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Information on Alcohol

11. Ecstasy


Ecstasy or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is a derivative of amphetamine and shares the properties of both amphetamines and hallucinogens, in its side effects and residual effects.

A recent survey of ecstasy use in Australia (Solowij and Lee, 1991) reports that it is not as widely used as amphetamines and use is primarily recreational, commonly being associated with metropolitan dance parties and other social venues. The abuse potential of ecstasy is considered quite low since with increased use the negative aspects of use tend to increase while the positive effects decrease. For this reason few people with dependence problems report to treatment agencies.

The effects of ecstasy are quite similar to those found with amphetamines, although it is reported that ecstasy produces a more positive mood and sense of intimacy than amphetamines.


  • Involuntary jaw movements; jaw clenching; teeth grinding
  • Dry mouth
  • Motor restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Ataxia
  • Nystagmus
  • Tachycardia
  • Increased sweating; hot and cold flushes
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Shown to be neurotoxic to serotonergic nerve terminals.


  • Facilitation of interpersonal relations
  • Enhancement of communication and intimacy
  • Increased self esteem
  • Elevated mood
  • Insightfulness
  • Inner contentment
  • Euphoria
  • Changes in perception
  • Hallucinogenic properties.


  • Visual hallucinations
  • Anxiety, loss of control
  • Panic, loss of reality
  • Poor concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Depression.


  • Tiredness, lethargy
  • Depersonalisation
  • Irritability
  • Emotional liability
  • Depression.

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