Ecstasy Treatment Program
For many people, experimentation with Ecstasy (MDMA) has proven to be a losing gamble. The chefs in illegal labs often produce a product more akin to methamphetamine than MDMA, which when taken in large oral doses can cause a heart attack, a seizure, or a stroke. Even if the pill swallowed happens to be MDMA, when the high wears off users must deal with a syndrome marked by depression, anxiety and irritability. Some research shows that MDMA users have significant short-term and long-term verbal memory impairment. This is not surprising since those who experiment with ecstasy often suffer from a co-occurring mood disorder. MDMA use can easily lead to dependence, defined as the continued use despite knowledge of physical or psychological harm, withdrawal effects, and tolerance.
Morningside’s Phase I treatment supports clients through early treatment by providing a serene culture where clients can get rest and nutritional support. Clients receive therapeutic support as well as nutritional counseling and exercise to help them get their strength and health back. One client described his early days in residential treatment: “After detoxing, I really needed the support from the other clients who had already been through those first weeks. The case manager, my therapist and the other clients really opened my eyes to some of the ways I was dealing with life.”
Recovering MDMA users learn to deal with their emotions, set new goals, and look at life in a new way. A big part of this is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which is like a customizable training program that helps clients unlearn old behaviors associated with drug abuse and learn healthier skills and behaviors. By the time the level of substance use is severe enough to warrant treatment, clients are likely using Ecstasy as their way of relating to the world. Many clients have never learned effective strategies to deal with the challenges and responsibilities of life, since often their substance abuse began in early adolescence.
Although the individual may have acquired effective coping strategies at one time, any strategies acquired can erode under the constant barrage of ego-boosting chemicals. Many users spend most of their time acquiring, using, and then recovering from drugs.
A client shared his story, “I would go to clubs every night of the week. I’d eat whatever pills they were selling that night. I was a freelance graphic artist working from home. But instead of designing on my computer, I’d be sleeping off the drugs.” Thus, CBT treatment at Morningside deals with a range of problems the individual may be dealing with such as unemployment, strained familial relationships and legal issues. Clients work on skills as specific strategies for solving daily problems.
In this early phase of recovery, clients begin to develop a sense of purpose and formulate a sense of community. This phase of treatment also begins to provide hope and understanding to the client’s family and friends. Everyone involved begins to see the path to recovery by understanding addiction. Clients often say that recovery through personal growth makes drugs a closed chapter in their life.