MDMA (Ecstasy) Withdrawal Medication and Treatment
People who use Ecstasy (also referred to as MDMA or Molly) may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using. Here's what you need to know.
People who regularly use Ecstasy (also referred to as MDMA or Molly) may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using.2,6 Professional Ecstasy withdrawal treatment can help people deal with the symptoms as they work to become clean and sober.
Treatment programs may include detox centers, inpatient rehabs, and outpatient programs. Although there are no specific medications for Ecstasy withdrawal, physicians may prescribe other medications to help ease withdrawal effects, such as insomnia. As detoxing cold turkey at home can be difficult because of the possibility of developing mental or physical health issues. The medical care and supervision available at treatment centers may help prevent or alleviate these problems.
Detoxing From MDMA at Home
Some users are tempted to detox at home and try to stop using cold turkey. Although Ecstasy withdrawal is not usually life-threatening, it can be challenging and pose a number of potential concerns, including:
- Aggressive behaviors.3
- An increased chance of depression and risk of suicide.5
- An increase in anxiety or other mental health issues. 5
- A risk of relapse due to cravings. Although cravings are uncommon, some users do experience them when they stop using.4
In addition, because Ecstasy or Molly is usually not pure and is often cut with other substances, such as cocaine or amphetamine, users may experience additional withdrawal symptoms associated with the combinations of these drugs.6 Some users may also use other drugs to help ease the withdrawal symptoms from Ecstasy, which can lead to further substance abuse.
Professional detox programs provide a safe and comfortable method of undergoing MDMA withdrawal. Not only will a person receive proper supervision and care to help them get through the withdrawal period as comfortably as possible, but detox programs also have qualified staff on hand who can treat any medical or mental health symptoms that may occur.
Detox and Withdrawal Treatment for MDMA
The most common withdrawal treatment options include:
- Stand-alone detox centers. At a detox center, patients live at the facility throughout the detoxification process, receiving 24/7 monitoring and support. They are discharged after they complete withdrawal, and they may continue treatment for addiction at another facility.
- Hospitals. Someone seeking treatment in a hospital will be treated in a specialized unit and receive 24/7 care and monitoring, much like a stand-alone detox center. Outpatient day treatment at a hospital offers support and monitoring but on a less intense basis.
- Inpatient treatment. In this type of treatment program, people reside at the drug treatment center for a specified period of time. Many inpatient rehab centers provide 24/7 monitoring and medical care for a detox as well as treatment for addiction, such as therapy and 12-step meetings.
- Outpatient treatment. In this type of setting, people live at home but travel to an outpatient treatment facility to receive withdrawal care and monitoring for the length of the program.
It’s important to participate in a professional MDMA recovery program to address the addiction and treat abuse of any other drugs.
In most cases, the care a person receives at these facilities will include medical supervision and monitoring for withdrawal symptoms, such as depression and insomnia, and medication to treat these or other physical and psychological symptoms.
After completing detox, it’s important to participate in a professional MDMA recovery program to address the addiction and treat abuse of any other drugs. In many cases, people can attend an addiction treatment program at the same facility where they completed detox.
Medications for MDMA Withdrawal
No specific Ecstasy withdrawal medications exist.6 However, certain supportive medications may be prescribed to treat symptoms. These medications may include:
- Antidepressants to treat depressive symptoms.
- Sleep aids to alleviate insomnia or other sleep disturbances.
- Benzodiazepines to treat anxiety.
- Fluids to treat dehydration, which is one of the primary risks of Ecstasy abuse.
- Additional medications to treat other symptoms as deemed necessary by a person’s medical provider.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2002). Ecstasy: What’s all the rave about?
- Muskin, P. (2014). DSM-5 self-exam questions: Test questions for the diagnostic criteria. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2006). What are the effects of MDMA?
- Davis, A. and Rosenberg, H. (2014). The prevalence, intensity, and assessment of craving for MDMA/ecstasy in recreational users. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 46 (2), 154–161.
- Bhatia, S., Gabel, T., and Petty, F. (eds.) (2017). Substance and nonsubstance related addiction disorder: Diagnosis and treatment. Sharjah, UAE: Bentham Science Publishers.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). MDMA (ecstasy, molly).
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2006). Quick guide for clinicians based on TIP 45—Detoxification and substance abuse treatment.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Treatment approaches for drug addiction.
- Center for Substance Abuse Research. (2013). Ecstasy.