Physical effects of ecstasy

Ecstasy usually produces a euphoric rush, usually within 20 minutes of swallowing it, which can last up to eight hours. There have been reported cases of symptoms lasting for as long as 32 hours after using ecstasy. Users may feel more alert, energetic and affectionate. Ecstasy also suppresses appetite.

The stimulants in ecstasy actually speed up the activity in the central nervous system. At the same time the hallucinogens in the drug can affect perception, causing things to appear distorted, or things that don’t exist to be seen or heard.

There are usually three phases experienced when taking ecstasy:

Coming up: the user may experience tightening of muscles, especially jaw, dilated pupils, visual distortions, nausea or vomiting, strong pulse, increased temperature, confusion and panic.

Plateauing: the user may experience feeling happy, more awake, relaxed, open, confident, talkative and have decreased urine output and increased thirst.

Coming down: the user can feel physically exhausted, depressed, anxious, paranoid, irritable, unable to sleep and the comedown will be more intense if they have taken other drugs, including alcohol.

This page was last reviewed in March 2014.