MDMA Addiction

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MDMA is an illegal substance that’s used recreationally to elicit euphoria, energy, and connectedness in its user. MDMA is shortened form of a chemical called methylenedioxymethamphetamine, and it’s thought that its street name “Molly” was derived from the word molecule.

Otherwise known as Ecstasy, E, X, or Molly, MDMA has been featured in the news a lot, lately, due to its potential to treat mental health conditions like PTSD and depression. At the same time, MDMA is used across the country to achieve euphoric, hallucinogenic, and empathogenic effects. MDMA overdoses are extremely common, and misuse of ecstasy can lead to a wide range of detrimental consequences including addiction, serotonin syndrome, and even death.

While these simultaneous issues are occurring, it can be hard for a person to fully grasp what Molly is.

The History of the Synthetic Drug MDMA

MDMAs invention came in 1912 in a German pharmaceutical company lab by accident as researchers searched for a way to limit bleeding. When the drug’s psychoactive properties were realized, the U.S. Army and CIA weaponized it during the Cold War in an attempt to invent mind control.

Then in the 1970s, some psychiatrists used the inhibition-lowering aspects of the drug to get patients to “open up” more during therapy sessions.

Finally, by the 1980s, the mind-altering properties of MDMA had spilled into pop culture, and the party crowd preferred Molly to LSD, or “acid,” because LSD had longer, stronger, and harsher effects. Molly felt cleaner, easier, and much more thrilling.

It wasn’t until the 2000s that the nickname “Molly” came about. Molly is usually distinguished from other forms of MDMA by being a more “pure” form of MDMA or ecstasy

What Makes Molly Different from Other Drugs?

Since no form of MDMA is approved for recreational use, we have to start the answer to this question at the molecular level.

First, Molly is a synthetic drug which means it’s made in a lab using man-made ingredients and not natural ingredients. The molecular structure of Molly and Ecstasy are the same, meaning they are essentially the same substance. The difference is in how they are distributed.


Ecstasy is typically MDMA pressed into a tablet form. To maximize profit on the streets, these tablets are often mixed with numerous other chemicals ranging from caffeine to methamphetamine. Generally, Ecstasy is made to look like candy, with various colors that resemble Sweet Tarts or breath mints, and are stamped with eye-catching logos.


Molly is typically MDMA in crystal form. Molly is usually marketed as pure MDMA, but can just as easily be methamphetamine or another more dangerous or more addictive substance.

Molly stimulates the body and mind while producing energetic periods of time where inhibitions are lowered, and emotions are intensified. As a party drug, Molly is often used at rave parties or festival settings where many people are gathered while using it.

Molly is an upper. People who use Molly are usually looking to have a fun time party. be intimate, incited, and get hallucinogenic effects.

Molly is a stimulant. Like amphetamine, methamphetamine, or cocaine, Molly provides the user with immense energy, emotional warmth, and inflated confidence in users. Molly gives a sense of emotional bonding and intimacy as inhibitions are lowered.

Molly can also be a hallucinogen. MDMA can cause the user to experience distortions in time, see things in brighter colors, and hear music and voices differently.

How Does Molly Impact the Body?

The impacts of Molly are generally felt within 30-45 minutes of consumption. Dopamine (the “feel good” chemical), Serotonin (a mood regulation chemical produced in the gut), and Norepinephrine (increases heart rate) are unleashed into the body with little regulation.

This leads to changes in the body, such as the following symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased energy
  • Increased body temperature
  • Teeth clenching (bruxism)
  • Chills/Sweating
  • Muscle tension

The hallucinogenic and psychoactive properties also created distorted sensory and time perception, leading to users’ intimacy choices with their bodies they wouldn’t make while sober.

What Are the Risks of Molly Abuse?

Despite the so-called desired effects of the drug, there are life-threatening dangers that can accompany MDMA abuse. As the drug gets absorbed into the bloodstream, the body temperature rises.

MDMA Addiction

MDMA is defined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a Schedule I drug, giving it a high risk of drug abuse and substance use disorder. MDMA addiction is extremely harmful to the body, and since it’s cut with other drugs or fillers, a user could be forming an addiction to a drug they didn’t even know they consumed. MDMA addiction takes a severe toll on the brain as well. Brain chemicals like serotonin flood the body during an MDMA high and burn out receptors leading to permanent brain damage.

MDMA addiction is a form of substance use disorder. It occurs when individuals compulsively seek out and use the drug despite the negative consequences it may bring to their lives. Chronic ecstasy abuse significantly increases the risk of developing addiction, as the brain becomes dependent on the drug’s effects to function normally. This psychological and physical dependence can lead to a range of physical, mental, and social issues.

Ecstasy addiction is not sustainable. Unlike other drugs, which can be used clandestinely for months or even years, MDMA is extremely neurotoxic. Those who abuse ecstasy for even a few days in a row can quickly develop permanent brain damage.

