MDMA is a synthetic illicit drug commonly known as Molly. It has been around for decades and was once used as a treatment for some psychological disorders. Today it is only used recreationally and has no medicinal purpose. When ingested, Molly produces a euphoric high, creating a feeling of well being. Its effects are psychologically addictive. Molly is distributed in capsule form and mixed with other substances. In the early 1990’s and 2000’s, it was found in a purer form, but today drug dealers mix it with many other substances like cocaine, ketamine, and methamphetamine.
Molly increases the activity of certain feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain, like dopamine and serotonin. This gives users a euphoric high, increases empathy, gives an energy boost, and can cause sensory disturbances in higher doses. The effects of Molly peak after a few hours and users then experience a crash. This crash is due to depletion of the brain’s feel-good chemicals and can take days to return to feeling normal. The crash is often associated with extreme fatigue and depression.
When the brain chemistry is altered by Molly repeatedly on a regular basis, it stops producing the feel-good neurotransmitters on its own. Over time, a tolerance is built up which requires the user to need more Molly in order to feel the same effects. Chronic use of Molly creates a physical dependence on the drug in order to feel normal. In addition to physical dependence, chronic Molly use can create a powerful psychological addiction.
When Molly is stopped abruptly, the brain experiences symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms include depression, confusion, anxiety, cravings, agitation, paranoia, insomnia, fatigue, lack of focus, loss of appetite, and cognitive deficits. In some heavy users, these cognitive deficits including memory loss can be permanent. Because Molly is almost always mixed with other drugs that are addictive, it can be difficult to single out Molly as the cause of withdrawal symptoms. Users may have developed addictions to other drugs they were unknowingly repeatedly exposed to. Molly is also commonly abused with other drugs like marijuana and alcohol.
Detox from Molly should be completed in an inpatient facility with knowledgeable staff and physicians. Staff members can supervise and monitor the Molly user for withdrawal symptoms and offer support during the initial phase of detox. Severe depression is a typical withdrawal symptom for chronic Molly users so patients need to be monitored for suicide prevention. Any underlying mental health issue needs to be addressed while patients are in recovery from Molly in order to prevent relapse. Physicians may prescribe medications during Molly detox in order to avoid harmful withdrawal symptoms like seizures or cramping.
Withdrawal from Molly can be complicated by other drug use. The duration of the detox process varies from person to person and can be affected by other factors. These include the length of time a person has been using Molly, how often it is used, if other drugs and alcohol were being used with it, and if there are underlying mental health issues that need to be treated. Symptoms of Molly withdrawal usually peak within a few days and last about a week. Depression and intense cravings for the drug can persist for several weeks and months.
Relapse is a particular concern after detoxing from Molly because the user’s tolerance level is not what it was when they were using. This can lead to overdose. Relapse prevention should be addressed in an inpatient facility so that supportive therapies, group counseling, and support groups can be utilized after detox. Because Molly is typically abused by teens and young adults, support groups and therapies should be sought out in facilities with similar age groups.
Withdrawal symptoms are not comfortable but can be managed with the help of trained addiction professionals. Attempting to detox without the help of medical professionals is not recommended due to the incidence of relapse and risk of overdose. The goal of living a life free from drugs and alcohol can be achieved after detoxing from Molly, but there must be a good support system in place for therapy, learning new coping strategies for life stressors, and meeting new peers who are also committed to living a sober life.