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The effects of ecstasy (short and long term)

The effects of ecstasy (short and long term)

November 27, 2021

Concerts, discos, parties ... In all these situations most people move for hours spending large amounts of energy until in some cases to exhaustion. However, some people use different drugs and substances in order to endure energy expenditure for hours and at the same time cause feelings of euphoria and companionship.

One of the most used substances in this regard is ecstasy or MDMA. However, this hallucinogenic substance is not harmless, but it greatly alters our organism and sometimes in a dangerous way for our health and our own life. In this article we present some of the effects of ecstasy both short and long term .


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Ecstasy or MDMA

Ecstasy or MDMA is a psychodisleptic psychoactive substance (or disturbing), a type of substances that generate changes in the activity of the brain and causes perceptual alterations and mood. Due to its chemical composition, it is part of mescaline and other drugs of the phenylalkylamines group.

This substance (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) generates an expansive and euphoric mood , increased self-confidence and ego, hyperactivation, hallucinations, alteration in the perception of time and feelings of peace and trust with others. It speeds up the heart and breathing, and reduces the feeling of hunger, thirst and physical fatigue. However, at the same time it generates a state of tranquility and relaxation.


Ecstasy is one of the most widespread hallucinogen types , being along with marijuana and cocaine one of the most consumed illegal drugs. Said consumption is generally carried out in a recreational manner, although they have sometimes been used in various investigations and even explored for therapeutic use in the 1960s.

However, ecstasy is not considered as an element with proven therapeutic properties, so it is only used as recreational drug especially at parties and discos .

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Mechanism of action

The main mechanism of action of this substance is based on the acceleration and increase in the synthesis of monoamines , affecting dopamine and serotonin.

This increase in the synthesis and transmission of these neurotransmitters explains the activating effects of ecstasy, as well as the feeling of peace, tranquility, empathy and social approach .


In addition, it is observed that the continued use of this substance causes a degradation of serotonergic neurons , which explains the presence of different side effects in chronic users and intoxications.

Short-term effects of MDMA

The immediate effects of ecstasy They are widely known and some have been mentioned previously. MDMA generates an increase in nervous activity, causing excitement and euphoria. It also generates feeling of closeness and confidence both with oneself and with others, tranquility and calmness.

In addition, another effect of ecstasy is that alters the perception of fatigue, hunger and thirst , which diminish to the point of being noticed.

Ecstasy causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which generates an increase in the level of energy we can spend and an increase in activity. However, this increase can generate severe injuries and hemorrhages muscles, kidneys, and viscera, as well as cause heart lesions in case of overdose . This factor is one of the most dangerous when MDMA is consumed.

Another of the short-term effects of ecstasy is the increase in body temperature, which is also aggravated by the increase in physical energy that the substance causes and the use that is usually given to it (usually at parties and concerts in the that jumps and dances, things that raise the temperature even more). This hyperthermia can generate fever, seizures and even death, being one of the most frequent causes of death due to this drug.

On the other hand, it can also induce visual hallucinations, confusion and an intense fear towards those around them of paranoid characteristics, especially in what is called "bad trip" .

Finally, other typical symptoms in the short term are bruxism and increased tension in the jaw, as well as hyperreflexia and muscle tension. As well Amnesia and loss of consciousness may occur , in extreme cases reaching the coma.

Effects of long-term ecstasy

Beyond the effects produced by the consumption of ecstasy immediately, it is necessary to take into account that if the consumption of this substance is prolonged in time can cause serious alterations in the body .

It has been observed through various studies that its prolonged consumption causes modifications and deterioration in serotonergic neurons, specifically producing damage to their axons, some damages that can become permanent . These modifications can generate depressive and anxious symptomatology.

The consumption of MDMA has also been linked to the loss of mental faculties such as memory and decision-making capacity, as well as sleep disturbances It has also been stated that frequent consumption of this substance can cause psychosis in a chronic manner, as well as intermittent hallucinations, increased impulsivity and aggressiveness and anxious symptomatology.

The use of ecstasy also causes damage to the blood-brain barrier while it can cause inflammation of brain tissue. It can also cause and / or facilitate the occurrence of serious or even fatal strokes or hemorrhages. Other organs that are damaged by the action of ecstasy are the liver and the heart.

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Bibliographic references:

  • Colado, M.I. (2008). Ecstasy (MDMA) and design drugs: structure, pharmacology, mechanisms of action and effects on the human being. Addictive Disorders, vol.10 (3): 175-182. Madrid.

Ecstasy Effects - long-term and short-term effects of MDMA (November 2021).


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