Symptoms of Ecstasy Addiction

The consequences of ecstasy abuse extend beyond the immediate physical risks. The drug’s impact on an individual’s behavior and decision-making can lead to engaging in risky sexual behaviors, which can increase the transmission rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Ecstasy is often used as a club drug, commonly associated with rave and party scenes where ecstasy users may feel more prone to engage in unprotected sex due to increased confidence, reduced inhibitions, and heightened sexual arousal.

MDMA Overdose

One of the significant dangers of ecstasy abuse is the risk of overdose. Due to the unpredictable nature of the drug’s composition and varying potency, those who abuse ecstasy are at a heightened risk of consuming an excessive dose, resulting in potentially life-threatening consequences. Ecstasy overdose can cause severe hyperthermia, dehydration, seizures, and even organ failure. Immediate medical attention is crucial in such cases to prevent further complications and potential fatalities.

MDMA Redosing

The risk of one dose of ecstasy is bad enough, but some users prefer to redose or “piggyback,” the substance by taking more of the drug while the effects of the first dose are still wearing off. By taking multiple doses of the drug in succession over a short period of time, a person can prolong or multiply the effects. However, the risks are also multiplied. As the body tries to process the drug and remove it from the system, the piggybacking effect can cause damage to the kidney, liver, or lead to heart failure.

Recognizing the signs of ecstasy addiction is crucial for timely intervention and treatment. Some common indicators include an increasing tolerance for the drug, prioritizing ecstasy use over responsibilities and relationships, failed attempts to quit or cut down, withdrawal symptoms when not using, and continued use despite negative consequences. If you or someone you know is exhibiting these signs, seeking professional help is essential.

Ecstasy Addiction Treatment

Treatment for ecstasy addiction typically involves a comprehensive approach that addresses both the psychological and physical aspects of dependence. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and group therapy are often employed to help individuals understand the underlying causes of their addiction, develop healthier coping mechanisms, and prevent relapse. Medications may also be used to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings, although no specific pharmacological treatment has been approved for ecstasy addiction.

MDMA Withdrawal

The withdrawal symptoms of Molly are intense and last exponentially longer than the initial effects of the drug. Since the chemicals altered by using Molly control our mood, motor function, and critical body functions, the body trying to get back to normal puts the user through a rough couple of days.

The withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Extreme fatigue but an inability to sleep.
  • Shakes, shivers, and twitching.
  • Heart pounding and racing cycles.
  • Ongoing mood and perception issues.

It is important to note that addressing ecstasy addiction often involves addressing polydrug use as well. Many ecstasy users combine the drug with other substances, such as alcohol, cannabis, or stimulants, which can further complicate the treatment process and increase the risk of adverse effects.

Additionally, MDMA is often laced with other drugs and chemicals to make the manufacturing process cheaper. While Molly is said to be a “pure” form of MDMA, it’s extremely common for Molly to be laced with fentanyl, caffeine, household chemicals, and methamphetamine. Since Molly is made synthetically and typically placed into a capsule, it can be “cut” with other chemicals, drugs, or fillers. When a drug is cut with something, that means the drug is mixed or comprised entirely of different substances to fill the capsule and make it look like a user is getting a full capsule of Molly. The filler is cheaper than using pure products, but drug dealers will charge as if that’s a pure dose being sold.

Some common fillers used in Molly include:

Molly Laced With Caffeine

Sometimes drug dealers will cut molly with caffeine, in an attempt to trick users into believing they are experiencing the full effects of the stimulant.

Molly Laced With Methamphetamine

The presence of methamphetamine in Molly significantly alters the drug’s effects and poses additional risks to users. Meth is an even more addictive drug than MDMA, and combining the two can lead to heightened stimulation, increased heart rate, and a more intense high. However, this combination also amplifies the potential dangers associated with both drugs, such as elevated blood pressure, increased risk of cardiovascular complications, and heightened psychological distress.

Molly Laced With Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a powerful painkiller that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. If a person mistakenly consumes fentanyl instead of Molly, they are very likely to experience an overdose and are at a high risk of CNS depression and death.

Fentanyl & Molly: A Dangerous Mixture

In 2021, 108,000 people died from drug overdoses nationwide, according to the CDC. 66% of those deaths were connected to fentanyl, and between 2019 and 2021, overdose deaths increased by 50%.

Most people who die from fentanyl overdose are not even aware that they have consumed fentanyl. Fentanyl is cheap, with a little going a long way for drug dealing trades. It’s a synthetic opioid that is cheap to manufacture and is commonly used by drug dealers to cut other substances.

It’s also impossible to see or taste fentanyl when it’s in a drug, so a user doesn’t know that they have consumed fentanyl until it’s too late. Even the person who is selling the Molly may not know if their capsules have been laced with fentanyl since they were likely made in another country. The unpredictability of Molly capsules and Ecstasy tablets is one of the things that makes MDMA drug abuse so risky.

Your Recovery Starts Here

Removing Molly and other drugs from your life is not easy to do alone. For some, it’s impossible. Recognizing the signs of ecstasy addiction and seeking appropriate treatment is vital for breaking free from the cycle of addiction and improving overall well-being, whether it was one nightclub scene experiment or a long-term experience.

Last Updated on May 24, 2023

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