MDMA, or “molly” as it is often called, is a popular party drug reputed to make the user feel happy, loving, and open. The drug was developed in the 1950s and studied for its use in psychiatric therapy. The military explored using it as a way to interrogate subjects more effectively. Ultimately, it was deemed to be of no medical use by the Drug Enforcement Administration and placed on the Schedule I list. In the 1980s and 1990s, the drug reemerged in the underground rave scene. Its stimulant qualities and ability to make users feel happy and emotionally close to people around them made it a popular choice among weekend dance aficionados.
Like any intoxicating substance, MDMA can be psychologically addictive, and people who develop a dependence on molly may wish to seek help at a licensed substance abuse treatment center. For more information about our substance abuse treatment program in Boston, contact Greater Boston Addiction Centers. You can call 877.920.6583 or fill out our online form.
The Effects of Molly on the Brain
First, it might be helpful to review some basic concepts of how neurotransmitters work in the brain.
Neurotransmitter cells, also called axons, release neurotransmitters. These chemical compounds carry messages from the brain to the cells of the body. Special receptor cells bind with these compounds, allowing cells to receive the brain’s message. The space between the transmitter cell and the receptor is called the synapse.
In the case of MDMA, the drug enters the axon and causes the cell to dump out large quantities of the neurotransmitter serotonin, along with some lesser amounts of other neurotransmitters like dopamine, oxytocin, and prolactin. Medical science does not fully understand exactly how the MDMA causes the axon to dump its serotonin in large quantities, but what happens after that is more clearly known.
The dumped serotonin floods the synapse and binds to as many receptors as it can. This creates a feeling of happiness, emotional warmth, and euphoria in the user.
After a few hours, the body has used up all the serotonin it has, and a compound called monoamine oxidase (MAO) starts breaking down the serotonin. Once the synapse is no longer flooded with serotonin, the feeling of euphoria subsides.
What Happens After All That?
The body needs time to make more serotonin. Once the MDMA has caused all of it to be dumped out at once, it can take several weeks for the body to replenish a supply of serotonin. This is why taking more molly right away will not yield the same result; the molly isn’t what causes the drug experience. The dump of serotonin causes it. If there is no more serotonin to dump, then the happy feeling will not occur.
If a person takes MDMA too frequently, brain cells can be damaged by a process called oxidization. While monoamine oxidase breaks serotonin down safely, if it encounters dopamine, it will break that down into hydrogen peroxide, which harms the serotonin axon cell.
What Are the Dangers of MDMA Abuse?
Some of the dangers of MDMA abuse are related to MDMA itself, while others are related to the dangers of using a drug that has been manufactured for black market sale:
- MDMA has serious drug interactions with some prescription medications
- Using it often can lead to depression due to the brain’s inability to process serotonin correctly
- MDMA lessens inhibitions, which can cause the user to engage in risky behavior
- MDMA is often mixed with other drugs, or other drugs are passed off as MDMA, so it is very difficult to know exactly what you are taking
- The temperature rise in the body caused by MDMA can lead to fatal heat stroke and dehydration
- It is possible to overdose on MDMA, leading to serious illness and even death
End MDMA Abuse at Greater Boston Addiction Centers
If you or someone you love has a problem with MDMA, a substance abuse treatment center can help. Greater Boston Addiction Centers offers a safe, peaceful, and serene environment for clients to heal and rediscover sobriety. Contact us at 877.920.6583 and take the first step on the road to recovery, or fill out our online form and let us get back to you.