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MDMA/Ecstasy Withdrawal and Detoxification

MDMA/Ecstasy is a psychoactive drug that produces feelings of extreme euphoria when used. A lesser known fact is that MDMA can be extremely addictive psychologically.  When a person becomes psychologically dependent on the drug, a number of withdrawal symptoms appear when the drug is quit. It is because the brain becomes used to function in the presence of the drug and when it is no more available, it has a difficulty functioning normally. Use of ecstasy significantly increases the levels of certain neurotransmitter associated with the feelings of happiness and love, the reason why user feels euphoric and emotionally warm after taking the drug. But since all the neurotransmitter is used at once, it depletes in the brain that later affects the ability of the user to feel happiness or feel pleasure from sexual intercourse.

Table of Contents:

  • 1.MDMA/Ecstasy withdrawal
  • 2.MDMA/Ecstasy Withdrawal Symptoms
  • 3.MDMA/Ecstasy Detoxification
  • 4.Withdrawal Timeline for MDMA/Ecstasy Abuse

MDMA/Ecstasy Withdrawal:

Ecstasy withdrawal can be a very unpleasant experience once the psychological dependence has been developed. If the use of this drug is prolonged, the brain of the user becomes dependent on it to function normally. When the drug is withdrawn, the brain fails to generate all those positive feelings without the drug. As the brain learns to function without the drug, a number of uncomfortable symptoms appear known as withdrawal symptoms. During withdrawal, the symptoms appearing are usually opposite of what is felt while being high for example sadness, depression etc. Also the extreme urge to take the drug kicks in.

MDMA/Ecstasy Withdrawal and Detoxification

Since the dependence on the drug is mostly psychological so symptoms that appear are also mostly psychological. However, some users may also experience physical signs. The intensity of withdrawal symptoms may vary from user to the other. Some of the common factors that influence withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Duration the drug was taken for
  • Amount of the drug used
  • Tolerance level of the user
  • Whether the user suffers from some medical condition
  • Metabolic system of the user

People who suffer from some mental or physical illness usually experience more severe withdrawal symptoms.

MDMA/Ecstasy Withdrawal Symptoms:

It is possible to experience severe psychological symptoms due to MDMA withdrawal. Physical symptoms may also appear but they are not as severe so they are easily bearable. Some common psychological symptoms associated with MDMA withdrawal include:

  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Cravings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Exhaustion
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Memory impairment
  • Declined cognitive abilities

It is a common practice by dealers to contaminate Ecstasy with other drugs such as amphetamines. Some users may take MDMA in combination with other drugs such as marijuana, cocaine etc. So, it is rare for the users to consume pure MDMA that is the reason symptoms experienced by different users may widely vary.

MDMA/Ecstasy Detoxification:

Since no serious painful physical symptoms are associated with MDMA use, its sometimes psychological symptoms that push the users to relapse. Resisting cravings and completing detoxification process successfully is crucial for the process of recovery. As the body gets itself rid of chemical accumulated due to drug use, unpleasant symptoms are experienced by the user. It is important to go through detoxification process in some detoxification center under expert supervision. Although it is possible to complete the process at home but it is not recommended because of the psychological symptoms associated with it may need medical attention at some point.

Relapse during detoxification process can be really dangerous because the user’s tolerance for the drug decreases in the process so when it is taken even in the usual amounts, extreme effects are produced. There is even a risk of overdosing that can be fatal. To help control psychological symptoms and urges to relapse, rehab centers are important.

Withdrawal Timeline for Ecstasy/MDMA Abuse:

Just like the severity of withdrawal symptoms, duration of withdrawal symptoms may also vary from one user to the other. Symptoms start to appear from the day the drug is quit and reach to their peak value within a few days. For most of the users, the symptoms last for a week. However, psychological symptoms like depression, anxiety etc may persist for several weeks after quitting the drug.

  • Days 1 to 3:
    Withdrawal symptoms start to appear. Psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, irritability, insomnia, lack of concentration and paranoia may appear with all their intensity. Loss of appetite and feeling of extreme exhaustion are also common.
  • Days 4 to 10:
    Most of the withdrawal symptoms start to improve after first week. By the end of the first week, their severity decreases a great deal. Symptoms like depression, anxiety, problem concentrating and problems with memory may still be present.
  • Day 11 and onwards:
    Depression and anxiety continue to exist. Depression can become even worse as the brain struggles to function without the drug. Other symptoms like insomnia, loss of appetite, inability to concentrate and remember things also persists. These symptoms may exist for months before they finally disappear.

It is evident that withdrawal and detoxification are pretty time taking and difficult processes. It is common for patients to relapse to avoid the pain of withdrawal symptoms. Rehab centers can greatly help to make withdrawal symptoms less painful for the patient. Both Partial hospitalization and outpatient programs offer medical detoxification. The doctor may prescribe medications to the patient to make withdrawal symptoms bearable. Since it is common to cut MDMA with other drugs, its withdrawal symptoms are very unpredictable so it is highly recommended to opt for a monitored withdrawal program.


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