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Behavioral and Emotional Wellness

Ecstasy: What Parents Need to Know

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What It Is:

Ecstasy (3, 4-methylenedioxy-N-methamphetamine, or MDMA) is a drug that is illegally made.

Ecstasy is a stimulant drug that can cause hallucinations. It is known as a designer drug because it was created for the purpose of making someone feel high. The drug is popular with teens and young adults who go to clubs, concerts, or "rave" parties.

Users think the drug will make them feel good and enable them to keep going for days without rest. But people who use Ecstasy don't realize how dangerous this drug actually is.

Ecstasy has become one of the most common illegal drugs sold on the streets. In the last few years, Ecstasy has sent many young people to emergency rooms because of its dangerous side effects. Ecstasy can kill.

Sometimes Called:

XTC, X, Adam, E, Roll, A, 007

How It's Used:

Ecstasy can be swallowed (pill or tablet) or snorted (powder).

What It Does:

Ecstasy is both a hallucinogenic and a stimulant drug. It makes users experience a rush of good feelings (a high) and makes feelings much more intense, whether they're good or bad. The drug's effects usually last up to 6 hours.

Ecstasy increases heart rate and can cause dry mouth, clenched teeth, blurred vision, chills, sweating, or nausea. It can make some users feel anxious, confused, and paranoid, like someone is trying to hurt them or is plotting against them. Ecstasy may cause damage to brain cells that are involved in thinking and memory.

If a person takes Ecstasy, his or her body can dangerously overheat during dancing or other physical activities, which can lead to muscle breakdown, kidney, liver and heart damage, and even death. Taking the drug can cause seizures, brain swelling and permanent brain damage.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: August 2010
Originally reviewed by: Ryan L. Redman, MD

License

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995–2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

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