When an individual is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, he or she is at risk for suffering several different consequences of their use. Many of those consequences can be psychological, meaning that the abuse of specific substances can lead to changes in the way the brain functions. As a result, an individual can begin struggling with everyday things such as cognition, motor skills, memory, and concentration. In some cases, drug-induced psychological damage can lead to severe consequences, including psychosis, insomnia, hypoxia (a condition where oxygen flow to the brain is reduced), and detachment from oneself.
Regardless of which drug is being abused, significant physical and psychological effects can and will occur as long as the abuse continues. Each individual user is different and will experience different consequences of his or her use, however, one’s psychological well-being can be easily jeopardized while his or her addiction is active.
When it comes to ecstasy, a synthetic stimulant substance that produces feelings of utter euphoria and causes hallucinations, this drug has the potential to affect the way in which the brain works.
What is Ecstasy?
Ecstasy, as previously mentioned, is a man-made stimulant. This substance is extremely popular at nightclubs, raves, and festivals. Individuals consume this substance by either swallowing it in pill form, ingesting it in liquid form, or snorting it in powder form. It is extremely common that those who abuse ecstasy also abuse other drugs simultaneously, such as alcohol or marijuana.
Unfortunately, because ecstasy is synthetic, there is no telling what other drugs could be combined with it. That is one of the most, if not the most, risky aspects of abusing a substance like Ecstasy because it could very easily be laced with other dangerous substances.
When ecstasy is consumed, it immediately makes its way to the brain, where it is then absorbed. Once an individual is under the influence of ecstasy, his or her brain will release excessive amounts of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that produces feelings of energy, euphoria, and a sense of wellness. Additionally, ecstasy amps up serotonin levels in the brain, causing individuals to experience increased mood, sexual arousal, and empathy. The brain also responds to the presence of ecstasy by releasing greater amounts of norepinephrine, which boosts blood pressure and heart rate.
These effects typically only last for anywhere between three to six hours, and when they wear off, an individual can experience some distressing symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms that one might experience after using ecstasy can include the following:
- Problems sleeping
- Memory problems
- Disinterest in sex
- Minimal appetite
Continued abuse of ecstasy can cause individuals to go back and forth between the highs and lows caused by this substance. Ecstasy users often experience several psychological effects both during and after their highs. In fact, many people, both professionals, and lamens have developed ideas about how ecstasy can affect the brain.
Does Ecstasy Put Holes in the Brain?
One of the most common things that people wonder about regarding ecstasy is that abusing this substance can put physical holes in the brain. No substance is powerful enough to cause the brain to develop actual holes, including ecstasy. While the effects that this substance produces might make it seem like a possibility, it is truly just a myth.
The idea that ecstasy damages the brain is certainly not far-fetched, especially considering the psychological impacts that it can cause. However, there have been disagreements for decades amongst professionals regarding just how damaging the abuse of ecstasy can be on the brain.
From the late 1980’s to the early 2000’s, dozens of studies of ecstasy use determined that it could in fact cause brain damage. For example, in 1989, the New York Times wrote an article featuring a researcher out of Stanford University who said the drug would indeed lead to brain damage. At the time, researcher Dr. Peroutka urged the public to “avoid” recreational use, as trials of ecstasy use in animals led to brain damage.
By 2002, former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) stated that “using ecstasy is like playing Russian Roulette with your brain function”. Ten years later, in 2012, the journal Addiction reported that even taking one pill a month could lead to long-term memory problems.
According to several different researchers, scientists, and professionals over more recent years, abusing ecstasy can permanently damage different nerve cells in the brain. Specifically, serotonin axons become destroyed because of ecstasy use, and there is no evidence to prove that these axons can redevelop again in the future.
Now, fast forward to present day. Today’s ecstasy that is infiltrating streets and nightclubs is unlike any type of ecstasy seen before. Rather than just being pure ecstasy, this drug is now commonly combined with other synthetic drugs, making it impossible to determine just how severe the effects of ecstasy are on the brain. In fact, using ecstasy just one time can cause death, depending on what it may or may not be laced with.
While actual physical brain damage is often argued upon by professionals, there is incorrigible proof that abusing ecstasy can lead to psychological problems that can, in turn, present symptoms that are synonymous with brain damage (e.g., memory loss, poor cognition, learning problems).
Do You Need Help?
No matter what is being said about ecstasy, the truth is that it is not a substance that should ever be abused for recreational purposes due to its unpredictability and potential for physical and psychological harm. Ecstasy addiction is not a myth; it is a real, tangible problem that can destroy both your life and the lives of those around you.
If you are addicted to ecstasy or abuse it in any form, you can benefit from some level of treatment. The most effective way to determine what kind of care you might require is to reach out to a psychological or medical professional or contact a treatment center for more information.
You do not have to grapple with the ups and downs of ecstasy abuse or addiction. You can regain control over your life and begin healing from the inside out. You can improve your physical and psychological wellbeing simply by ending use and never picking up ecstasy again. A professional treatment center can show you how to make this your reality.
If you need help, or someone you know is in trouble, please do not hesitate to contact us right now. Do not let another minute go back. Call us today. We can help.