ALERT

For the latest coronavirus care instructions and resources, please call our COVID-19 hotline at 208-381-9500. Find additional information and resources here and learn more about how we’re working to keep you healthy and safe.

toggle mobile menu Menu
toggle search menu

Site Navigation

Supplemental

Menu

Ecstasy (MDMA)

Ecstasy (MDMA)

Topic Overview

Ecstasy (MDMA) is both a stimulant (amphetamine-like) and mild calming (tranquilizing) substance. Ecstasy is also called Adam, XTC, X, hug, beans, and the love drug. Ecstasy pills often have a logo, such as cartoon characters, stamped on them. This drug is most often taken as a pill, but the powder form is sometimes snorted or, rarely, injected into a vein.

This stimulant's effects help a person dance for long periods of time without getting tired. Ecstasy is said to enhance the sense of pleasure and boost self-confidence. Its hallucinogenic effects include feelings of peacefulness, acceptance, and empathy. People who use the drug claim they experience feelings of closeness with other people and want to touch or hug others.

Ecstasy causes muscle tension and jaw-clenching, which has led to the use of baby pacifiers to reduce this discomfort. It also causes nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness, and chills or sweating. In high doses ecstasy can cause a sharp increase in body temperature, leading to dehydration, muscle breakdown, kidney failure, or heart failure and death. A person who does not drink fluids can become severely dehydrated. When ecstasy is used with alcohol, the effects can be more harmful.

Ecstasy can cause confusion, depression, sleep problems, and severe anxiety that may last weeks after taking the drug. Over time, use of ecstasy can lead to thought and memory problems. If a rash that looks like acne develops after using ecstasy, the person may be at risk for liver damage by continuing use of the drug.

Ecstasy usually does not last in a person's system longer than 12 to 16 hours. And many general drug screening tests do not detect it unless it is specifically targeted.

Signs of use

  • Sleep problems
  • Skin rash similar to acne
  • Possession of pills stamped with cartoon or other characters or possession of a powdered substance
  • Personality changes
  • Lifestyle changes, such as staying out all night at parties

Credits

Current as of: June 29, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Patrice Burgess MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Michael F. Bierer MD - Internal Medicine, Addiction Medicine

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Healthwise is a URAC accredited health web site content provider. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.