Ecstasy Addiction Symptoms and Warning Signs

This Page was last reviewed and changed on June 23rd 2021

Content Overview

Some signs of psychological dependence include frequent cravings, unease when the drug is not available, and preoccupation with ecstasy – such that you spend a lot of time and money trying to get it.

There are other signs, such as hiding your addiction from others, the unwillingness or inability quit, even when you recognise that the substance is causing harm, and dealing with legal or financial difficulties as a result of ecstasy abuse.

Ecstasy, which is the common street name for a version of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), is a psychoactive stimulant which also has hallucinogenic properties. It is an illegal synthetic drug categorised under Class A in the UK and a Schedule 1 drug in the US, which, as of 2018, has no medical use. The stimulant properties of ecstasy induce feelings of alertness and energy, while its hallucinogenic properties bring about sensations of distorted reality.

Ecstasy is mostly abused in raves, nightclubs and parties. The drug comes in a pill form which users mostly consume in large doses to increase its effects. Abusing ecstasy in these circumstances puts users at great risk, as they could easily become dehydrated and suffer hyperthermia. It’s important to understand when your use of ecstasy, or that of your loved one, is getting out of control in order to avert the dangers of the drug. There are signs and symptoms to look out for that indicate the use of ecstasy.

Ecstasy Addiction

An addiction to ecstasy happens when you lose control of your consumption. This stems from the hunger to use the drug repeatedly to induce effects of excitement, high energy, euphoria, and increased self-esteem. As an addict, you’ll continue to use the drug despite knowing the dangers that come with it.

The Signs of Addiction

Spotting an ecstasy addiction can be hard because the withdrawal symptoms of the drug aren’t very obvious, and users comprise young people who abuse the drug in social settings. However, understanding the health, behavioural, and emotional signs of ecstasy addiction can help you find out the situation of your loved one.

While it’s hard to come to the realisation that you’re abusing and may have become addicted to the drug yourself, it’s important that you look around you to weigh the changes and damages that may have occurred in your life since you started using ecstasy. Finding out these signs can help you understand that you need help.

Changes in social circle

Ecstasy is commonly abused in social circles and the drugs’ effects bring these people together more often. If your loved one or teenager begin to abuse ecstasy, you’ll notice that they no longer keep company that discourages drug use.

There’ll be a shift to friends who love partying and experimenting with illicit drugs. What’s more, they may no longer show up at social events, like family get-togethers, as they used to. They’d rather spend more time in social gatherings where there’ll have access to the drug.

A preoccupation with ecstasy use

Ecstasy addicts are typically fixated on the rush the drug provides and are always looking forward to their next dose. This will be indicated by their unease around other people and their irritable behaviours when they have been without the drug for a while.

They will also forego certain responsibilities for the chance to get their hands on their next dose. This will be noticeable in their dealings with strange people who they never dealt with in the past and an eagerness to join groups and company that are into drug use.

Unusual level of energy

The stimulant effects of ecstasy induce an abnormal level of energy in users. If you suspect a loved one of ecstasy abuse and addiction, you’ll notice that they’re unusually stimulated for long hours, actively friendly in an abnormal, unusual manner, will be awake for long hours, and could be dancing and having fun for a long time.

Problems in social life

Ecstasy addicts go out of their way to get their hands on the drug and may be blinded by the risks involved in spending so much time and money on it. This results in the addict going through financial problems and suffering employment issues. The illegal status of the drug could also expose addicts to clashes with law enforcement, and jail for possession.

It’s also possible that they could lose their jobs after failing routine drugs tests because they’ll almost always be using. If your loved one is going through legal, employment, and financial problems, this could be an indication that they’re addicted to ecstasy.

Changes in reactions

Ecstasy heightens the senses, and this will show as your loved one reacts to certain stimuli when they are “high”. They’ll have a low sensation of pain, meaning they won’t realise that they’re hurt when they are. They’ll also be sensitive to light and music and will have a heightened sense of pleasure when touched.

Other Names for Ecstasy

Ecstasy is known by many street names and Molly is one of the most popular. However, Molly is a different name for MDMA which is used to identify the crystal-like or white powder version of the drug, unlike the tablet or pill form that is identified as ecstasy.

Both ecstasy and Molly are designer drugs that are often mixed with other substances. Although Molly is sold as a pure version of MDMA, there’s no way for consumers to verify what the compound they’re given contains.

