Mandy is a street name for ecstasy, or MDMA. MDMA initially enhances the brain concentrations of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate aggression, mood, sexual activity, sleep, sensitivity to pain, memory and body temperature. Eventually serotonin becomes depleted in the brain with repeated MDMA use. MDMA also induces a rapid and substantial elevation of dopamine, which plays a role in the control of movement, cognition, motivation and reward. This too is affected by repeated MDMA use.
MDMA produces immediate positive psychological effects of euphoria (feeling really happy), increased energy, and a feeling of closeness to others (empathy), and (less commonly) negative psychological effects of paranoia, anxiety and depression.
The most significant adverse effect of ecstasy use is hyperthermia which is increased body temperature and it can quickly become life threatening. The degree of hyperthermia is predictive of mortality i.e. the hotter you are the more dangerous it is for you.
MDMA can produce hyperthermia in quiet surroundings, but in the setting of ‘raves’ or dance parties, the harmfulness appears to be enhanced. It is probably a combination of the direct effects of MDMA, high local temperature, sustained physical activity (such as dancing) and inadequate fluid replacement
It takes some time for brain neurotransmitter levels to get back to normal levels following ecstasy use. Depression, or low mood, and concentration and/or memory problems are commonly reported in the week following ecstasy use. Cases of persistent depression, panic disorders, ‘flashbacks’ and delusions have been related to ecstasy use.
The risk of psychiatric problems following use of MDMA is probably greater when other drugs are used in addition to ecstasy. This is also true when ecstasy is used repeatedly and at high doses over a period of months or where there is a family or personal history of psychiatric disorders.
For general information on Ecstasy see our Drugs A-Z page – http://www.crashtest.im/drugs/called/ecstasy