cause confusion, depression, sleep problems, and severe
anxiety that may last weeks after taking the drug. Over time, use of ecstasy
can lead to thought and memory problems. If a rash that looks like acne
develops after using ecstasy, the person may be at risk for liver damage by
continuing use of the drug.
Ecstasy usually does not last in a person's system longer than 12 to
16 hours. And many general drug screening tests do not detect it unless it is
July 20, 2012
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
& Peter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
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