Some other names for ecstasy include:

  • Mandy
  • E
  • Beans
  • Adam
  • Candy
  • Cowies
  • Hug drugs
  • Crystal
  • Dancing beans
  • E-bomb
  • Skitties
  • Pink superman
  • Vowels
  • Smartee
  • And many others

The Symptoms of Ecstasy Addiction

Symptoms of ecstasy abuse come in different forms and will affect every user differently. Using ecstasy, for some people, can be immediately dangerous, resulting in serious health consequences like seizures and a dangerously high body temperature. Symptoms may also aggravate existing medical conditions in the user, which could be fatal.

Physical symptoms

Some short and long-term physical symptoms of ecstasy abuse include:

Psychological symptoms

Psychological symptoms include the following:

  • Psychosis
  • A heightened sense of euphoria, empathy and excitement
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Impaired judgement
  • Confusion

How to Spot MDMA Addiction?

Finding out that someone is addicted to MDMA can be difficult, especially when this person is a close relative or friend. The drug affects everyone differently and symptoms can take different forms. What’s more, users tend to know how to conceal their drug use and, when confronted, they mostly deny it.

However, you can tell that a person is using and may have become addicted to MDMA as a result of certain behaviours and lifestyle changes, some of which include:

  • Being awake or energised at odd times
  • Being overly friendly
  • Grinding of teeth or jaw clenching
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Unusual expressions of love
  • Increased empathic capacity
  • Reduced depression and anxiety
  • Increased pleasure from sensory contacts like sight and touch

How does MDMA change our reactions?

When MDMA is introduced into the body, it travels to the brain to trigger an abnormal release of neurochemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These chemicals are responsible for certain sensory functions like pain management, pleasure, mood, and sleep, among others. When they’re spiked, you’ll experience a rush of euphoria and increased reactions.

How does ecstasy change our perceptions?

Our perceptions are heightened and reduced due to the effects of ecstasy on brain chemicals. When serotonin levels are affected, this results in an abnormal perception of pain, touch, reality, and time.

What Are the Signs I May Need an Interventionist?

You’ll need urgent intervention when your use of ecstasy begins to get out of control. This will be indicated by symptoms and complications that you may begin to exhibit such as cardiovascular breakdown, kidney damage, severe depression, as well as psychosis, among many other possible symptoms of abuse.

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Ecstasy Abuse vs Addiction

Abusing ecstasy can be different from being addicted to the drug. While addicts generally abuse the drug, some that are abusing may not yet be addicted. However, you should note that the legal status of ecstasy makes just using abuse.

Signs and symptoms of abuse can include paranoia, dilated pupils, unusual energy, and a reduced sense of pain while indications of addiction include behavioural changes, obsession toward using the drug, as well as financial difficulties and the onset of withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued.

How Is Ecstasy Addiction Treated?

Addiction to ecstasy is a dangerous disease that can put any user at mortal risk. While addiction to the drug can cause major damage to every aspect of your life, you should be concerned that you may lose your life in the long run. If your loved one is showing serious signs of addiction, it’s critical that you get them help.

To break free from an ecstasy addiction, you ideally need professional help, especially when your issue is chronic, and you may have abused other drugs alongside ecstasy. Treatment for ecstasy in a detox facility will always be tailored to your unique condition.


Your treatment programme will ideally start with a medical detox, in which your body will get rid of the ecstasy remnants still in your system. This process will address your physical dependence on the drug and manage your withdrawal symptoms appropriately.


Once detox is over, you’ll transition to rehab, where you’ll go through psychological treatment via behavioural therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy among others.


Your recovery from addiction will not end with treatment. Recovery is an ongoing process that goes beyond your treatment and your rehab centre will put you through an aftercare programme once you leave the facility. You should also make a personal effort by joining support groups that will help you stay on course with recovery.

Do I Need Treatment for Ecstasy?

Ecstasy addiction requires treatment in cases where you can’t get yourself to stop using after abusing the drug over a long period. When ecstasy use begins to result in certain conditions such as extreme situations like psychosis, anxiety, depression, impaired judgement, and mental confusion, there’s an urgent need for treatment to reverse these alarming psychological conditions and get the user to quit.

Do I need detox or rehab for ecstasy addiction?

