Ecstasy – What you need to know

What is Ecstasy?

Ecstasy is the common street name for MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), a synthetic, psychoactive drug that produces stimulant and hallucinogenic effects. Ecstasy produces increased euphoria, energy, emotional warmth and distorted perceptions of time and senses.

What does Ecstasy look like?

Ecstasy is usually sold as a pill or tablet.

How is Ecstasy used?

Ecstasy is taken orally and in some cases crushed into a fine powder for snorting. Its effects can be felt after 20 minutes of use and can last up to 4 to 6 hours.

Effects of Ecstasy

Ecstasy is primarily used because of the profound feelings of positivity, relaxation and empathy for others it produces.

Physical effects include:
•    Increased heart rate and blood pressure
•    Muscle tension
•    Involuntary teeth clenching
•    Nausea
•    Blurred vision
•    Faintness
•    Chills and sweating

Psychological effects include:
•    Euphoria
•    Increased inhibition
•    Some hallucinations
•    After-effects can include anxiety, paranoia and depression

Long-term effects include:
•    Confusion
•    Depression
•    Sleep problems
•    Drug craving
•    Severe anxiety
•    Impaired cognitive abilities and memory

Consequences of Ecstasy

Ecstasy can suppress the need to eat, sleep and drink, which can cause severe dehydration or exhaustion. For some people, Ecstasy can be addictive and result in dependency. Research suggests that prolonged use can be harmful to the brain. On rare occasions, high doses of Ecstasy can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature and can lead to hyperthermia, a sharp increase in body temperature that can result in failure of the liver, kidney and cardiovascular system.

Ecstasy Facts and Statistics

•    43 percent of young adults who used MDMA met the diagnostic criteria for dependency. (NIDA)
•    12.4 million Americans used MDMA in their lifetime. (NSDUH, 2007)
•    Approximately 781,000 Americans tried Ecstasy for the first time in 2007. (NSDUH, 2007)
•    Between 2005 and 2008, abuse of MDMA among high school seniors increased from 3.0 percent to 4.3 percent. (MTF)


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.