Ecstasy generally makes people who take it very happy and euphoric for a short period of time – this is known as a ‘high’. It also makes a person feel very affectionate towards total strangers they are with, overwhelmed or in awe of objects and people, and highly energetic. People under the influence of Ecstasy typically lose their inhibitions and become very talkative. They may also do or say things that are completely out of character.

Other side effects of Ecstasy abuse include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased body temperature
  • Feeling tingles
  • Tightening of the jaw muscles
  • Sickness
  • Extreme bursts of energy
  • Staying awake for long periods
  • Reduced sense of pain
  • Being impulsive
  • Clenching the teeth
  • Dry mouth and thirst
  • Sweating
  • Feeling promiscuous
  • Paranoia
  • A desire to touch and feel things
  • Heightened emotions
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations

Long-term Ecstasy use has been linked to impaired cognitive function, with users struggling to use logic and reason, solve problems, process new information, and demonstrate emotional intelligence. Those who take Ecstasy on a very frequent basis may struggle to function, feel pleasure, or regulate their emotions without the drug. If you or someone you love has a problem with Ecstasy addiction or abuse, it is very important that you seek help straight away.

Long-term warning signs of Ecstasy addiction include:

  • Degeneration in the nervous system
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Irreversible brain damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Wanting to repeatedly take more Ecstasy, in larger amounts
  • Spending increasing amounts of money on Ecstasy
  • Mood swings
  • Convulsions
  • Heart issues
  • Haemorrhaging
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Memory loss

Long-term use of Ecstasy can lead to a person neglecting social and work responsibilities as they focus more and more on their addiction. Those who frequently abuse the drug also have a high risk of doing things that are very out of character or considered impulsive and dangerous, or even illegal. Rather than experiencing withdrawal, a person abusing Ecstasy can feel very low as the comedown phase of the drug happens and the substance wears off. This is often the phase when they crave more Ecstasy.

Comedown symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Low mood and depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Lack of libido
  • Hostility and aggression
  • Problems with motor control
  • Tiredness
  • Mental confusion
  • Poor appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Inability to sleep

Research has indicated that frequent use of Ecstasy can cause brain damage. This can happen even after a few doses of the drug, and the damage can be either permanent or last for several years. Memory loss and struggles with cognitive function are main ongoing effects of long term use. If you believe that a loved one may be struggling with an ecstasy addiction, the first step is to start a conversation about seeking help and treatment. This doesn’t have to be an intervention and involve the addict’s other family and friends.

Recognising that you or someone you love has an addiction is the first step in getting help. It is a common falsehood that Ecstasy is not addictive, and many users, therefore, deny that they have a drug problem. If you are finding it difficult to get through to someone who is abusing drugs, it may be worthwhile staging an intervention.