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What is Ecstasy and What Are the Effects of Taking It with Alcohol?

ARISE® Network / Drugs & Addiction  / What is Ecstasy and What Are the Effects of Taking It with Alcohol?

What is Ecstasy and What Are the Effects of Taking It with Alcohol?


The drug known as “Ecstasy” or “Molly (methylenedioxymethylamphetamine or MDMA) is currently one of the most popular illegal drugs of choice. It is a synthetic drug that is chemically similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens. It is frequently associated with the club, party and rave (an all-night dance party). The pills containing the drug are usually brightly colored and stamped with recognizable images such as the superman symbol, butterflies, or the Mitsubishi logo. Depending on their source, the pills may also contain other substances, such as caffeine, ephedrine, methamphetamine, or even LSD or heroin. Being a stimulant, the drug causes the body to produce a great rush of chemicals such as dopamine. Norepinephrine and serotonin. Dopamine regulates various body processes such as mood and temperature control, norepinephrine increases heart rate and blood pressure and serotonin affects mood, hormones and appetite. Because the drug stimulates the body to produce abnormal amounts of chemicals, prolonged use of Ecstasy can actually damage the nerve endings that transmit these chemicals, thus preventing the body from releasing them independent of the drug. When this is the case, prolonged dancing in places such as a hot and crowded club could result in overheating, heatstroke, or even death if sufficient amounts of serotonin are not produced.

The physical effects of Ecstasy on the body involve muscle tension, involuntary teeth-clenching, nausea, blurred vision, fainting, thirst, and chills/sweating. Psychological effects include confusion, depression, sleep problems, anxiety, and paranoia. Ecstasy is more prone to produce a psychological addiction, but there have been cases of physical addiction as well.


Combining Ecstasy with alcohol can result in a deadly combination. Alcohol is a depressant – meaning it deadens messages sent to the body from the central nervous system. When consuming alcohol, judgement is already impaired. A person mixing alcohol with Ecstasy soon loses the ability to determine just how intoxicated they are. Regulating messages from the brain are impaired, and the person ceases to feel (or possibly even care) how fatigued he might be after a period of frenetic dancing at a club or party. Since this person has combined a stimulant (Ecstasy) with a depressant (alcohol), the body is now faced with the task of trying to interpret conflicting messages to the brain. This combination has been known to cause an irregular heartbeat. Possibly the most harmful effect of the Ecstasy / alcohol combination is how it harms the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. A well-known result of drinking alcohol is the fact that it produces thirst, and a well-known effect of ecstasy is a rise in body temperature. When alcohol and Ecstasy are combined, the body struggles to maintain a safe body temperature, but may be unable to do so because of a depressed central nervous system (the alcohol), and /or damaged nerve endings that can’t release enough of the temperature-regulating serotonin (the Ecstasy). The more the person’s thinking is impaired, the more they, may try to quench their thirst with alcohol rather than water. Further increasing their dehydration and their body temperature. Due to this cycle the body temperature can rise to dangerous levels. This can result in dehydration, hyperthermia, heart or kidney failure, or in extreme cases, death.

This drug is especially attractive because of its association with physical pleasure and the release of inhibitions in a social atmosphere. However, prolonged use may cause psychological and physical addiction. Those who have been using Ecstasy, and who show the symptoms of addiction are urged to seek drug counseling, a drug and alcohol intervention or medical attention as soon as possible.



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