Quick Guide to Teen Ecstasy Abuse and Addiction
Chances are, you usually see the best in your teenaged son or daughter. To you, your teen probably seems like a busy, fun-loving, well-adjusted, happy kid. Why on earth would he or she ever need to take party drugs to have a good time?
The truth is, some adolescents choose to experiment with designer drugs – and the most common one they turn to is Ecstasy.
What is Ecstasy?
Ecstasy is the typical name used for methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA. Sometimes, it is known by other names such as molly, happy pills, skittles, or vitamin E. Usually, ecstasy comes in a caplet or pill form, though users often crush pills into a powder and snort it.
Among teenaged minors, Ecstasy is not particularly common. In fact, the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveals that just 39,000 kids aged 12 to 17 admitted taking Ecstasy in the previous month – which works out to about 1 in every 500 teens. However, the prevalence of Ecstasy increases when these teens reach young adulthood. The survey notes that previous-month use of the drug among 18- to 25-year olds surged to 270,000 people.
Ecstasy: the Party Drug
Unlike drugs like marijuana which are used at any time of the day or night, Ecstasy is typically ingested prior to or during nighttime social events or festivities. Users experience feelings of euphoria, emotional warmth, and heightened energy as well as distortions in time and sensory experiences. That is why teens who like to boost their mood and stay awake while partying might gravitate toward Ecstasy.
Signs of Ecstasy Dependence
Unfortunately, teens who consistently seek out the highs provided by Ecstasy are quite likely to become dependent on the drug. A survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 43 percent of teenagers and young adults who reported using Ecstasy experienced indications of dependence or addiction.
If you are concerned that your teenage son or daughter might be taking Ecstasy, here are some of the warning signs:
- Problems sleeping
- Paranoia or severe anxiety
- Excessive sweating or chills
- Blurred vision or rapid eye movement
- Muscle tension
- Lightheadedness or fainting
- Increased blood pressure or heart rate
- Teeth clenching involuntarily
- Presence of pacifiers in their belongings (which keep users from grinding their teeth)
Other Consequences of Ecstasy Abuse
Because Ecstasy is relatively new, there have not been many studies on the long-term effects of the drug. But some researchers have found links between Ecstasy abuse and decreased physical coordination, slower reaction times, and reduced sociability as adults.
A more acute concern for Ecstasy users is the variance in quality of the drug and the ingredients found in it. To increase volume, drug dealers may mix the Ecstasy with additives like caffeine, baby powder, or even cocaine. Some users have had to be hospitalized after ingesting tainted Ecstasy, and a few have even died from it.
Should it become apparent that your teen is using Ecstasy, you should confront him or her immediately. Teens may mistakenly think that Ecstasy is safer than “harder” drugs like cocaine and heroin, even though they can still become addicted to it.
You should strongly encourage your teen to seek medical help or assistance from a drug treatment professional. With the right treatment regimen and support system, teens can free themselves from Ecstasy addiction and lead healthy and happy lives.
For help in dealing with Ecstasy dependence, contact us today.