Detox is an essential part of treatment because this is the stage where you’ll eliminate ecstasy from your system so that your body can regain its chemical balance and learn to function normally without the drug. The detox process comes with withdrawal symptoms that may be severe depending on the level of your addiction, which will require medical help to alleviate them and avert complications.

Rehab completes the treatment process which is put in motion by detox. Through rehab, your mental issues that may have resulted in your addiction or those caused by your dependence on ecstasy will be addressed. Psychologists will, through therapy, help you learn different methods that you can employ to manage relapse triggers and defeat cravings.

Ecstasy Addiction Statistics

Deaths attributed to ecstasy abuse in the UK rose from 57 to 63 between 2015 to 2016. Experts believe that the reason for the increase in death is due to the synthetic nature of new designer pills. The use of ecstasy continues to grow, as more and more teenagers are exposed to the drug. Producers looking to earn more are now coming up with different combinations to increase the potency of the drug.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I need detox?

Ecstasy disrupts the brain’s chemistry and can cause damaging health conditions if use isn’t discontinued in time. To get free from an addiction to ecstasy, the drug has to be flushed out of the system at the beginning of treatment through detoxification to help the body regain its chemical balance and function normally again.

Ideally, you’ll need to detox the moment ecstasy is introduced to your body. It’s safe to stop using after your last dose, in the event that you’ve taken it for the first time. However, if you’ve been taking the drug in large doses over a long period, please endeavour to see an addictions expert to help you with a detox plan that will safely remove the drug from your system.

How to tell my family I am addicted to ecstasy?

If you’ve been using ecstasy for a while and are exhibiting signs of abuse, chances are, your family may be nursing suspicions or may already be aware of your addiction. Being addicted to ecstasy means you need all the help you can get to break free from your addiction and lead a normal life. And, with the help of your family members and loved ones, you’ll have a higher chance of achieving recovery.

While it’s understandable that you may feel like you’ve let them down and don’t have the courage to face them, they’re most likely concerned about your situation and safety and will be willing to help you get your life back on track. You can approach those you’re closest to in an apologetic manner, stating how aware you are of your behaviour and the impact it has had on your life, as well as your willingness to get help and turn over a new leaf.

How to tell if my teen is hiding their ecstasy use?

Due to the common use of ecstasy in clubs, music festivals, and parties, teens are one of the demographics that are most affected by ecstasy abuse and addiction. There are various signs and behavioural changes that will point to your teens’ use of this drug. Some of the signs that you should look out for include:

Absenteeism at school: skipping classes is a general indication that something is wrong. If your teen is no longer attending school, there’s something drawing them away and you shouldn’t omit drug use from the possible reasons.

Irritability: this is a common sign in teenagers who have used ecstasy the previous day.

Difficulty sleeping: ecstasy increases energy to abnormal levels, causing lack of sleep in those that use. If you notice that your teens’ sleep pattern has become abnormal, this can be a sign of ecstasy use.

Late nights: ecstasy is often found at nightclubs or parties. As a parent, you should keep an eye on your teen if they often sneak out at night.

Why is ecstasy dangerous?

The psychoactive and addictive effects of ecstasy make the drug potentially lethal to the body if taken for a considerably long time. In fact, most susceptible users are faced with immediate toxicity which can lead to life-threatening health effects after taking a single dose.

Can I drive after having taken ecstasy?

The UK’s Drug Driving Law prohibits driving under the influence of certain prescription drugs and other substances, including ecstasy, which can impair the motor skills and the reaction of the driver. The penalty for driving even after a day of ecstasy use is the same as drink driving.

What is the legal status of ecstasy?

Ecstasy is an illegal substance in the UK and is categorised as a Class A substance alongside drugs like crack cocaine, cocaine, methadone, and heroin. You can get a prison sentence of 7 years or an unlimited fine or both for possession alone, with the penalty for supply and production attracting a steeper sentence of life imprisonment, a fine or both.

Why is my use affecting my relationships?

Ecstasy use and addiction can hurt your relationship with others as you’ll begin to place more priority on your use of the drug over other responsibilities in your life such as your commitment to these relationships. You’ll also begin to go absent during appointments and will disappoint in carrying out certain tasks. Essentially, your relationships will be affected because your use of ecstasy will turn you into a completely different person.

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