It is possible to build up a tolerance to ecstasy, or MDMA, just like with most other drugs. Excessive use can cause the body to build up a tolerance that requires more of the substance to get the normal effects, which always runs the risk of escalating toward overdose. The question is does tolerance lead to active addiction?
Effects of Ecstasy
The main effect of ecstasy is the “high,” which includes perceptions of increased energy, removal of emotional inhibitions, increased affection for others, and sensual and perceptual distortion similar to that caused by hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD. However, once the high wears off, ecstasy causes depression, confusion, and anxiety, as well as sleep problems. The person then feels compelled to ingest even more MDMA in order to reproduce the high, and this often leads to serious health problems.
Tolerance takes place when you take a drug regularly, and it’s effects start lessening, leading you to take more and more. Tolerance to ecstasy is pretty unusual, however one can get addicted to MDMA, which is its main psychoactive ingredient. Furthermore, chronic tolerance and bingeing are statistically linked to higher rates of drug-related psycho-biological problems.
How long does it take to develop a tolerance to ecstasy? We are still learning about that. Regular users of the drug take 2-3 tablets during a session and experienced users may take anywhere from 10-25 tablets. Researchers believe that tolerance can begin after repeated bingeing for 4 days a month or more.
Symptoms of Ecstasy Tolerance
When a user builds up a tolerance to ecstasy, they have experience prolonged cognitive and behavioral effects. Specific symptoms start occurring as you become tolerant to MDMA, such as poor memory recall, psychosis and decreased serotonin production.
Users of ecstasy may encounter problems similar to those experienced by amphetamine and cocaine users, including addiction. In addition to the high caused by the drug, ecstasy’s psychological effects can include confusion, depression, sleep problems, anxiety, and paranoia during, and even weeks after, taking the drug. Physical effects can include muscle tension, involuntary teeth-clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, and chills or sweating.
Increases in heart rate and blood pressure are a special risk for people with circulatory or heart disease. MDMA-related fatalities have been reported at raves and similar parties. The stimulant effects of the drug, which enable the user to dance for extended periods, combined with the hot, crowded conditions usually found at raves can lead to dehydration, hyperthermia, and heart or kidney failure. Ecstasy use damages brain serotonin neurons. Serotonin is thought to play a role in regulating mood, memory, sleep, and appetite. Recent research indicates heavy MDMA use causes persistent memory problems in humans.
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