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What Are the Side Effects of Ecstasy? Physical & Mental

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Ecstasy’s side effects include increased talkativeness, hyperthermia, heart issues, kidney problems, and overdose.

Ecstasy drug dealers don’t provide helpful handouts with their drugs, so it’s hard to know what’s inside each pill and how your doses will impact you. Know that every ecstasy dose causes side effects. But since the pills are often contaminated, it’s hard to know exactly what might happen. 

How Long Does It Take for Ecstasy to Kick In?

Most people feel the impact of an oral dose of ecstasy within about 45 minutes. The changes you might feel include the following:

  • Increased extroversion
  • Empathy 
  • Emotional warmth 
  • Hallucinations

Ecstasy is commonly tainted by other drugs, and some of them work faster or slower than ecstasy. For example, doses tainted by synthetic amphetamines can take much longer to get started. Some people take repeated doses, as they feel the first one wasn’t working. 

Factors That Impact Ecstasy’s Effects

Some people feel ecstasy’s changes quickly, while others need more time. Your onset of symptoms can vary depending on the following factors:

  • Drug-taking method: Snorting or injecting ecstasy typically makes active ingredients take hold quicker than letting pills dissolve in your digestive tract.
  • Organ health: Ecstasy is processed by organs like your kidneys and your liver. If they’re damaged, the drug could persist in your body for longer and take hold quicker. 
  • Your dose: Taking more could mean feeling the impact quicker. And taking it for long periods can compound its effects.
  • The drug’s purity: If your drug dose is contaminated with a stronger substance (like fentanyl), it could make the substance come on quicker or last longer. Laced ecstasy can be very unpredictable since users don’t know which substances are present.

Breaking Down the Effects of Ecstasy 

Every dose of ecstasy can react within your body very differently, depending on what you took, what’s inside the dose, and how you feel. But the following types of changes are common. 

Physical side effects include the following:

Mental and behavioral side effects include the following:

  • Enhanced sense of well-being
  • Extroversion
  • Empathy 
  • Sensory hallucinations

People using MDMA may also feel unable to gauge their safety. They may think it’s safe to drive a car, for example, which could lead to accidents that hurt them or others. 

Long-Term Effects of Ecstasy Use

MDMA forces the release of serotonin, and in time, this critical neurotransmitter is depleted. Poor mental health is a consequence of this depletion, and it’s common in long-term ecstasy abusers. 

Common problems seen in long-term ecstasy abusers include the following:

  • Anxiety 
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Low attention 
  • Paranoia 
  • Poor memory 

The more you use and the longer the abuse lasts, the more likely it is that you’ll experience these health issues and the stronger they might be. 

Regular users also strain their heart muscle tissues with each episode. If they’re using ecstasy in warm environments (such as dance clubs), the damage is more severe. Exerting a weakened heart leads to problems that are hard to reverse or treat. You could develop significant cardiac problems that require a lifetime of care due to your drug abuse.

If you’re abusing ecstasy now, talk to your doctor about how to quit. This drug comes with serious consequences that you can avoid if you get help now. The sooner you stop using it, the better your body will be able to repair the damage done.

Updated June 8, 2023
  1. What Are the Effects of MDMA? (September 2017). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  2. Ecstasy. Frank.
  3. MDMA Abuse Research Report. (September 2017). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  4. What Are MDMA's Effects on the Brain? (September 2017). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  5. MDMA and the Brain: A Short Review on the Role of Neurotransmitters in Neurotoxicity. (July–August 2020). Basic and Clinical Neuroscience.
  6. Effects of Acute MDMA Intoxication on Mood and Impulsivity: Role of the 5-HT2 and 5-HT1 Receptors. (July 2012). PLOS ONE.
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