Ecstasy (MDMA): Therapeutic use, Treatment. Ecstasy rehab.

Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 2:00 pm

Official names: Ecstasy, 3,4-Methylenedioxymetham-phetamine (MDMA)
Street names: E, XTC, X, Adam, lover’s speed, hug drug, roll, bean, M, clarity, disco biscuits, Scooby snacks, bibs
Drug classifications: Schedule I, stimulant with hallucinogenic properties


Key terms

DOPAMINE: Neurotransmitter associated with the regulation of movement, emotional response, pleasure, and pain.
METABOLISM: The body’s ability to break down and process substances taken into the body.
NEURONS: Nerve cells found throughout the central nervous system. Neurons release neurotransmitters.
NEUROTRANSMITTER: Chemical in the brain that transmits messages between neurons, or nerve cells.
RECEPTOR: A specialized part of a nerve cell that recognizes neurotransmitters and communicates with other nerve cells.
S E ROTO NIN: An important neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates mood, appetite, sensory perception, and other central nervous system functions.
SYNAPSE: The gap between communicating nerve cells.
SYNERGY: The effect from a combination of drugs that is greater than the sum of their individual effects.



MDMA was developed in Germany in 1912 and patented in 1914 by the German pharmaceutical company Merck. It does not appear to have been specifically created for any particular use, but rather, resulted from another drug development procedure. There is practically no historical mention of the drug again until the 1950s, when the United States army experimented with it as an agent of psychological warfare. As a result of therapeutic drug experiments in the late 1960s and early 1970s, people began to use MDMA recreationally because they liked the feelings of well being and openness it produced, and by psychotherapists who gave the drug to their patients to enhance therapy as a “penicillin for the soul.” Presumably it was around this time MDMA picked up the name ecstasy, which comes from the Greek ekstasis meaning “flight of soul from body.” Ecstasy production and use was not regulated in any way until 1985, when concerns about widespread use prompted the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to initiate medical reviews of the drug. The drug was given Schedule I status, meaning it has no accepted medical utility. Its use is now illegal in the United States.
Despite the restriction, ecstasy use has continued and dramatically increased at the turn of the millenium. In fact, ecstasy is one of the few drugs whose use is increasing among 12- to 25-year-olds. Ecstasy is most often used by young people at parties or in dance clubs, because users find that feelings of extreme happiness and uninhibited confidence produced by the drug encourage socializing, and that the drug’s stimulant properties are ideal for prolonged periods of dancing. For some time the perception was that ecstasy was not harmful, but as its use has spread exponentially, reports of death as a result of ecstasy use have become increasingly common. Researchers have also discovered that the chemical is a neurotoxin and that ecstasy users may risk depression as a result of continued use.

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