Ecstasy is a street term for a range of drugs that are similar in structure to MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine). Ecstasy is similar in structure and effect to amphetamines and hallucinogens. Manufacturers may substitute a wide range of substances when making the drug. In Australia, tablets sold as ecstasy often contain little or no MDMA.
What happens after using ecstasy?
- Increased heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure
- Increased confidence
- Jaw clenching, teeth grinding
- Feelings of wellbeing
- Feelings of closeness to others
- Reduced hunger
Using ecstasy is likely to increase the chances of problems for people with health problems such as heart disease, diabetes,
liver problems, epilepsy, or with a history of mental illness or panic attacks. Using larger amounts does not seem to increase the desirable effects and may cause convulsions (fits), vomiting, floating sensations, strange behaviour, and hallucinations. The ‘come down’ after using ecstasy may include sleeping
problems, mood swings, depression, anxiety, confusion, fatigue, and difficulty thinking.
Can a person overdose on ecstasy?
Yes. He or she can develop very high body temperature and blood pressure, hallucinations and fast heartbeat. Death may occur due to:
- The stimulant effect: resulting in heart attack or brain haemorrhage.
- Overheating: when combined with dancing hard and fast for long periods of time without a break.
- Drinking too much water (the brain swells from too much fluid). As a general rule, in dance or rave environments, a person who takes ecstasy should drink around 500 mL while dancing and 250 mL if resting.
What happens if a person mixes ecstasy with other drugs?
The mixing of ecstasy with other drugs can occur when the drug is being manufactured. It also occurs when a person takes other drugs to try to increase the effects, or to help him or her cope with the side effects of ecstasy. It is known that combining ecstasy with amphetamines (such as ‘speed’) will increase heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety. Taking ecstasy with other hallucinogens, such as LSD, can result in the user experiencing severe mental disturbances. Taking ecstasy while using some antidepressant medications can also be dangerous.
What are the long-term effects from using ecstasy?
There is not a lot known about the long-term effects of ecstasy use. There is limited evidence suggesting that ecstasy causes damage to some parts of the brain.