MDMA is better known by its street name, Molly. It is a synthetic drug, meaning it is produced in a lab, not found in nature like marijuana or opioids. Molly has both stimulant and mild hallucinogenic properties. Molly was originally introduced to treat a variety of different psychological disorders but has since become entirely used for recreational purposes. It is typically found in capsule form.
Molly’s effects on the brain are achieved by altering three different neurotransmitters in the brain; serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The alteration of serotonin produces euphoria, heightened empathy, and sociability. Dopamine increases euphoria as well and also increases energy in the user. Norepinephrine has a stimulant effect in the body which increases heart rate and blood pressure.
Using Molly can be dangerous because of its side effects and potential for abuse. Drug dealers often mix other drugs with the MDMA in order to achieve similar effects, but unwanted side effects are more likely to occur due to this. Common drugs used to cut MDMA with include cocaine, bath salts, methamphetamine, ketamine, and over the counter cold medications.
When individuals take Molly, they experience increased energy, feelings of emotional closeness, euphoria, and sensory alterations. As the Molly leaves the system, the body and brain experience a crash. This results in feelings of depression and emotional withdrawal because the neurotransmitters in the brain have been depleted. This can lead the user to want to use Molly again in order to feel normal. Over time, this cycle of use can lead the brain to stop producing its feel-good neurochemicals on its own. Individuals then need to take the drug in order to feel normal and not feel symptoms of withdrawal.
In addition to its sought-after effects, Molly also causes many unwanted side effects which only become worse with chronic use. These effects include nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, appetite loss, teeth grinding, increased body temperature, dehydration, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, liver and kidney damage, long-term permanent changes to the brain, and physical dependence.
Addiction to Molly typically occurs in young adults, aged sixteen to twenty-four. Often, their peers are also Molly users. For this reason, Molly addiction treatment should occur in an inpatient facility. This will isolate the individual from their peer group and other bad influences and allow them to focus on their recovery. When individuals abruptly stop using Molly, they can exhibit withdrawal symptoms. When detox is undergone in an inpatient facility, the individual can be monitored during this “crash” by medical professionals who understand how to treat withdrawal symptoms. Because it can take time for the brain to once again produce its own neurotransmitters, intensive inpatient therapy and support groups can help individuals get through this period.
Therapy is an integral part of Molly addiction treatment. Individual therapy can help users understand why they became addicted to Molly, and how they will avoid using in the future. Group therapy with others close in age can be a helpful tool in treating Molly addiction. Group therapy allows individuals to bond with others who are experiencing similar issues and form new social relationships with good influences. Family therapy can be helpful for young adults dealing with Molly addiction. The age group this substance use disorder affects is typically still dependent on their immediate family for financial support and may still be living with them. Involving family in recovery allows the individual to be accountable for their future actions.
Support groups like narcotics anonymous and other 12 step programs are extremely beneficial to many Molly users in recovery. Again, because most Molly users are quite young, it is important to seek out support programs involving peers around the same age.
As with almost all other substance use disorders, there are often co-occuring mental health issues at play that may have pushed an individual towards abusing Molly. It is important for any underlying mental health disorder to be addressed and treated while in recovery in order to prevent relapse.
Molly is a dangerous drug with a significant risk of dependence when used long-term. Treatment for Molly addiction should be undergone with the help of trained addiction specialists and physicians in order to facilitate the greatest chance for recovery. The support of family and friends is very important for those seeking treatment for substance abuse. Individuals who seek professional help and have the support of their loved ones have a much greater chance of living the rest of their lives clean and sober.