Ecstasy

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Ecstasy                                       

   MDMA, called "Adam," "ecstasy," or "XTC" on the street, is a synthetic, psychoactive (mind-altering) drug with amphetamine-like and hallucinogenic properties. Its chemical structure (3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is similar to two other synthetic drugs, MDA and   methamphetamine, which are known to cause brain damage.

   Health Hazards

     Beliefs about MDMA are reminiscent of the claims made about LSD in the 1950s and 1960s, which   proved to be untrue. According to its proponents, MDMA can make people trust each other and can break down barriers between therapists and patients, lovers, and family members.

   Many of the risks users face with MDMA use are similar to those found with the use of amphetamines and cocaine. They are:

        Psychological difficulties, including confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, severe anxiety, and paranoia - during and sometimes weeks after taking MDMA (even  psychotic episodes have been reported).

        Physical symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness, and chills or sweating.

        Increases in heart rate and blood pressure, a special risk for people with circulatory or heart disease.

   Recent research findings also link MDMA use to long-term damage to those parts of the brain critical to thought and memory. It is thought that the drug causes damage to the neurons that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with other neurons. In monkeys, exposure to MDMA for 4 days caused brain damage that was evident 6 to 7 years later. This study provides further evidence that people who take MDMA may be risking permanent brain damage.

   Also, there is evidence that people who develop a rash that looks like acne after using MDMA may be risking severe side effects, including liver damage, if they continue to use the drug.

   MDA, the parent drug of MDMA, is an amphetamine-like drug that has also been abused and is similar in chemical structure to MDMA. Research shows that MDA destroys serotonin-producing neurons in the brain, which play a direct role in regulating aggression, mood, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain. It is probably this action on the serotonin system that gives MDA its purported properties of height-ened sexual experience, tranquillity, and conviviality.

   MDMA also is related in its structure and effects to methamphetamine, which has been shown to cause degeneration of neurons containing the neurotransmitter dopamine. Damage to these neurons is the underlying cause of the motor disturbances seen in Parkinson's disease. Symptoms of this disease begin with lack of coordination and tremors and can eventually result in a form of paralysis.  

 

 

 



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