Teen Ecstasy Addiction Treatment

MDMA is a common club drug usually referred to as “molly” or “ecstasy.” This type of drug is a stimulant-class substance causing euphoric and hallucinogenic effects.

Ecstasy is a designer drug, which means it is made chemically in a lab, reducing the need to source illegal ingredients. It is most often sold in the form of a tablet, which makes it very difficult to tell if the drug is pure or if it has been mixed with cocaine, caffeine, ketamine, other stimulants or even synthetic cathinones (also referred to as bath salts). Ecstasy use can easily lead to addiction, dangerous side effects and fatal overdoses.

What Does Teen Ecstasy Abuse Look Like?

  • Many ecstasy tablets are marked with an cartoon character, X, or E, but some do not have markings. Once ingested, the drug enters the bloodstream and stays there for three to six hours.
  • Those who use ecstasy experience feelings of energy and euphoria or happiness. They may also report enhanced sensations, especially when it comes to touch. Some claim to feel enhanced sensations of emotion and connection; others report extreme lows, including anxiety and depression.
  • Ecstasy acts as an appetite suppressant, meaning teens often don’t eat, drink, or sleep while using it. They may become ill if they continue to dance or maintain active, or mix the drug with alcohol, without taking time to rest and hydrate.
  • The brain does not form a physical dependency to ecstasy, but the substance itself can still become addictive. This is especially risky if the drug is mixed with other dangerous substances.

Signs of Teen Ecstasy Addiction

Elevated blood pressure

Elevated blood pressure

Abnormal heart rhythms

Abnormal heart rhythms

Oral health disorders

Oral health disorders

Kidney and heart problems

Kidney and heart problems

Teen Ecstasy Addiction Treatment

Memory loss

Teen Ecstasy Addiction Treatment

Mood swings

Teen Ecstasy Addiction Treatment

Brain damage

What Causes Teen Ecstasy Addiction?

Drug Use – Each drug on its own is responsible for triggering addiction, but teens who regularly use are more likely to become addicted to another. Studies have shown ecstasy may change alter neurotransmitters in a manner similar to other stimulants – just not as harshly. Most MDMA research is focused on animals, but scientists believe the results are the same within human anatomy. It’s important to remember that MDMA is very likely to be laced or mixed with other drugs, increasing the odds of a cross-addiction.


Depression and Mood Disorders – Teens struggling with depression are likely to look for ways to alleviate their symptoms. It doesn’t matter if they have a chronic, undiagnosed condition or if they are dealing with a short-term issue, like grief. MDMA has the ability to completely alter the way a person feels, if only for the short-term. It’s important to encourage people who seem sad or depressed to seek help instead of self-medicating.


Stress – Excess stress doesn’t always lead to depression, but it can still be tough to deal with and it can still increase the risk for drug use. Teens will often turn to drugs when they feel like they are out of control. Seem feel ecstasy can make them more productive or focused. They may start with extra small doses and then take more as it wears off.

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Teen Ecstasy Addiction Treatment


of people over the age of 12 have tried ecstasy at least once


of teens under age 18 have tried ecstasy


of people between ages 18 and 25 have tried ecstasy

How Can I Help My Teen with Ecstasy Addiction?

Practice Responsibility – Your teen is experiencing significant stress during the transition from childhood into adolescence and young adulthood. Struggle is a part of the process, but some teens need help better identifying the potential consequences of their actions, risks and solutions associated with their assigned responsibilities. It’s normal for teens to not be as experienced at assessing risks, but they will rely on you as the parent to help guide them.

Discuss Recovery Options – Recovery is a lifelong commitment and your teen does need to be a part of the process when it comes to exploring options. After rehab, your teen will need help finding and getting to group meetings, therapy sessions, and activities or hobbies that further support their efforts towards recovery.

Family Therapy – Addiction impacts the entire family, so you may need to spend time as a group working to heal the wounds your teen’s substance abuse has caused. Therapy can also go a long way in restoring trust while helping you identify ways to support each other in the future.


What Types of Teen Ecstasy Addiction Treatment Are Available?

The most effective treatments are those that take place in a drug-free environment, complete with individualized therapies and amenities designed to move teens towards their goals. We work hard to make sure teens learn to set goals, explore interests and strengthen their relationships with others. A combination of therapeutic approaches tailored to your teen’s unique needs works best.

