Ecstasy is a hallucinogenic and stimulant drug that’s manufactured to elicit a number of pleasant feelings, such as relaxation, euphoria, and empathy. The drug comes in the form of brightly colored tablets that can be swallowed whole, or crushed and then smoked or snorted.
People who are high on ecstasy tend to grind their teeth, are sensitive to light and touch, will have dilated pupils, will have extraordinary sensory experiences, and will likely have high blood pressure, an elevated temperature, and a faster heart rate.
When people take ecstasy for a prolonged period, they may become dependent on the drug, and they experience withdrawal when they stop taking it. There are many symptoms of withdrawal, but with ecstasy, it can be even more complicated because the drug is often cut with other substances and chemicals.
Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Ecstasy Withdrawal
When a person becomes addicted to a drug, biochemical changes happen in the brain that lead to a compulsion to get high. Similarly, when a person is dependent on a drug (which is a precursor to addiction), the body builds a tolerance to the drug, and the brain begins getting used to functioning while high. When this happens, the brain doesn’t function properly without the substance anymore, and this causes the symptoms of withdrawal that people experience.
During an ecstasy withdrawal and detox, a person can expect to experience physical symptoms such as:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Appetite loss
- Decreased interest in sex
- Loss of motor control
- Cravings for the drug
- Difficulty with memory and attention
Ecstasy withdrawal doesn’t just affect people physically, and there are a number of unpleasant psychological symptoms one can expect to experience during this time as well. Some of the most common experiences during ecstasy withdrawal include:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Hostility and irritability
- Mood swings
Because these symptoms are unpleasant, the risk of relapse is highest during detox, because retaking the drug will alleviate the symptoms. However, the risk of overdose during a relapse is also very high, because a person’s tolerance for the drug can drop.
Ecstasy Withdrawal Effects
When a person takes ecstasy, the drug affects the brain by flooding it with norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. Some of the common effects of ecstasy withdrawal, therefore, are:
The brain can no longer produce the same quantities of neurotransmitters
Depression sets in because of the lack of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin
The brain has to adapt to operating without the drug again
Ecstasy Withdrawal Timeline
There are many factors that can impact how long the symptoms of withdrawal will last, including drug use history, dosage, the presence of co-occurring mental disorders, age, polydrug use, genetics, and more. However, the worst of the symptoms will typically peak within a week of starting an ecstasy detox, and the detox experience generally follows a similar timeline for everyone:
Within 12 hours: After 3 to 6 hours, the ecstasy will stop affecting the brain, and a person will start to experience withdrawal symptoms after about 12 hours. The most common symptoms at this time include cravings, depression, and difficulty controlling one’s behavior. People may also experience panic attacks, insomnia, out-of-body experiences, confusion, delusions, and difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality.
Day 3: Around this time, the body will have fully processed the drug, and while the other symptoms will persist, some new symptoms will appear as well, including anxiety, irritability, fatigue, mood swings, loss of appetite, and difficulty concentrating.
Day 10: Most withdrawal symptoms will have peaked by now, but a person may also start to experience muscle stiffness and hallucinations. Symptoms will start to abate after this time as the brain adapts to functioning again without ecstasy.
Days 11 through 90: It can take a couple of months for the symptoms of withdrawal to fully subside, and during this time it’s most likely that the depression and cravings will be the most persistent.
Ecstasy Detox Process
The first step on the road to recovery is an ecstasy detox and withdrawal at a drug treatment facility. By choosing a medically supervised detox, people get access to supervision, medical care, a drug-free environment, and a crucial support system that will reduce the chances of relapse and drastically increase the chances of success.
When a person first arrives, there will be an evaluation, which will include a medical examination, getting a patient history, and creating a personalized treatment plan. After the initial assessment, the detox will begin, and this means complete abstinence to let the body process and eliminate the drugs. Once the symptoms of withdrawal have settled down, the real work can begin, and that includes therapy and counseling to help a client address the causes of the addiction, identify triggers and stresses, and gain the coping skills and self-awareness necessary to prevent a relapse in the future.
At Futures, we help clients work through their ecstasy addictions. Our accredited staff will be there every step of the way as the client goes through detox and withdrawal, begins therapy to work through the emotional, behavioral, and social issues that led to the addiction, and even long after recovery through our aftercare programs. Asking for help is the first step on the long path to sobriety. We can make the journey as easy as possible, and provide the best opportunity possible for long-term health, happiness, and recovery. Call today to learn about our programs.