Mental health articles

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ecstasy side effects short term/long term

Ecstasy (‘Es’)

Ecstasy usually comes in tablet form and is swallowed. After about 20–30 minutes it produces a relaxed, euphoric state, a heightened perception of surroundings and a feeling of understanding and acceptance of others. This lasts for 2–4 hours. Tolerance does occur but physical dependence is not thought to. Many tablets sold as ecstasy do not contain any of the active ingredient methylendioxmethylamphetamine (MDMA). If used over several days (for example over a weekend) ecstasy users may subsequently experience feelings of fatigue and depression. Anxiety, panic, confusion, paranoia and psychosis have been reported with high levels of use. Delirium, convulsions, cardiac arrythmias and coma have all been associated with ecstasy and some deaths have occurred. Little is know about its long-term effects. This section has identified substances which are commonly misused, their mode of use, effects and complications. While for some people substance misuse brings enjoyment, for others it can have adverse physical, psychological, psychiatric, interpersonal, social and legal consequences which can be devastating for both the person themselves and those close to them. The information presented here provides the background knowledge needed to conduct a substance misuse assessment.

for people who had experienced suicidal thoughts were 14 per cent, 27 per cent and 57 per cent, respectively. Drug use was also associated with an increased risk of attempting suicide. Using their own measure for assessing dependence the researchers found that people defined as drug dependent (excluding cannabis) were five times more likely to have attempted suicide than those who were not: 20 per cent of the dependent group compared to 5 per cent of the non-dependent group. Another source of evidence demonstrating the association between substance use and suicides is ‘Safety First’, the National Confidential Inquiry Report into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness. The Inquiry Team received notifications of all suicides committed in England and Wales between April 1996 and March 2000; 5099 of these people had been in contact with mental health services in the year before death. Of these, 9 per cent had a primary diagnosis of alcohol dependence, and alcohol dependence was a common secondary diagnosis.

A further 40 per cent had a history of alcohol misuse. In relation to drug use, 4 per cent of those who committed suicide had a primary diagnosis of drug dependence, and drug dependence was a common secondary diagnosis. A further 28 per cent of people who committed suicide had a history of drug misuse and 19 per cent a history of both drug and alcohol use. Information highlighting the association between violence and substance use can also be found in this report. Also see Ward and Applin.

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