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How Long Does it Take to Come Down from Ecstasy?

mdma_pillsEcstasy, also known as MDMA, is a common drug in the class of intoxicants called “club drugs.”

These substances are known for their use in nightclubs, dance clubs, raves, and general parties. They’re sought out by individuals who attend these events in order to enhance the party experience. Ecstasy has all the aspects of a good party drug; it enhances one’s perception of colors and sound, increases sociability and one’s sense of empathy, and boosts energy. The feeling of bliss associated with this intoxicants is how ecstasy got its name.

These effects occur because of the drug’s ability to block the reuptake of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are associated with happiness and pleasure, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The brain therefore becomes “flooded” with these chemicals. After hours of this, the brain attempts to compensate for this unnatural activity by releasing less of these neurotransmitters in the first place. Then, when intake of the drug stops, users tend to experience a “crash” that results in opposite effects.

Symptoms of an ecstasy crash include:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in self-perception

After a few hours or a good night’s sleep, depending on how long an individual was on the drug, the brain adjusts itself back to normal. However, if the person continues to use ecstasy, taking it the next day and continuing regular intake for several days or weeks, the brain will develop a serious tolerance to the intoxicant. The compounded effects that cause a crash from a one-night bender can result in serious withdrawal symptoms that can last for days.

Addiction and Withdrawal Treatment

doctorThe symptoms from an ecstasy crash are bad enough; enduring several days of that can be very difficult. Ecstasy is a potentially addictive substance, and withdrawal is involved. People who become addicted to ecstasy or any other drug find that they can’t seem to get through the day without it. Even though it may seem unhealthy or begins to cause interpersonal, financial, or even legal problems, they can’t stop taking it. As the addicted person’s tolerance increases, quitting may seem like a monumental task.

Fortunately, there are options to make it easier. There are 14,500 addiction treatment centers in the US alone, and most of them are equipped to handle detoxification from common drugs like ecstasy. Medically supervised detox is a program that allows addicted individuals to stay in a hospital or specialized facility for the duration of the acute withdrawal symptoms. Medical professionals can therefore monitor clients for symptoms of distress and treat any uncomfortable symptoms as they appear. With simple antidepressants,nonaddictive sleep medications, and a supportive atmosphere, it’s much easier to endure withdrawal symptoms and avoid relapse.

Even if medically supervised detox isn’t necessary, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor or addiction specialist before attempting to quit taking a drug that one is addicted to. Doctors can prescribe medications and give advice to individuals planning to go through withdrawal at home. It’s also important to follow detox with rehabilitation services and, ideally, long-term participation in some kind of support group or ongoing therapy. Overcoming addiction is a lifelong journey, and people tend to find they get the best results from making that journey with the help and support of others.