Home | Teen Help and Teen Issues Articles | Get Teen Help for a Troubled Teen with Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment...CLICK HERE!
Information you should know about troubled teens
» Need teen help?
» What is normal?
» What are warning signs?
» Troubled Teen Programs
» Teen Drug Abuse
» Troubled Teen Issues
» Teen Mental Health
» Other Resources
What is Ecstasy?

What is ecstasy? Is ecstasy a date rape drug? What are some statistics on ecstasy? What are the effects of ecstasy? What are the warning signs that a teen may be using ecstasy? This article will review these questions and more about ecstasy.


Ecstasy is an illegal drug that has effects similar to hallucinogens and stimulants. Ecstasy's scientific name is "MDMA" or methylenedioxymethamphetamine. That word is almost as long as the all-night dance club "raves" or "trances" where ecstasy is often used. That's why ecstasy is called a "club drug."

Ecstasy is one name for MDMA, an illegal drug similar to hallucinogens and stimulants. Ecstasy is considered a date rape drug and a club drug because it is popular at clubs, parties, raves, and trances, but some teens also use ecstasy in other settings, including at home. Many troubled teens think that ecstasy is harmless, but ecstasy can have serious effects on a teen's body and mind, sometimes including death. Parents should learn about ecstasy and talk to their teens about the drug to discourage its use.

Ecstasy, also known as E, XTC, X, Adam, hug, beans, clarity, lover's speed, or love drug, is a manufactured drug, made out of a variety of chemicals in labs hidden around the country. Because ecstasy is manufactured, its strength can vary greatly and it may contain unknown chemicals, poisons, or other drugs, which can create a deadly combination. Ecstasy is usually taken by mouth, often in the form of a pill that may be a bright color or have a cartoon image on it.

By eighth grade about 3 percent of teens have used ecstasy, and by the end of high school that number increases to between 5 and 8 percent. The use of ecstasy seems to be decreasing among older teens who have been educated about the drug, but is increasing in younger teens who don't know that ecstasy is dangerous.

When a teen takes ecstasy, the drug reaches the teen's brain in about 15 minutes, causing a high that lasts 3 to 6 hours. During the high, the teen may feel hyper and experience changes in sensation and perception, such as a feeling of time distortion or a heightened sense of touch. Some teens may also feel anxious or dizzy, or experience chills or sweating. When the ecstasy wears off, the teen feels depressed or anxious, sometimes for up to a week after using the drug. Ecstasy interferes with the normal chemicals in a teen's brain and the body's ability to regulate temperature, which can lead to overheating and dehydration. Serious damage to the body can occur when a teen takes multiple doses, but even a single dose can have long-term effects on a troubled teen's body and mind.

Some side effects of teen ecstasy use can include: 

  • Sadness or depression 
  • Anxiety or intense fear
  • Tightness in the jaw
  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Blurred vision
  • Increase in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Hyperthermia, or dangerous overheating
  • Loss of memory, and confusion
  • Sleep problems
  • Seizures
  • Addiction
  • Heart, kidney, or liver problems, sometimes leading to death

Parents should talk to their teens about the dangers of ecstasy use and discourage them from trying it or going to parties, raves, or clubs where it may be present. Some signs that a teen may be using ecstasy are:

  • Grinding teeth or clenching his or her jaw
  • Mood swings
  • Slow or slurred speech
  • Poor memory and difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Decline in academic performance

Parents who see these signs in their teen, or suspect that their teen might be using ecstasy, should talk to the troubled teen and express their concern. Troubled teens who use ecstasy should not be permitted to go to parties or clubs since these are common venues for ecstasy use, though the teen may also be using ecstasy at home or in other settings. A teen who has used ecstasy should be seen by a doctor, who can check for damage done to organs and suggest treatments if the teen is suffering from ecstasy addiction. Drug rehabilitation centers for teens or programs such as Narcotics Anonymous can help troubled teens who are trying to overcome an addiction to ecstasy.

What is Ecstasy? Sources:

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA for Teens, Facts on Drugs: Ecstasy [online]
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Family Guide, Survey Shows Parents Need Facts About Ecstasy [online]

Related Article: What is Marijuana? >>

Copyright© 2009 - Troubled Teen 101 - Help For Troubled Teen Issues privacy policy | terms of use | about troubled teens | contact us | We offer Teen Help Solutions through Residential Treatment Centers, Boarding Schools, and Specialty Private Schools for Troubled Teens.