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MDMA Withdrawal | Psychological & Physiological Symptoms

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MDMA, otherwise known as ecstasy or molly, is a popular recreational drug often used at music festivals and clubs. While its effects can last for hours and leave users feeling euphoric, with increased energy, and an overall sense of well-being, there are also potential risks associated with the use of MDMA. 

One such risk is the possibility of developing withdrawal symptoms when getting off MDMA. If you or someone you know has recently stopped using MDMA, it’s important to be aware of what withdrawal looks like and how to manage it. 

What is MDMA used for?

MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy or molly, is a synthetic drug with stimulant and hallucinogenic effects. It was originally developed in 1912 as a potential medication to treat various psychological conditions; however, it has now become widely used as a recreational drug during nightclubs, music festivals, and other high-energy events. 

Individuals who use MDMA typically experience feelings of increased happiness and emotional warmth toward others. Although MDMA does carry some risks including dehydration, insomnia, and nausea when taken in excess, it remains an extremely popular drug due to its euphoric effects.

What is MDMA withdrawal?

When someone stops using a substance (MDMA) they have become dependent on, their body may experience symptoms commonly referred to as “withdrawal”. These symptoms can occur both physically and psychologically due to changes in the brain caused by regular substance use. 

For those who have used MDMA regularly for a long period of time, withdrawal symptoms can be severe enough that professional help is necessary for recovery. 

Is it common to have MDMA withdrawal? 

Yes, it is common to have MDMA withdrawal as the drug is known to alter the chemistry. As a result, when someone stops the use of this drug, they experience a set of extreme psychological as well as physical symptoms.

Symptoms of MDMA Withdrawal:

Here is a complete list of psychological and physical symptoms associated with MDMA withdrawal.

Psychological symptoms

In addition to physical symptoms, users may also experience psychological withdrawal symptoms when coming off of MDMA. These can include depression, anxiety, irritability, increased craving for the drug, and difficulty concentrating. 

These psychological effects are typically more severe than the physical ones and can last for weeks or even months after stopping the use of the drug. In some cases, these psychological withdrawal symptoms may lead to suicidal thoughts or behavior. 

It is important to seek professional help if you are experiencing any of these psychological effects while trying to quit using MDMA. 

Physiological symptoms

MDMA withdrawal often includes physical symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, headaches, muscle pain, tremors, chills, upset stomach, and decreased appetite. These physical symptoms are usually the first signs that someone is going through withdrawal from MDMA and can last for several days or longer depending on the individual’s level of usage. 

It is important to note that these physical symptoms may be exacerbated if MDMA is taken in combination with other drugs or alcohol. Someone might experience these symptoms within hours of their last MDMA intake.

How to manage MDMA withdrawal? 

While MDMA can provide users with an enjoyable experience in the short-term, long-term use or abuse of the substance can lead to withdrawal. In order to manage MDMA withdrawal one must understand what it is along with its potential dangers and create a plan for successful management. 

When someone withdraws from MDMA their body experiences rebound effects from its artificial stimulation. This includes feelings of fatigue, decreased motivation, and lack of pleasure which are all common during withdrawal. 

People who have developed tolerance or addiction to drugs may also experience more severe withdrawal symptoms such as agitation and confusion that require immediate attention.

The first step in managing MDMA withdrawal is to get professional help. Finding a qualified medical doctor or therapist who specializes in addiction treatment is essential for successful recovery. 

Many individuals turn to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as part of their treatment program because it helps to identify triggers and develop skills needed for relapse prevention. Additionally, medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), mood stabilizers, or anti-anxiety medications can be prescribed by a physician alongside CBT treatments in order to reduce physical cravings and aid in overall symptom relief. 

In addition to professional help, it’s important for those recovering from MDMA abuse or dependence to make lifestyle changes such as avoiding triggers like people or places associated with drug use before quitting entirely. 

It’s also beneficial to engage in activities that promote healthy well being like exercising regularly and eating healthy meals throughout the day which can boost serotonin levels naturally while reducing feelings of depression or agitation caused by withdrawal symptoms. 

Having supportive family members or friends during recovery can also be greatly beneficial when managing withdrawals from MDMA as having positive social support helps increase the self-esteem needed for a successful recovery. 

How long can MDMA withdrawal symptoms last? 

MDMA withdrawal symptoms usually start within 24 hours of the last drug intake and can last for several days to a week. However, some people may experience more prolonged or longer-term effects, such as depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and cognitive impairments. 

These effects can last for several weeks or even months after the last using the drug. It’s important to note that everyone’s experience with withdrawal can be different and can be affected by a number of factors, such as the frequency and quantity of use, as well as underlying mental health conditions.

MDMA Withdrawal Timeline

The timeline for MDMA withdrawal can vary depending on the individual, but generally, the most intense symptoms occur within the first week after the last using the drug. The following is a general timeline of what to expect during MDMA withdrawal:

First 24 hours:

The effects of MDMA typically last for 3 to 6 hours, but some people may experience mild “crash” or hangover-like symptoms immediately after the drug wears off. These can include fatigue, depression, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

Days 1-3: 

Symptoms may worsen and can include increased depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Other symptoms may include fatigue, loss of appetite, and difficulty concentrating.

Days 4-7:

Symptoms may continue to improve, but some people may still experience depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

After a week: 

Most physical withdrawal symptoms should have subsided, but some people may continue to experience prolonged or longer-term effects such as depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairments. These effects can last for several weeks or even months after the last using the drug.

MDMA Detoxification  

MDMA Detoxification is a process to help individuals address their physical dependence on MDMA, otherwise known as ecstasy. This type of detoxification can take many different forms, depending on the severity of the addiction, age, history of MDMA overdose, and medical history of the patient.

What is safe to ingest during MDMA detox?

During MDMA detox it is safe to ingest the following substances:

  • Balanced and nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, and seeds
  • Electrolyte drinks and water
  • Food rich in omega-3
  • Foods that lower your body temperature such as citrus fruits

What you should avoid during MDMA detox?

Here are a few things you should avoid during MDMA detox:

  • Processed foods high in saturated fats and salt to reduce inflammation 
  • Substances such as alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, hallucinogenics, and other psychoactive drugs
  • Caffeine and other stimulants can increase heart rate and blood pressure Over-the-counter medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine which can cause a dangerous rise in blood pressure

Bottom Line: Managing MDMA Withdrawal

It is important to remember that everyone experiences different levels of severity when it comes to withdrawing from drugs like MDMA. 

If you or someone you know is addicted to ecstasy or molly and is considering quitting their use of the drug it is important to speak with a medical professional about what kind of treatment plan might best suit them in order to ensure safe detoxification from the substance as well as prevent relapse into further addiction problems down the road. 

Withdrawing from any type of drug can be difficult but with proper care and support it can be done safely and effectively in order to get one’s life back on track.


Warren Phillips

Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker, who specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Clinically, Warren has developed a therapeutic skillset that utilizes a strengths-based perspective, Twelve Step philosophies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

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Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.