Ecstasy Recovery Tips
Ecstasy, MDMA, X, E, Molly, these are the street names of the illegal drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine that is sweeping the party scene and destroying lives. Though euphoria and dream-like happiness are the expressed goal of its users, the ecstasy recovery process from using this dangerous drug produces symptoms that are anything but.
A whole slew of physical and psychological symptoms can and will occur when someone is recovering from ecstasy abuse and addiction. Even an experimental light dose of the drug can produce after effects that boggle the mind and arrest the body.
An addict seeking help through these symptoms should not be ignored as many of them can be life-threatening. Professional and medical treatment options are available and can be the difference between success and relapse. Ecstasy recovery is an arduous process and one that will require support from loved ones and therapeutic guidance. No one should have to go it alone.
Ecstasy Abuse and Addiction
When a person uses ecstasy they will experience a titanic shift in their powers of perception and general mood. Reality will be heightened and the worries and fears of everyday life will dissipate. The drug thrives in the nightclub and music festival scene, as the energy and carelessness it imbues transforms its users into party animals. Dancing long into the night and having unprotected intercourse with strangers becomes normal.
Other illicit drug abuse becomes regular. Compromising situations go unrecognized as the brain bubbles with euphoric happiness in even the tensest of environments. This can and does lead to the user being caught in a number of dangerous or illegal behaviors that can result in death, injury, arrest, and incarceration. These risks seem worth it to the addict, however, as what the drug does to their brain chemistry far outweighs the dangers to their body.
Ecstasy acts as a vehicle to push the brain’s neurotransmitters (the chemical compounds responsible for general attitude and desire) into overdrive. Serotonin (responsible for mood, hunger and sleep) is released in uncontrollable bursts, flooding the brain’s synapses with a feeling of general good will, while blocking the need for food and rest.
The release of norepinephrine (the neurotransmitter responsible for energy levels, threat assessment, focus and memory retrieval) will turn the ecstasy user into a shameless, stupefied, overly energized dancing machine. Dopamine (responsible for motor control, sexual arousal, and gratification) over-release adds to the dangerous cocktail by bringing a heightened sense of sexualization to even the least sexually geared interactions.
All of these neurotransmitters are produced by the brain for limited release throughout the day, while ecstasy will release them and any reserves all at once. This will leave the ecstasy abuser sapped of their serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine and all the good works they accomplish within the brain. The loss of these neurotransmitters can only be made up after long periods of healthy rest and recovery. When the abuser forms an ecstasy addiction they seek recovery through the use of more ecstasy.
Though the brain cannot replace its neurotransmitters at the rate at which they are used up by ecstasy abuse, the ecstasy addict can attempt to scrape the bottom of the barrel by taking another dose of ecstasy as soon as they are able. This will, in essence, release the last of or the newly reproduced neurotransmitters still inside their pituitary gland. However, this second release will require a higher dose of ecstasy as there are less neurotransmitter to work with.
The progressively higher doses will build up a tolerance in the addict and thus the brain’s dependence on the drug will increase in kind. Neurotransmitters will stop being reproduced and released as they would in a healthy brain and the user may come to only feel their effects if they have taken ecstasy. This leads the ecstasy user from abuse to tolerance to dependence and finally, addiction.
Recovery the Morning After
If someone you know has just woken up after a night’s long abuse of this drug they will no doubt feel the “hangover” effect ecstasy if infamous for. Known as the “come down”, this will literally be the time the user will feel the lows that a body raging on over-released neurotransmitters cannot.
All the fatigue, sadness, shame and tiredness that ecstasy expelled the night before will suddenly assault the body and brain. Ecstasy addicts will try to mitigate the come down by taking more ecstasy as soon as they possibly can. This will, of course, be counterproductive as inevitably the brain will need to have rest to reproduce its lost neurotransmitters. For everyone else, the day after will feel like a nightmare of low emotional state and utter exhaustion.
The body has just undergone a huge release of brain chemicals that are usually used sparingly or in controlled bursts. This leads to an imbalance within the ecstasy user that, once the body is able, it will attempt to correct. Antioxidants will be released to expel the dying remains of the neurotransmitters within the system. However, since ecstasy use represents such a major release of neurotransmitters, the user’s body will struggle to cope with the size of the war it is fighting.
This condition is what is known as oxidative stress and it can cause extreme fatigue in its victims. Antioxidants are, just like neurotransmitters, a limited resource with a slow production rate and using them all to expel the ecstasy induced damage can leave the drug-user open to outside disease and infection. That is part of the reason that so many ecstasy users get sick after they use the drug.
Staying up all night amongst a horde of sweating, dancing people is already a risk to their health, add to that the inability to provide the body with enough antioxidants to expel toxins and you now have a perfect equation for contracting an illness. The best way to mitigate this condition is to have plenty of Vitamin-C and antioxidant-rich foods and beverages the morning after. This may not immediately solve the issue or save an ecstasy abuser’s body from disease but it can get some much needed fighting spirit back into their cells.
