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ecstasy: health
evidence increases for long term harm

Increasing evidence from scientific studies suggests that long-term users of the drug Ecstasy may have permanent changes in the way their brains work. Evidence points to the loss of cells which produce a vital mood chemical called seratonin, although there is no evidence as yet that the loss of these cells has an adverse effect on brain health.

A recent autopsy on a 26-year-old Canadian long-term heavy user of Ecstasy (who died of an overdose of a different drug) revealed that his brain was found to have between 50% and 80% less serotonin than the brain of other patients.

Researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, admit that it's difficult to draw conclusions from this single case, but they say the finding is significant.

Seratonin (also spelt serotonin) is a neurotransmitter chemical, released by nerve cells in the brain, which controls mood, pain perception, sleep, appetite and emotion.

A lack of seratonin is also believed to be the cause of the "Ecstasy hangover" which cuts in when the drug stops taking effect. This manifests itself with feelings of excessive tiredness and irritability, and an inability to think clearly.

Although there is still no absolute proof that ecstasy causes long term damage, the evidence is slowly mounting, particularly for heavy users.

Ecstasy Memory Damage Long Term
Ecstasy: The health dangers
< back to ecstasy page

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Special note:
This site is all about harm reduction. We realise that some people will take drugs no matter what advice they are given, so we have reproduced this guide for information purposes only. It is not medical advice. If you are being coerced into taking drugs, or are in any doubt about taking a substance, our advice is to always refuse.

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