Ecstasy use makes people depressed for life?

by MegaDude 21 Replies latest jw friends

  • MegaDude

    I know some of you have played around with Ecstasy. There are some good comments by people at the end of the article as to what they think of this research. One of the men I work with used a lot of Ecstasy in college and he is not depressed whatsoever. A bit paranoid and he flies off the handle too easily, but in no way is he depressed. Your thoughts?

    Ecstasy 'makes users depressed for life'

    By Sophie Goodchild and Kat Johnson

    16 March 2003

    A generation of young clubbers is risking long-term brain damage by taking the drug ecstasy, according to new research published yesterday. Academics are now warning that taking only one or two pills can lead to lasting depression.

    A two-year research study carried out by psychologists from London Metropolitan University found that people who had tried ecstasy on only a few occasions had depression levels four times higher than those who had taken a range of other drugs but not ecstasy.

    The findings presented to the British Psychological Society's annual conference in Bournemouth yesterday suggested that taking ecstasy left users susceptible to major problems triggered by stress or emotional turbulence.

    The results were based on studying 519 volunteers, including current and past ecstasy users, and others who had either never used drugs or had used a number of drugs other than ecstasy, including alcohol and cannabis.

    Participants were given a standard psychological questionnaire designed to discover to what extent they suffered from depression. A score of 25 on the questionnaire indicated clinically depression.

    Non-ecstasy users, including those taking other drugs such as alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, amphetamines and cocaine, had average scores of about four. But the scores of even non-frequent ecstasy users, including many who had only tried the drug once or twice, reached levels of 16 or 17. Frequent users scored values of up to 28 which put them in the category of clinically depressed even though they were generally not aware of the fact.

    Ecstasy is currently listed as a class A drug along with cocaine and heroin although recreational users deny that it has any lasting side effects.

    There have been 202 ecstasy deaths recorded in England and Wales between 1997 and April 2002. The dangers of the drug were first highlighted by the death of schoolgirl Leah Betts in 1995 who collapsed after taking ecstasy on her 18th birthday.

    A report by the Home Affairs Select Committee recommended the downgrading of the drug and anti-drug abuse charities say the Government is sending out the wrong message by linking it with heroin and cocaine.

    Lynn Taurah, who carried out the research with Dr Chris Chandler, said that ecstasy users did not realise they were depressed and she warned people to stay away from the drug.

    "People often think taking ecstasy just once or twice won't matter, but what we're seeing is evidence that if you take ecstasy a couple of times you do damage to your brain that later in life will make you more vulnerable," she said.

    Ms Taurah added that findings supported evidence from animal studies suggesting that even small doses of ecstasy destroyed brain neurons that produced the important chemical messenger serotonin, which is closely linked to mood. Seven years after the initial damage there was no sign of the neurons repairing themselves.

    The animal data raised the possibility that ecstasy may have a whole range of adverse effects involving memory, impulsiveness, decision-making, sleep, and mood.

    The research has been received with some scepticism. Dr Jon Cole of Liverpool University, whose own research concluded that the adverse effects of ecstasy had been exaggerated, said that scientists had yet to produce conclusive evidence that the drug had a long term negative impact on users.

    "Depression among ecstasy users is not unique. It is the same with people who abuse alcohol," said Dr Cole. "All the evidence so far points to the fact that all these side effects may be down to other factors."

    Additional reporting by Steve Bloomfield

    Dave Cole (19): Trainee civil engineer, Lincoln.

    "I've grown up a bit and realised you can go out and enjoy yourself without taking a whole load of drugs. I was at uni for six months and caned it too much. My come–downs were getting worse and nights out weren't so good. I got a job but I couldn't work and do this at the same time. I've only taken pills once in the past year."

    Kirsti Lunn (18): Lincoln.

    "Everyone's more laid back here, there's no fighting, no attitude – everyone's chilled and loved up. Everyone's taken drugs – go back to the 40s, 50s, 60s, everyone's done it – they just don't want to admit it. It's not a problem – so what if you pop a pill?"

    Salim Siwani (30): Computer programmer, Liverpool.

    "Five years ago I'd club every week – now it's once in a blue moon. I used to do ecstasy; it hasn't done me any harm. Two people I know who did too much are now on Prozac. The research is all bollocks – nobody knows the score but it's up to that person."

    Steve Hird (21): Student, Kendal.

    "People's attitudes to drugs have changed a hell of a lot. When I was 16, I was totally against taking drugs but nowadays, going out with drugs and coming clubbing is exactly like going out and getting pissed. It doesn't seem illegal – it just seems really normal to me."

