Ecstasy is a commonly-used name for MDMA (3, 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine). This drug was originally developed for use as an appetite suppressant, but it was never widely used for this purpose because it has hallucinogenic properties. MDMA was used for a short time in the 1960s as a treatment for some types of mental illness, but using the drug for this purpose only made the patients worse.
By the 1980s, the hallucinogenic effects of the drug were well known and Ecstasy was being used by people who were part of the nightclub scene. It's still commonly used by people who like to go to dance clubs and has the dubious distinction of being known as the Number 1 club drug being abused by college students today.
Whether the drug is referred to as Hug, Kleenex or X-TC, it can be taken as a pill, tablet or capsule. Some users use the drug using a method known as "shafting" or "shelving" which involves inserting a pill or tablet into the anus. It can also be injected.
Ecstasy is not physically addictive in the way that drugs like cocaine, nicotine and heroin are. Many users are, however, addicted to the emotional state they reach on the drug. Like its name implies, users fell happy, relaxed and loving while under this drug's influence. This euphoric effect can last for between three and five hours.
Ecstasy use also decreases appetite and the need for sleep, which is an attractive feature for college students. This secondary effect of taking Hug can last for between 24 and 72 hours. Some feel they cannot live without it and become regular weekly users.
Ecstasy is seductive - many users secretly know they would have difficulty going without it in the future, but wouldn't like to admit to it in terms of addiction. Calling a regular Ecstasy user an addict usually provokes a negative reaction. That doesn't mean that a regular user of the Love Drug doesn't have a problem.
Tolerance to the Love Drug
Frequent Ecstasy use increases tolerance very quickly. Increasingly higher doses are needed to reach an 'acceptable' high. The more you use it the less you feel the loved up empathic feelings and the more the speedy amphetamine buzz takes over.
Regular users rarely come close to the novelty and surprise of first discovering the ecstasy state. To avoid the build-up of tolerance long breaks should be left between use (at least two months), but a person who really enjoys the feeling they get after taking it may have difficulty spacing out his or her doses of the drug.
A sign that casual use of Kleenex has become more than just a recreational activity is when the user starts to spend a considerable amount of time in between doses thinking about when he or she can get some more X-TC. Another warning sign that an addiction has started (or is in progress) is when the person is unable to control his or her use of the drug. When the desire to use becomes more powerful than the person's will and they start neglecting everyday activities or their personal relationships to do so, X-TC use has become a problem for them.
Long-term Effects of Using X-TC
The after-effects and long-term effects seem a little hushed up, often by the users themselves. The majority of regular users try to ignore the increases in tolerance, the harder come-downs, the mood swings, the short-term memory loss and the inability to concentrate and just see it as an acceptable price to pay.
Over time, regular use of the Love Drug can lead to poor health. The person may not be eating regularly, since this drug acts as an appetite suppressant. Using Ecstasy can also interfere with the person getting enough rest and he or she may become run down and unable to fight off common infections, like colds or the flu.
There is evidence that even moderate regular use of Ecstasy can lead to memory impairment. See our report on this here.