Ecstasy (MDMA) and Anxiety: How Does Ecstasy Affect People with Anxiety

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.
  • 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.

Mammoser, G. (2018, May 10). Here Are 4 Conditions That the Drug Ecstasy May Help Treat. Retrieved from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly). Retrieved from

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

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