Talk Therapy

It’s difficult to undo the effects of long periods of use. Teens who have used may feel anxious, depressed, sad or even paranoid. These sensations can lead to self-harm and in some cases suicide. Teens who struggle with drug abuse know there will be a stigma cast on them as they go through life, making it more difficult to build up new levels of confidence. Therapy aids teens as they work to commit themselves to sober living.

Talk therapy is more effective for some teens than others, but it’s still important to spend time exploring why a teen turned to drugs to begin with. Therapy helps teens better understand the psychological effects of drug use while at the same time preparing them for the struggles involved with fighting cravings during a sober life.

Group Therapy

One-on-one therapy is important for addressing a teen’s unique circumstances, but group therapy helps teens identify with others going through the same thing. Their shared experiences and common struggles. Sharing in group therapy helps each member see the potential that lies in the future while also inspiring hope.

Residential Treatment

Recovery from an addiction has to happen in a drug-free environment. Residential programs take away temptation and access to drugs. The staff in a residential program can guide your teen to safe, harm-free sobriety, helping them work through withdrawal while planning for the future. These centers employ medical professionals, therapists, and staff who are familiar with addiction and care about your teen’s success.

Teen Ecstasy Addiction Treatment at Paradigm San Francisco

The very first goal at Paradigm San Francisco is to get teens into detox. Our facilities offer a safe environment in which medical professionals can monitor their physical and psychological health as they go through the process. If uncomfortable symptoms arise (physical or mental), they can be addressed and supported on the spot.

Addiction Therapy

Teens working to stop using ecstasy need to understand what led them to become addicted to start with. Their therapy sessions will be built around using different techniques to uncover the underlying causes of their drug use. They’ll learn to understand their own habits, clearly see why they started using and work towards building a healthier lifestyle.

Group therapy is a crucial component (including both peer and family sessions). Group sessions with peers help them to feel supported and understood in a nonjudgmental atmosphere. Family therapy sessions can help teens rebuild broken relationships, relearn strong communication methods and address any other household stressors.

Working Together

Every teen has unique issues and circumstances, and all of our treatment programs are designed accordingly. While each teen receives individualized care, we find that bringing them together in small groups gives them the chance to learn to help and trust each other. Rebuilding social skills and trust is an important part of the overall process, but teens can learn to work together in a supportive environment.

After a year of unpredictable ups and downs, regular therapy, out patient treatment, home schooling, trying everything possible to help my son, researching, calling and visiting numerous residential treatment centers, I visited Paradigm and found our solution.

– Linda.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teen Ecstasy Addiction Treatment

Can my teenager make a full recovery?

Every case is unique, so it’s difficult to provide recovery statistics to parents. While your teen’s therapy will take a multimodal approach, their success will depend on a number of factors, including your teen’s willingness to participate.

Some teens leave therapy and remain sober for many years. Others are fine for a great deal of time but then run into a situation that triggers a relapse, ultimately needing more formal teen ecstasy addiction treatment. It’s hard to define success in addiction therapy, as some view it in terms of the way they feel, measure it in time, or attach another sensation to the word. The ultimate goal is to convince a teen to seek help, avoid triggers and better understand the side effects of drug use.

At Paradigm San Francisco, we work hard to create an environment conducive to recovery. We do all we can to make sure the teens in our programs leave with the tools they need to maintain long-term success. We’re here to support family and friends in their efforts to help their loved ones on the road to recovery, too.

Is it true that MDMA isn’t really harmful?

MDMA is not fully approved for any type of medical use or treatment, although some research does show it may be useful for highly specialized treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Any sort of approval for psychiatric care will not happen until 2021 or later, and it also doesn’t mean the drug is safe to use recreationally. Researchers who currently test the drug are often testing it in hospital under the close watchful eye of doctors with people who have intractable, severe PTSD (such as combat vets). It is never intended to be a first-line treatment.

All forms of MDMA are currently sold illegally and can have undesirable side effects. Many are laced with other drugs, making it impossible to call it pure. Any drug that gives you a high, with no actual treatment potential, is more likely to cause you harm than anything else.

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