Ecstasy, also referred to as 3,4- Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) or molly, is a synthetic drug known for its mood and perception-altering effects. MDMA mimics the effects of both stimulants and hallucinogens. While there has been limited research on the relationship between MDMA, and anxiety, some people have reported self-medicating for anxiety treatment using MDMA.

Can Ecstasy Help with Anxiety?

While not generally accepted as an approved treatment for anxiety, MDMA has been recognized for having anti-anxiety properties. The possible reason behind these findings is the suppression of the part of the brain responsible for feelings of fear and anxiety.

MDMA for Treating Anxiety

Taking MDMA to treat anxiety is not currently accepted by treatment providers, however, in the past MDMA was used legally during therapy because it was believed it would enhance sessions.

MDMA therapy for anxiety treatment is established in the belief that use of the drug may help someone to process difficult symptoms associated with anxiety. Some studies have found that using MDMA for anxiety treatment may be beneficial while other studies attempted to reproduce the same results and found little to no benefit of this type of treatment.

Can Ecstasy Cause Anxiety?

During the week following the use of ecstasy, someone is likely to feel that MDMA causes anxiety. Not only is experiencing anxiety after ecstasy uses common but other mental health symptoms such as irritability, depression and aggression may occur. For those who experience MDMA anxiety post-use, MDMA anxiety attacks may also occur. While experiencing anxiety after using MDMA  is more likely in people who have a history of anxiety, anxiety attacks may affect people with no prior history of anxiety.

The question  “can ecstasy cause anxiety?” may be answered clearly by the generalized and social anxiety after ecstasy use. Because anxiety induced from MDMA use typically resolves itself within a week, the question of “Can ecstasy cause permanent anxiety” depends on the duration of use. It appears that chronic use of MDMA is more likely to cause long-term negative mental health effects. Anxiety-producing side effects may be more intense and long-lasting for people who have a history of minor to severe anxiety.

Treating Anxiety Caused by MDMA

To effectively treat anxiety caused by MDMA, both the substance use and the anxiety must be treated at the same time. The most effective treatment is a treatment facility with a team of professionals experienced in treating co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.

Key Points: Ecstasy and Anxiety

  • Living with Anxiety and a co-occurring substance use disorder can be challenging.
  • Treatment professionals at The Recovery Village are experienced in treating substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • If you or a loved one struggles with addiction and a co-occurring mental health condition like anxiety, help is available at treatment centers across the country.

For more information about our care options, reach out to a representative today.

Denise-Marie Griswold
Medically Reviewed By – Denise-Marie Griswold, LCAS
Denise-Marie Griswold is a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist. She earned her Master's Degree in Substance Abuse and Clinical Counseling from East Carolina University in 2014. Read more

Mammoser, G. (2018, May 10). Here Are 4 Conditions That the Drug Ecstasy May Help Treat. Retrieved from[…]asy-may-help-treat#1

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly). Retrieved from[…]ts/mdma-ecstasymolly

Wing, N. (2015, March 19). DEA Approves Study Of Psychedelic Drug MDMA In Treatment Of Seriously Ill Patients. Retrieved from[…]study_n_6888972.html

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.