What is MDMA?

What is MDMA? Read on to learn about methylenedioxymethamphetamine, how it affects the brain, and treatment options.

What is MDMA?

MDMA, an abbreviation for methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is common for its euphoric effects. MDMA and meth are similar as they are both amphetamines, which cause psychedelic effects. Also, MDMA became more popular due to nightclub parties and music festivals but now has a broader reach. As a Schedule I substance, the MDMA drug proves to have a high chance for abuse. Please keep reading to know what makes MDMA dangerous and its effects on the brain and body.

What is MDMA


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A Further Look at MDMA

Another name for MDMA is ecstasy, and it’s a common stimulant drug with a history of causing hallucinations.1 Many also refer to MDMA as a designer drug as its primary purpose was to cause people to feel high. Other common names for MDMA include E, Hug Drug, Love Drug, XTC, and Molly. If comparing MDMA vs. Molly, note that both have the same characteristics.

How Do People Use MDMA?

Most people who take MDMA administer it in the form of a pill, capsule, or tablet. In most cases, the pills come in varying colors, some with cartoonish images on them. Some individuals often engage in bumping the substance. Bumping describes when an individual takes more than one pill at a time.

How is MDMA Formed?

MDMA gets formed by combining various toxic chemicals, including mercury, formaldehyde, and ammonium chloride. According to research, MDMA may be helpful for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety in certain patients, and social anxiety in autistic adults.

How Does MDMA Affect the Brain?

After intake of MDMA, it takes around 15 minutes for the effects to begin in the bloodstream and the brain. The primary way an MDMA dosage produces its effects is by increasing the activity of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Here’s a breakdown of these three neurotransmitters and how MDMA affects the brain through them:


This neurotransmitter is responsible for emotions, motivation, movement, and certain sensations like pleasure. MDMA ecstasy increases dopamine activity and causes individuals to crave the substances more.


Norepinephrine increases blood pressure and heart rate, which may be dangerous for individuals with heart or blood circulation challenges. An increase in the activity of this neurotransmitter is one of what makes MDMA hazardous for individuals.


Serotonin is imperative for controlling mood, sexual activity, sleep, feelings of pain, and aggression.2 The increase in serotonin due to MDMA ecstasy causes mood-lifting effects. Hence, individuals who self-administer the substance feel significant levels of alertness or hyperactivity.
Some individuals may experience changes in perception or a poor sense of time. For example, individuals may feel a more intense sense of touch. An increase in serotonin causes a release of vasopressin and oxytocin, which play roles in sexual arousal, trust, and love.

Side Effects of MDMA

There are short and long-term effects of MDMA. The MDMA drug may cause enhanced feelings of self-confidence, increased energy, and empathy. Here are some of the significant side effects of MDMA:
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Heightened senses
  • Heatstroke
  • Drinking extreme amounts of water
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure

How Long Do MDMA's Effects Endure?

MDMA’s duration of effects in the system can differ from person to person. It may take two days before it leaves the system in the bloodstream. MDMA synthetic substances are detectable in urine for four days, while it takes two days in saliva. In the hair, it takes up to 90 days.
It takes around thirty minutes after intake to feel the MDMA synthetic substance effects in most individuals. The substance causes feelings of warmth, openness, clarity, and increased sensation of sound.
All the effects of the MDMA drug typically last between three to six hours. Note that the half-life of the substance is between eight to nine hours. According to a study, the peak effects of MDMA ecstasy are between one to two hours and reduced four to six hours after intake.3

Is MDMA Addictive?

After repeated use, individuals tend to develop a tolerance to the MDMA pill.4 Due to tolerance, individuals increase their substance intake to feel the previous or initial effects. Other research proves that ecstasy has dependence potential. Note that dependence means individuals need to continue intake of the drug to avoid negative MDMA withdrawal symptoms.
When people take an MDMA pill, their brain releases neurotransmitters that cause mood-lifting effects. Discontinuing the intake of the substance makes it difficult for individuals to reach that level of happiness or experience typical MDMA reactions. Hence, such people face withdrawal symptoms of the substance. These MDMA symptoms include depression, fatigue, insomnia, confusion, and anxiety.
What is MDMA

Get Treatment for Addiction to MDMA At Concise Recovery

If you feel that you’re experiencing challenges with MDMA, it’s imperative to reach out for help and get adequate treatment. With proper help, individuals get support on discontinuing the substance intake and improving mental health. Here are some of the treatment options:


During detox, mental health professionals help remove the substance from the body system due to the dangers of MDMA. Detoxification helps individuals manage the withdrawal symptoms of the drug better. Depending on the mental health professional, detox can take two weeks or more. Some people typically consider detox at home, but it’s a risky option.

The detoxification process involves evaluation, stabilization, and preparation for entry into treatment. It’s crucial to know that detox is just the first step in treating MDMA usage and addiction. Other options to consider include residential care, therapy, and support groups.

Therapies for Addiction

Some of the therapy options for substance use disorder due to frequent and high MDMA dosage include individual and group counseling. The individual speaks to the therapist one-on-one during individual therapy, while group therapy involves more people.

Mental health experts also utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as it challenges an individual’s patterns of negative thoughts. It helps such people identify and change their unhealthy behaviors.

Residential Care

Residential care can involve inpatient and outpatient treatment for the risks of MDMA. During inpatient recovery, the individual stays in the clinic through the treatment process. Inpatient care requires 24-hours medical supervision for the treatment span of the molly drug.

Outpatient Care

Outpatient care usually involves visiting the recovery center for 10 to 12 hours every week through the MDMA duration of treatment. Note that outpatient rehab may last three to six months and over a year in some cases.

Support Groups

Support groups help individuals facing similar challenges to share their troubles. Sharing helps provide encouragement, support, and comfort to other group members.

Concise Recovery provides help for individuals experiencing substance use disorder due to MDMA. We provide personalized treatment options for individuals. Reach out today.