As the body attempts to cope with its sudden lack of essential chemicals, the state of mind will suffer. What goes up must come down, after all, and as ecstasy’s euphoric effects wear off, the inverse of the happiness once felt will come to the fore. Sudden and severe depression will take hold as the neurotransmitters affecting mood will be depleted. This low is a near constant in anyone suffering a comedown from ecstasy abuse and can have very real consequences. Depression is best described as a general decrease in mood.
Affinities once felt for people, places and things will be replaced with dispassion or even contempt. An overall sense of sadness will permeate the attitude of someone recovering from ecstasy abuse. This can lead to a number of detrimental consequences and actions. Self-harm is at a high risk as is a lack of effort in school, work and relationships.
Depression can be treated by a doctor using medications but these should only be used after a consultation and prescription. Most people will not have legal access to these medications and may attempt to acquire them illegally to deal with the worst of their comedown. This is never a good idea as, dependent on pre-existing conditions and the presence of foreign chemicals already in the ecstasy abuser’s system, an unprescribed medication can wreak havoc.
What did I do last night? Who did I do it with? Why would I do that? These are going to be the inevitable questions of someone who has abused ecstasy the night before. The answers, or the lack thereof, can result in a high amount of anxiety. Ecstasy acts as a social lubricant and self-consciousness inhibitor, once these effects wear off the person will be stuck trying to answer all the self-conscious and worrisome questions that will suddenly plague them. This can lead to withdrawn and nervous behaviors and negatively affect the ecstasy users ability to interact with others.
The psychological assault of anxiety may push the ecstasy abuser to seek out more drugs to stave off their ecstasy withdrawal symptoms. This is how ecstasy addiction begins and so this desire should be snuffed out if at all possible. One-on-one therapy and group sessions can help to push the recovering ecstasy user away from going down the rabbit hole of dependence and can help clear the mind. Anti-anxiety medications are available if prescribed by a doctor but should not be taken without a proper examination.
Fatigue and Insomnia
The most prevalent side effects of ecstasy abuse can be the need to rest and the inability to do so. A body flooded with neurotransmitters will feel alert, awake and ready to party, but once the effects of ecstasy wear off and the neurotransmitters stop firing the reverse will suddenly be true. Fatigue of the body and mind will become almost crippling. Rest and rehydration are the right answers to recovery but the ability to sleep may actually elude the ecstasy abuser.
Insomnia, or the inability to sleep, is a common side effect of ecstasy as abusers of the drug have complicated the natural processes of the body and overstimulated the brain. Tossing and turning, trying to get to sleep even as leftover neurotransmitters fire and anxious thoughts wrack the mind will be the norm. This state of restlessness can last for weeks after ecstasy abuse and will have a deteriorating effect on the person’s state of life.
Rest is essential to a healthy body and lack of it will keep the other side effects of ecstasy withdrawal alive. Exercise, eating healthy and keeping away from ecstasy and other drugs can go a long way towards eliminating insomnia. Vitamin supplements and sleeping pills should only be taken after consultation with a medical professional as the reactions to these may vary wildly and may be harmful if ingested into a system already poisoned with ecstasy.
Ecstasy abuse puts a ton of stress on the brain and body, which can have disastrous effects if the abuse is not curtailed. Loss of memory and cognitive function are fairly common side effects of prolonged abuse. For someone who has just recently used ecstasy, they may have trouble remembering the events of their “high”.
This can lead to anxiety (as detailed above) and fear of what may have happened. People under the influence of ecstasy are far more malleable than they would be otherwise and this can lead them into a variety of compromising situations, not all of which they will remember. Abuse of the drug can lead to confusion and the inability to concentrate for long periods of time.
Recovery for Life
If you or someone you know is suffering from ecstasy addiction or abuse, then it is essential to seek professional help. The road throughout an ecstasy addiction treatment may seem like a long one and can be scary to embark upon. The fact of the matter is that recovering from ecstasy may mean abandoning friends and sacrificing behaviors.
Ecstasy is, at its core, a party drug meant to be taken with and around others. This throws the ecstasy abuser into a world they must now escape if they wish to recover from the drug. The best way to achieve a clean separation is to seek treatment at a residential recovery center so that no social pressures or high-risk individuals will be present to force them back towards their drug abuse.
Outpatient treatment centers can also be essential to bodily recovery post-ecstasy abuse but do not eliminate the outside influences that can so easily lead to relapse. Residential treatment centers guide the abuser through ecstasy detox and into long-term recovery. This is achieved by surrounding them with medical and counseling professionals who know the ins and outs of ecstasy abuse and its effect upon the human body.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an ecstasy addiction, contact Luminance Recovery today. Our Orange County rehab center provides the ultimate support and guidance needed to overcome even the most challenging addictions.
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