Skip to:Main Content

Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
Washington and Lee University Campus Image

Ecstasy

Ecstasy or MDMA, also known as the "fun drug" or the "hug drug" has a reputation as a benign drug that makes you feel good. You feel confident. You have energy. You feel sensual; being touched is more pleasurable than usual. A drug that makes you feel this good can't be bad for you or could it??? Let's examine the facts...more and more long-term users are showing serious---and permanent---cognitive deficits.

Ecstasy is a Schedule I drug. This means there is no accepted medical benefit of the drug. Ecstasy is a synthetic psychoactive drug with both stimulant and hallucinogenic properties.

Since "E" is a stimulant, it increases body temperature. Dancing for an hour at a hot crowded party can seriously overheat someone using E. Overheating and dehydration are the most common reasons why Ecstasy users end up in the ER.

Temperature of Ecstasy users has risen as high as 109° F. This can lead to muscle breakdown, kidney and heart failure and even DEATH.

Even drinking water while dancing on Ecstasy can be hazardous. Guzzling too much water causes sodium levels to drop so much that the water is absorbed into the brain cells causing them to swell---which can be fatal.

"Rolling" or being high on ecstasy generally lasts 3-6 hours. The drug interferes with the brain's release of serotonin which regulates your mood. This can cause depression, sleep problems, severe anxiety and paranoia---these symptoms can show up weeks or months after using E.

Research shows that MDMA damages the parts of the brain used for learning and memory. Several studies have confirmed that users struggle to process and learn new information. The longer E was used and the higher the doses, the worse the memory impairment. This damage may be irreversible.

Ecstasy causes the breakdown of neurons containing dopamine. This neurological damage is similar to that seen in Parkinson's Disease, which results in a lack of coordination and tremors.

Since ecstasy is not legally manufactured you never know the actual dosage in a pill or whether it is laced with something else toxic, like PCP, speed, cocaine or LSD. SCARY...

Ecstasy can be psychologically addictive, and tolerance develops quickly. There are some definite physical effects to know about: muscle tension, teeth grinding causes enamel to be worn down leading to tooth decay, nausea, blurred vision, chills/sweating, dehydration, and reduced appetite. Use can result in heart failure or heat stroke.

Not everyone is using ecstasy. Only 6% of college students have used ecstasy in the past year.