Ecstacy/MDMA attributed problems reported by novice, moderate and heavy recretional users

A. C. Parrott, T. Buchanan, A. B. Scholey, T. Heffernan, J. Ling, J. Rodgers

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The recreational use of MDMA/Ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is associated with many psychobiological problems, but there is a paucity of data on how these relate to the level of past use. Objectives: to assess the incidence of Ecstasy-attributed problems as reported by novice, moderate and heavy users. Methods: 763 unpaid volunteers took part in a WWW study of recreational drug use. This report is based on the 282 Ecstasy users from that sample, who comprised 109 novice users (1-9 occasions), 136 moderate users (10-99 occasions), and 36 heavy users (+100 occasions). Yes/no responses were automatically recorded to a series of questions covering psychobiological problems experienced when drug-free, which were attributed by the respondents to their Ecstasy use. Results: Depression, memory problems, anxiety, mood fluctuation, poor concentration, infections, tremors/twitches and weight loss, were all significantly associated with the extent of Ecstasy use. Thus memory problems attributed to Ecstasy were reported by 19% of novice users, 52% of heavy users and 73% of heavy users (chi-square 42.74, df = 2, p < 0.001); many of the other variables showed similar trends. Conclusions. The incidence of problems attributed to Ecstasy use, is directly related to the number of occasions it has been used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-312
Number of pages4
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Ectasy
  • MDMA
  • Memory
  • Mood

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