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Harmful Side Effects of MDMA

Harmful Side Effects of MDMA

MDMA is the abbreviated form of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. MDMA is a synthetic drug that acts as a stimulant and hallucinogen. It is a popular and widely used psychoactive substance, as well as an empathogenic psychoactive drug that induces euphoria and prosocial effects. There are many side effects of MDMA use whether that is to the body or mind.

Continue reading to learn more about this harmful party substance.

The History of MDMA

MDMA was synthesized in 1912 by the Merck pharmaceutical company in Germany. This substance was created with the intention of working as a parent compound to synthesize medications that control bleeding.  

MDMA was not created for its psychoactive properties, and it did not become popular until it made its way to the United States in 1977. Once brought into the US, MDMA quickly became a popular street drug that escalated in the ’90s among college students and young adults. Later, this substance heightened in popularity due to the use and distribution at nightclubs, concerts, and “raves.”

Due to the widespread of “rave” events and concerts,  MDMA has become one of the most frequently used substances. It is relatively inexpensive, and its purity varies widely, which makes MDMA a risky substance. Due to the fact that the pure form of MDMA is hard to come by, any form of this drug, known as Molly or Ecstasy, can be cut with other substances. More often than not, purchasing these party drugs like Ecstacy and Molly, there is no guarantee that it contains MDMA at all.

Side Effects of MDMA

The side effects one feels when under the influence of MDMA can be experienced on different levels. MDMA is known for inducing feelings of pleasure, but it has also been noted to invoke negative psychological reactions in some people.

Some of the acute side effects someone may experience while under the influence of this “party drug” are:

  • euphoria
  • feeling energetic and confident
  • dilated pupils
  • jaw clenching/teeth grinding
  • heightened senses
  • excessive sweating and skin tingles
  • muscle aches and pains
  • reduced appetite
  • increased heartbeat
  • increased blood pressure
  • dehydration
  • heatstroke

When taking MDMA on a regular basis, long-term side effects can develop. Some of these long term effects include:

  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • reduced memory and cognitive function
  • increased impulsivity 
  • restlessness
  • colds or flu
  • dependence
  • liver problems
  • financial, work, and social problems

How Does MDMA Effect the Brain

MDMA acts as a stimulant and hallucinogen, which means it alters how the brain works by speeding up certain functions and slowing down others. MDMA’s primary effect is to release serotonin by modifying the neurons that transport serotonin. It also releases dopamine, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters in the brain.

These neurotransmitters are in charge of regulating:

  • mood
  • energy/activity and the reward system
  • appetite
  • aggression
  • sexual activity
  • sleep
  • sensitivity to pain
  • heart rate, blood pressure

This explains why MDMA has the side effects it does on the body.


When taking this substance on a regular basis and then abruptly stopping, the body will begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms. When MDMA is introduced to the body, it causes an excess release of serotonin and dopamine, which disrupts the neurotransmitter balance in the brain.

The most commonly experienced withdrawal symptoms include:

  • cravings for MDMA
  • body aches and pains
  • exhaustion
  • restless sleep
  • agitation
  • trouble concentrating
  • anxiety
  • depression

Get Help

If you or someone you love is struggling with MDMA abuse, call our treatment center in South Florida. At Harm Reduction Center we know that recovery and treatment look different for each client. We offer different levels of care to accommodate each individual’s needs and lifestyle.

The severity of MDMA abuse varies from person to person, therefore we will work closely with you and your loved ones to design the best possible treatment strategy to get you the help you need.