What Parents Should Know About Ecstasy Use

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. By learning what parents should know about Ecstasy use — including the signs, dangers and facts — you can help prevent your teen from using Ecstasy.

What are some signs my child is using Ecstasy?

* Muscle tension
* Involuntary teeth clenching or grinding of teeth
* Nausea
* Rapid eye movement
* Fixation on sights and sounds
* Chills and sweating
* Euphoria
* Increased inhibition
* Some hallucinations
* After-effects can include anxiety, paranoia and depression
* Changes in sleeping patterns
* Declining grades
* Loss of interest in hobbies or favorite activities
* Paraphernalia that is used to enhance the effects, such as pacifiers, lollipops, menthol vapor rub, surgical-type masks

How is Ecstasy used?

Ecstasy is usually sold as a pill or tablet. Ecstasy is taken orally and in some cases crushed into a fine powder for snorting.

What are the street names for Ecstasy?

* X, E, or XTC
* Candy
* Roll
* Adam
* Bean
* Hug Drug
* Love Drug
* Happy Pill
* E-bomb

What are some of the dangers of Ecstasy use?

Long-term effects of Ecstasy use include confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, severe anxiety, and impaired cognitive abilities and memory. 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 hypothermia, a sharp increase in body temperature that can result in failure of the liver, kidney and cardiovascular system.

What are some facts and statistics on teens and Ecstasy use?

* In 2008, 6.2 percent of high school seniors said they had tried Ecstasy at least once in their lifetime. (MTF)
* Ecstasy use among teens declined from 2002 to 2006. (SAMHSA)
* 43 percent of young adults who used MDMA met the diagnostic criteria for dependency. (NIDA)
* Between 2005 and 2008, abuse of MDMA among high school seniors increased from 3.0 percent to 4.3 percent. (MTF)

What can I do to prevent Ecstasy use in my teen?

* Be alert about warning signs.

* Discuss the dangers of drug use with your child. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, teens are 50 percent less likely to use drugs if they learn the risks of drug use from their parents.

* Monitor your teen’s whereabouts and get to know their friends and their friends’ parents.

* Take action if you see any signs of abuse or sense that something is wrong. Don’t wait or the abuse could turn into an addiction.

How do I choose a teen Ecstasy rehab?

When deciding on a rehab, you should focus on which types of treatment they offer, staff credentials, if they have the proper licensing, what types of aftercare programs they offer to prevent relapse. You’ll want to decide if your teen needs residential or out-patient rehab, assisted detox, or treatment for a dual diagnosis of a co-occurring disorder. Talking to a medical doctor about your teen’s symptoms can help you determine which type of treatment you should seek.


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.