Physically Dependent on Ecstacy

Can You Develop a Physical Addiction to Ecstasy?


Physical addiction to ecstasy can occur over a period of time due to regular use of the drug. Review the signs which differentiate addiction from dependence and explain possible treatment options for an individual who may be addicted.


Physical Dependence

Physical dependence on a chemical happens when the body becomes so accustomed to the presence of a drug it manifests withdrawal symptoms when the dose is lowered or stopped. Repetitive use triggers dependence which is signaled by the presence of withdrawal symptoms. Ecstasy (MDMA) is a Schedule I drug, which means the United States Federal government deems it to have no medical benefit and a high potential for abuse. MDMA targets the same neurotransmitters other addictive drugs target. Some of the following withdrawal symptoms may occur when drug doses are lowered or stopped:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble concentrating


How Dependence Starts

MDMA works in the brain by increasing the activity of at least three neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Like other stimulants, MDMA causes the neurotransmitters to be released from storage sites in neurons, resulting in increased activity. The high which results is mainly why people use it in the first place. MDMA can, over time, trigger changes in the brain. While mechanisms of dependence are not understood, experts look at accompanying symptoms.

  • Inability to quit and control use
  • Persistent use of MDMA in spite of physical and psychological harm
  • Prioritizing ecstasy over all activities
  • Spending money and time thinking of how to obtain drug
  • Taking more of the drug than intended



A person with addiction to Ecstasy needs treatment in order to recover and live a full, healthy life without drugs. While no pharmacological treatment for addiction to ecstasy is available, there are other types of treatments which could ease and benefit recovery. Psychosocial and behavioral approaches are helpful when it comes to tackling the root of the problem and reinforcing behavioral changes. Support groups with peers can be helpful long term for offering encouragement and mutual understanding of what is required to stay clean of drugs. The recovery process typically begins with a detox phase to rid the central nervous system and body of accumulated toxins following repetitive MDMA use. During this stage, a person is likely to experience withdrawal symptoms. A doctor should be consulted prior to trying any form of treatment for addiction. Detox treatments along with appropriate follow up treatments generally yield positive results for individuals with addiction. It is helpful to locate services available in one’s own area to see what options exist along with consulting a physician to help get the process started.


Ecstasy and addiction to drugs can have long-term, devastating impacts on a person’s health and relationships. If you are struggling with the effects of addiction, there is hope. The Villa offers programs and services tailored to the individual’s needs. Call us to find out how we can help you recover from addiction.