MDMA Addiction Treatment

What is MDMA?

MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), also commonly known as ‘ecstasy’, is a powerful synthetic drug that dramatically alters an individual’s mood and perception. The effects of MDMA are similar to those experienced after taking amphetamine and hallucinogenic drugs, with MDMA also having a very similar chemical structure to these substances. MDMA typically comes in white powder form which can be dabbed onto the gums, snorted or smoked. However, more commonly, MDMA is mixed with other chemicals and substances and sold as an ecstasy tablet.

What are the effects of MDMA?

When taken, MDMA causes a release of the brain’s ‘feel good’ chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, which results in feelings of intense happiness, closeness, and intimacy as well as euphoria and extreme energy. These MDMA drug effects have resulted in this substance becoming widely known as a ‘party drug’ and being highly popular amongst club-goers.

Is MDMA/ecstasy addictive?

MDMA use causes tolerance to build very quickly, resulting in individuals having to take more and more of the drug in order to experience the initial effects. However, there is currently little evidence to suggest that MDMA causes physical dependence, addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Having said that, it is common for MDMA to take on a disproportionate importance in people’s lives, thus resulting in psychological dependence on the drug. 

Whilst MDMA itself is not physically addictive, ecstasy tablets are often ‘cut’ (mixed), with other addictive substances such as benzodiazepines and opiates, which can cause a physical addiction if taken in large quantities.

Treatment for MDMA addiction

At Priory, we understand that seeking help for your MDMA addiction can be an overwhelming and daunting prospect. That’s why we offer a free initial addiction assessment with an experienced therapist at all of our addiction treatment hospitals and clinics, to help you discuss your MDMA addiction in confidence, in a highly supportive and compassionate environment.

Following your initial assessment, our specialist team will be able to create a bespoke treatment plan for you, as a means of tackling your psychological addiction to MDMA, as well as addressing any underlying causes and triggers. Each and every one of our patients can be assured that our world class addictions specialists possess a wealth of experience in delivering tried and tested treatment for a range of drug addictions, including MDMA addiction.

Treatment for MDMA addiction will typically consist of a supported withdrawal process, as a means of removing all traces of the substance from your body. Once withdrawal has been completed, you will then be able to commence with rigorous MDMA rehabilitation consisting of 1:1, group and family therapy based on the 12-Step abstinence model, and a personalised blend of therapeutic approaches to tackle your unique addiction and enable lifelong MDMA recovery.

What are the signs and symptoms of MDMA addiction?

The following may all be signs that you have developed a psychological dependency on MDMA:

  • Frequent use of MDMA/ecstasy in everyday life, not just when attending a party or club
  • Taking the drug via different methods, or mixing this with lots of different drugs, in order to experience a better high
  • Finding that you need to take increasing amounts of the drug in order to experience the desired effects
  • Continuing to take MDMA even after suffering negative consequences as a result e.g. financial problems, social isolation, impaired work performance
  • Taking MDMA becomes more important than engaging in activities that you once enjoyed
  • Engaging in increasingly risky behaviours when under the influence of MDMA
  • Feeling as though you want to stop taking MDMA, but finding that you are unable to
  • Friends and family have noticed dramatic changes in your appearance and behaviour
  • Neglecting responsibilities due to being high on MDMA, or experiencing a ‘comedown’
  • Inability to stop thinking about when, where and how you will get your next MDMA fix, and feeling as though this is taking over your life
  • Being secretive and defensive about your use of MDMA
  • Experiencing depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts as a result of your MDMA use
  • Only spending time with other people who take MDMA
  • Stealing money or selling valuables in order to obtain the money to buy MDMA

What are the short and long-term effects of MDMA?

MDMA use can result in a wide range of dangerous short and long-term effects.

Short-term effects of MDMA use include:

Short-term physical effects of MDMA:

  • Severe dehydration which can lead to hospitalisation
  • Intense thirst leading to over-hydration (drinking too much water), which can cause brain swelling, brain damage and even death
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle cramps and tension
  • Feeling faint and dizzy
  • Teeth clenching and grinding
  • Dilated pupils
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Palpitations and heart arrhythmia
  • Seizures

Short-term psychological effects of MDMA:

  • Exaggerated sense of love and intimacy
  • Loss of inhibitions, leading to risky behaviour
  • Confusion
  • Impaired judgement which can lead to accidents
  • Hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren’t real)
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Intense anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal thoughts and self-harm tendencies

Whilst there is little research examining the long term effects of MDMA use on the human brain, early trials suggest that using this drug in large quantities may eventually result in:

  • Permanent brain damage affecting your behaviours, thoughts, sleep, emotions and learning
  • A reduction in your brain’s ability to produce serotonin and dopamine, resulting in feeling low in mood and being unable to experience pleasure when you are not using MDMA
  • Long-term depression, anxiety and memory loss
  • Kidney failure due to chemical poisoning and frequent dehydration
  • Internal haemorrhaging of the brain and organs
  • Schizophrenia and drug-induced psychosis
  • Heart damage and cardiovascular collapse resulting from pressure to arteries, vessels and valves
  • Convulsions and seizures
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Heart attack

MDMA addiction withdrawal symptoms

Whilst evidence suggests that MDMA is not physically addictive, people have reported experiencing a range of psychological ‘withdrawal’ symptoms when they stop taking MDMA. Psychological symptoms of MDMA withdrawal may include:

  • Severe depression
  • Acute anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Impatience
  • Lack of concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Anger
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding MDMA addiction treatment and rehab, please call  0800 144 8969 or click here for a free addiction assessment.