Way back in 1912, an appetite suppressant was developed that would one day become a lethal party drug. Now known as MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) — or by its common street names, Molly or Ecstasy — this synthetic drug is usually thought of as harmless. But it is illegal and it can be deadly. MDMA is a stimulant that is most often used at dance raves or parties. The effects wear off in about three to six hours. People who take it may experience MDMA withdrawal symptoms for about a week after last taking the drug.
What Are the MDMA Withdrawal Symptoms?
While taking MDMA or Ecstasy can cause a very powerful high in the short term, MDMA withdrawal can cause very unpleasant symptoms. Because it affects the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, it can cause serious withdrawal symptoms as well as physical discomfort.
Sometimes, other drugs or chemicals are unknowingly mixed into the drug.
These substances may cause additional symptoms and dangers.
MDMA withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Confusion and irritability
- Less interest in sex
- Memory and attention problems
- Reduced appetite
What Are the Stages in the MDMA Withdrawal Timeline?
During the first few days after the MDMA high wears off, an individual may experience what’s known as a “comedown” from taking the drug. This is compared to a hangover, but it can last a few days.
Some people experience much stronger comedown symptoms, or they have a tendency to binge on MDMA. These individuals may struggle with MDMA withdrawal symptoms, which continue about a week after last taking the drug, and can be severe. These people may struggle with those symptoms and most likely will return to previous behavior and start using again.
Why Should I Detox?
Quitting drugs cold turkey may sound like a good idea, but it can be difficult, painful, and dangerous. In some cases, it can be dangerous and even deadly.
Given the difficult physical symptoms, withdrawing on your own without professional medical help can be very challenging. It’s important to find a professional, medically assisted detox program to support you during the process of MDMA withdrawal.
Doing this will ensure that you are carefully monitored in a safe environment while your body goes through the difficult detoxification process. Participating in an addiction treatment program also gives you a better chance at lasting recovery as a result of the structured medical and emotional support you will receive.
What is the Next Treatment Step?
A full continuum of treatment ensures the best opportunity for a successful recovery. Following a full continuum of treatment means starting with the medical detox process and then progressing gradually from an inpatient status to outpatient treatment. You will then have the opportunity to participate in an alumni program after the formal treatment program is completed. The stages of addiction treatment include:
The primary goal is medical stabilization during the first stage of withdrawal treatment, which is known as detox. Expect the detox stage to last from a few days up to a week. When you arrive, your medical team—which will include doctors, nurses, and support staff— will complete your comprehensive medical assessment, which will help determine your level of addiction and additional medical needs you may have. The assessment includes a medical exam plus a urine screening for drugs.
Your medical team will monitor you 24/7 to help manage uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and prevent dangerous MDMA withdrawal symptoms.
Many people also experience anxiety, depression, and other emotional and psychological challenges during the detox period. Your treatment plan will also include comprehensive support to help you with these symptoms. A longer-term treatment plan will be put into place for you once you are medically stabilized.
Partial hospitalization (PHP) is in-between outpatient treatment and inpatient care. The goal of PHP is to stabilize your mental status and better prepare you for success once you return to independent living after you leave the treatment center. During this stage, you’ll live at a transitional living facility while undergoing a supportive and rigorous treatment program. This program will be five days a week for six hours each day. You will be able to participate in individual, group, and family therapy programs to help you address emotional and mental health needs.
Learning positive life skills, coping mechanisms, and techniques to help prevent relapse so that you will be prepared for long-term recovery will be the primary focus during PHP.
The next stage is the intensive outpatient program (IOP). An IOP allows you to live at home while also attending counseling and programs to help support your recovery. Depending on your treatment plan, you will participate in about nine or more hours of clinical therapy several times each week.
Intensive outpatient therapy will help you to continue learning new ways to manage cravings, stress, and other challenging issues that may arise once you live on your own again. After you complete the IOP stage, you will transition into the Outpatient and Alumni programs, which is also known as aftercare.
You will have the opportunity to meet other treatment center alumni during weekly support groups and social events after you complete the formal treatment program. These aftercare opportunities spent with other alumni members can help you develop new friendships and build social support with others who understand the recovery process.
Being a part of this supportive network can help you grow while focusing on your recovery and adjusting to life after the treatment program. It can also be a safe space to share relapse prevention strategies, new experiences, and techniques for stress management. Most of all, it can be a way to enjoy time with new friends.