Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; Ecstasy) is a derivative of methamphetamine. It is reported to cause severe damage to the serotonergic neurons in nonhuman primates and decreases in the serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in the cerebrospinal fluid of humans who have abused the drug. y MDMA acts as a stimulant and a hallucinogen. It is abused by individuals who wish to intensify their emotional and sensory experiences. MDMA and a close congener, methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), are reported to cause changes in the strength of the emotions. Psychiatrists have experimented with these drugs to facilitate psychotherapy, especially in patients who have difficulty in expressing their emotions.
MDMA and MDA can cause increases in blood pressure and heart rate, anxiety, and hyperactivity. Neurological side effects include pupillary dilatation and tremors. Seizures, strokes, and coma have also been reported with the use of MDMA.
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