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MDMA Withdrawal – Effects & Symptoms

By February 19, 2019 June 15th, 2023 No Comments
mdma addiction treatment

When someone addicted to MDMA stops using the drug, they will experience withdrawal. This is a term used to describe the physical and psychological symptoms that occur when an addictive substance gradually leaves the addicted person’s system.

The first and most severe phase of withdrawal is called acute withdrawal. This is the period during which the initial physical and psychological effects are felt. It usually lasts several days. In post-acute withdrawal, the nature and severity of symptoms change, but can still be very intense. The timeline of the withdrawal process varies. Certain physical and psychological effects of MDMA can be very long-lasting.


When an addicted person stops using the addictive substance, they will experience detox. This is a central part of the withdrawal process. As the addictive substance leaves the person’s system, they will experience a range of physical and psychological symptoms. Some of these symptoms may cause the person to require medical supervision during detox.

Mental conditions such as psychosis, depression, severe anxiety or intense confusion may necessitate medical supervision. Addicted people coping with concurrent mental health disorders may also require support during detox. Physical symptoms such as severe dehydration, reduced kidney function, seizures or brain damage also require medical intervention and support. For some addicted people, these more severe withdrawal symptoms may not occur or may occur in a less extreme form.

Any other physical or mental health conditions an addicted person may be coping with may also complicate detox and should be discussed with a medical professional. Once a person has detoxed and progressed through acute withdrawal, their cognitive, emotional and physical function will begin to improve. By this point, they will be more receptive to therapy or counselling and can begin to work towards lasting recovery.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal from MDMA can involve a range of symptoms. Some of the more common include:

  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor memory and focus
  • Reduced decision-making and problem-solving abilities
  • Panic
  • Body aches
  • Digestive problems
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration

The severity of these symptoms will vary from person to person.

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

More severe withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Intense confusion
  • Paranoid delusions
  • Psychosis or severe paranoia
  • Intense disorientation
  • Acute depression
  • Kidney problems
  • Cardiac arrhythmia

While withdrawal symptoms from MDMA are not generally life-threatening, they may involve  suicidal thoughts, dangerous hostility, severely impaired decision making or psychosis, conditions which can put the addicted person and those around them in danger. In some cases, the kidneys and the heart may also be damaged by MDMA abuse. This can lead to severe problems during withdrawal.

Relapse During Withdrawal

Many addicted people relapse during withdrawal in order to cope with their withdrawal symptoms. As well as maintaining the addiction, this can also be very dangerous as a user’s tolerance may have dropped. If they use a similar dose as they did pre-detox, they may overdose.

Other Substances

Addicted people also sometimes turn to other substances to ease their withdrawal symptoms. Unless these substances are medically prescribed, this is not an effective strategy: it prevents the user from coping with the consequences of their addictive behaviour and may lead to another addiction.

Post-Acute Withdrawal

During post-acute withdrawal, cravings, agitation and physical discomfort will usually reduce. Intense symptoms may still occur, though usually with less regularity. New psychological symptoms such as depression may also emerge during this phase. Symptoms such as agitation, physical discomfort and strong cravings are likely to continue throughout the withdrawal process and for some time after.

In the later stages of the withdrawal process, an addicted person’s cognitive function will begin to recover. Their problem-solving and decision-making abilities will gradually improve, as will their memory and concentration. Sleep may also improve. This means that the addicted person will be in a more stable and receptive condition to enter the next phase of their treatment. Certain prescribed medications may also help to repair some of the damage done by MDMA addiction, but they should only be taken precisely as prescribed.

Managed Withdrawal and Treatment

Once an addicted person has progressed through the early withdrawal phase, their work towards lasting recovery can truly begin. Evidence-based addiction treatment will help to identify the underlying causes and consequences of the addiction. It will address the mental health issues co-occuring alongside the addiction. Treatment methods such as individual therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and group counselling help addicted people to identify the root of the problems they face and to develop methods for coping with them. They can also identify relapse triggers and prepare to cope with them in a progressive manner.

With evidence-based, dedicated support, a person addicted to MDMA can restore cognitive function, improve their mental health and increase their resistance to cravings and relapse triggers. Ultimately, they can restore order to their lives and build the strongest possible foundation for lasting recovery.

If you have any questions or concerns about MDMA addiction or withdrawal, contact Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres today.

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

We offer residential and outpatient rehab treatment programs for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

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