Ecstasy is a club drug teens use to feel euphoric when they are partying at a club or all night rave. It is very dangerous not only because when you are high you are more likely to take serious risks, but it has a harmful effect on a teen's brain.
Ecstasy is a slang term for MDMA, short for methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a long name that represents the long all-night parties often called raves, where MDMA is used.
1. What does ecstasy look like? How do teens use it?
2. Know that ecstasy can be addictive for teens.
Ecstasy, or MDMA, produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth and distortions in time, perception, and tactile experiences. Teens see it as a way to increase their partying fun, stay awake and uplift their mood. Because it does all of these things, teens want to take it again and again.
As reported by the NIDA, a survey found that 43 percent of teens and young adults who reported ecstasy use met the accepted diagnostic criteria for dependence, as evidenced by continued use despite knowledge of physical or psychological harm, withdrawal effects and tolerance. These results are consistent with those from similar studies in other countries that suggest a high rate of ecstasy dependence among users. Ecstasy abstinence-associated withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, depressed feelings and trouble concentrating.
3. What are the signs that my teen is high on ecstasy?Psychological difficulties happen during ecstasy use and sometimes weeks after taking ecstasy.
- sleep problems
- drug craving
- severe anxiety
- muscle tension
- involuntary teeth clenching
- blurred vision
- rapid eye movement
- chills or sweating
- increases in heart rate and blood pressure
4. What are the long term effect of teen ecstasy use?
Research findings link ecstasy use to long-term damage to those parts of the brain critical to thought and memory, similar effects to cocaine and meth use. It is believed that the drug causes damage to the neurons that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with other neurons.
Ecstasy or MDMA, as it is also known, is related in structure and effects to methamphetamine, which has been shown to cause degeneration of neurons containing the neurotransmitter dopamine. Damage to dopamine containing neurons is the underlying cause of the motor disturbances seen in Parkinson's disease. Symptoms of this disease begin with lack of coordination and tremors, and can eventually result in a form of paralysis.
5. Ecstasy drug paraphernalia in their room or in personal belongings.
The drug paraphernalia that parents may find in and around their teen's rooms or in their backpacks are pacifiers and lollipops which are used to keep the teen from grinding their teeth. Glow sticks, menthol vapor rub and surgical-type masks are used to enhance and stimulate the effects of ecstasy on the senses.
If you find these objects in your teen's room, you'll want to talk to them about possible ecstasy use. Do not shy away from having this talk as it is the first step to getting your teen help if they are using drugs.