  • joannadandy

    Obviously it depends on how much they have used and how often, and the person as well...

    I knew a girl in college who was quite the Exstacy junkie...every weekend, all the time, more and more. She would have such amazing lows after it wore off after a while, she was seriously depressed and suicidal.

    I have heard similar studies, and I dunno...if the research is on the up and up, it makes me, that depression could become an issue.

    However in the case of my friend...who knows...she could just be wired for depression anyway, and so the come down of that high is especially intense for her...I am torn.

    I am a firm believer that any drug you take and use hardcore is going to mess with your brain, life, emotional well-being in the long run...ANY DRUG...but that's just my opinion.

  • DanTheMan

    Between the ages of 17 and 21 I smoked pot almost every day. I have often wondered how much this has affected my long term mental health. I can't imagine that it helped me any.

    You couldn't pay me to try ecstasy, especially after reading this.

    Dan, depressed-and-anxious-ex-toker class

  • seawolf
    I am a firm believer that any drug you take and use hardcore is going to mess with your brain, life, emotional well-being in the long run...ANY DRUG...but that's just my opinion.

    I'm in 100% agreement on that one.

  • Lost Diamond
    Lost Diamond

    You want to read a load of information on any drug? Check out his site:

  • Trauma_Hound

    So, in 5 years, only 202 deaths, considering how many deaths a year from Alcohol, and Prescription drugs, it relativily safe compared to those.

  • Abaddon

    I've taken E a few times - less than a dozen I guess, it was a few years back.

    In terms of risk whilst under the influence, E is less risky than horse riding.

    Anecdotally all heavy E users I've known have a certain emotional blandness to them - it strikes me as similar to the not happy/not sad cotton wool of stuff like Zoloft/Prozac.

    The animal trials showing it to be harmful have generally been jokes - the equivalent of telling people if they drink three crates of beer a day it might harm their health.

    This is a worrying study, but it doesn't eliminate the self-selection factor as far as I can see, as Joanna suggests.

  • LyinEyes

    I watched a documentary on the use of X, it is a common thing once the drug wears off to come down crashing into a serious , but short lived depressive state. I forgot what the term was called something like Black Tuesdays????Now the ones who talked about this were X users on weekends every weekend. They said the depression was so bad all they could do was lay in the bed and wait for it to pass .

    The show explained that when you take X, a large surge of the neurotransmitter Serotonin, is what causes the euphoria. So it makes sense if you start moving the serotonin around too quickly you are going to deplete it in areas of it should stay in , that you would seriously come crashing down.

    I don't have facts or anything to back up what I am saying except what I have seen on tv,,,but the show did also say that just ONE time of X use can permanately alter your brain chemistry.

    This is the reason I have not ever taken it,,,,,,,,, My poor brain does not need any help from a drug that is going to screw it up worse than it already is........

    The excitment , euphoria is not worth the crash into depression for me, I have been seriously depressed and I would rather have a broken leg than go thru that. I have had withdrawal symtoms due to doctor prescribed medications and it is an ugly , painful experience as well.

  • Simon

    Maybe not so many direct deaths but perhaps it seriously affects quality of live (as most substance abuse / dependancy does, even if it doesn't kill you)

    Studies like this usually look at many more cases than the odd "I have a friend who ...". There will always be exceptions that peope can point to but the chances of being one of the exceptions is the risk you run.

  • Francois

    I sent this article to my daughter who told me she had used ecstasy a few times. I hope she gets the point. As I use Duragesic patches for chronic pain, I deal with the brink of depression quite a bit. It has gotten to the point where I'm ready to attempt getting off narcotic pain medication altogether; I'd rather deal with the pain than the depression. I can't imagine a lifetime of depression; life would not be worth living. It certainly has affected my quality of life just dealing with it off and on. And if I'm more willing to deal with physical pain than depression...well. If I actually go this route, I'll be sure and report the consequences. First there's getting off the narcs; no mean feat. However there's a new substance called Suboxone, a form of Buprenorphine, that's used now and apparently makes getting off vastly more easy. We'll see.

    I've smoked a box car load of dope in my life with no known ill effects. Well, it did get to the point where I was having paranoid reactions, and when that started, I dropped dope as well, ten or more years ago.

    For people who've never experienced depression, and therefore run that risk with ecstasy I say, you don't want to give up a depression-free life for a few hours of whatever ecstasy does for you. Whatever it is ain't worth the trade-off. Depression takes every last bit of the joy of living away from you and leaves only the husk of a human being behind. That's why the suicide rate among depressives is so high; there's just nothing left to live for. Think of that.


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