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Drug Ecstasy - the Scary Truth

Updated on July 11, 2014
MDMA Or The Dangerous Party Drug Ecstasy
MDMA Or The Dangerous Party Drug Ecstasy | Source

Ecstasy/MDMA as a Psychotherapeutic Tool

The popular drug Ecstasy (MDMA) hit Indian discotheques some years ago and is still very much a part of the ‘rave’ culture. A lot of people at these all night raves in Bangalore think Ecstasy is the thing to do. But do they know that it shuts down the nervous system?

Alexander Shulgin known as the ‘Godfather of Ecstasy’ is totally unapologetic about having rescued the popular drug Ecstasy, a synthetic stimulant and hallucinogen, from obscurity. He sees the drug primarily as one of the very best psychotherapeutic tools.

A Rave Is Often Fuelled By MDMA/Ecstasy
A Rave Is Often Fuelled By MDMA/Ecstasy | Source

Harmful Effects of MDMA/Ecstasy

  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Fainting
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sleep problems
  • Teeth clenching
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Hallucinations
  • Kidney failure

Mescaline and MDMA as Doorways into the Psyche

For Shulgin it all began with mescaline in 1961 and he spoke of it as “…a communication with the part of me that had been inaccessible… The drug was a catalyst . So, then I thought, what other catalysts can there be that might work in a different way and bring different types of personal access and understanding?”

Interestingly in the sixties, LSD, like Ecstasy was commonly used as part of a course of psychotherapy before it became popular among hippies and party-goers.

The Euphoria Felt On MDMA Can Turn To Paranoia And Depression
The Euphoria Felt On MDMA Can Turn To Paranoia And Depression | Source

Escapism or Self Realisation?

But Shulgin is aware that Ecstasy and other drugs today are not really used as tools for self realisation but for escapism, or as recreational tools for dancing the night away.

Says Arun E, a software professional who is an informed drug user and chemist: “Ecstasy makes you extremely touchy-feely and so you feel more sensuous and fun loving. Yet you still have a sense of right and wrong, but it doesn’t matter much. I’ve seen other people on it who’ve drooled like idiots and been unable to take care of themselves. Ecstasy leads to dehydration which can be fatal.”

Richard H. from Dallas says he has tried Ecstasy many times. He says all senses are incredibly heightened and when you listen to music you become the music itself. “I became quite attached to the rave culture in Dallas mostly for the dancing, but along with the warehouse parties came Ecstasy. But I won’t do it again unless it’s pure.”

Arthur K says:“There’s the well known sensation of `coming up’ when the drug begins to take effect which is felt as a rising sensation in the stomach and up the spine. There is a feeling of lightness and your face and scalp could tingle. You feel generally well-disposed to people and want them to be as happy as you are.”

Rave Parties Are Notorious For Use Of The Drug Ecstasy
Rave Parties Are Notorious For Use Of The Drug Ecstasy | Source

Harmful Effects of the Drug Ecstasy

Ecstasy has been shown to cause brain damage in animals. It depletes a very important chemical in the brain – serotonin – which regulates mood, sleeping and eating habits, thinking processes, aggressive behaviour, sexual function and sensitivity to pain. The damage caused in humans can be permanent. Research indicates that once a serotonin pathway is damaged it can never repair itself.

And so with the depletion of serotonin come:

  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Fainting
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sleep problems
  • Teeth clenching
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Hallucinations
  • Kidney failure

Regular users of Ecstasy are clearly at risk of ruining their long term health and their body clocks. The energy boosts they feel while on the drug are gone when the high is over and this is replaced by a feeling of permanent jet lag. That’s the agony of Ecstasy.


  • Licensed to Thrill - Interview with Alexander Shulgin in The Face , 1995

BBC Rave Documentary

MDMA pills & powders - all that glistens is not gold


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    • Anita Saran profile imageAUTHOR

      Anita Saran 

      4 years ago from Bangalore, India

      Thank you grand old lady. That's true - drugs just keep getting more dangerous.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Ecstasy sounds scary. It seems like the drugs today are far more harmful than they were in our day. The side effects are horrible. Thanks for such a helpful and informative article.


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