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Long Term Effects of Ecstasy

MDMA or ecstasy is a drug classified as a stimulant or hallucinogen. The effects can vary depending on the type of ecstasy pill you get. Pills can be cut with ketamine, caffeine, ephedrine and amphetamine. Short-term side effects generally include euphoria, increased sense of well being, increased sense of touch and increased sociability. Negative short-term effects include increased body temperature, blurred vision, jaw clenching, difficulty sleeping, increased heart-rate and blurred vision. Some users die as a result of dehydration, or hyperthermia (extreme increased body heat). Some users die of water poisoning as a result of drinking too much water while under the influence of the drug.

In 2006 The Guardian UK posted an article about a London man that had ingested 40,000 Ecstasy pills over the course of 9 years. This is currently the most pills ever reported taken. After a 9 year battle with the drug, the man submitted himself over to doctors in the London area that studied the long term effects of his drug use. The man has extreme difficulty functioning in his everyday life. His short term memory was lost and he suffered paranoia, hallucinations, tunnel vision and muscle rigidity.

Though his case is extreme, doctors believe that anyone taking MDMA is at risk to develop these long-term side effects. According to the Western Journal of Medicine, MDMA use can cause cognitive disorders and mood disturbances. Taking ecstasy releases serotonin in the brain. Over time, the neurons that produce serotonin can become permanently damaged. Some users of the drug have suffered long term depression and anxiety. Others have suffered difficulty learning or memory problems. Dr. George Ricarut at John Hopkins University believed that ecstasy use may be toxic to the brain according to brain scans from a study he did. Research in animals have shown the negative long term effects of permanent brain damage. Currently scientists have not concluded if the damage done by ecstasy is permanent and research about the long term effects is still limited.

Though ecstasy is not believed to be physically addictive, users can become mentally addicted to the drug especially if the user has a history of drug or alcohol addiction. As with any drug addict, ecstasy users crave the sensations brought on while under the influence.

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