I can always count on BBC to produce some pretty interesting news articles. When I noticed the headline Man ‘took 40,000 ecstasy tablets,’ I’ll admit I was intrigued. Apparently, according to the article, a man was recorded as using an estimated 40,000 ecstasy pills in his life, most of which were taken between the ages of 21 and 30.
Psychosomatic Medicine, a journal, revealed that a man known as “Mr. A” was taking an average of 25 tablets a day. Doctors at St George’s Hospital, London are intrigued by Mr. A’s case because it was so extreme. Plus, the fact that Mr. A is 37 years old [demonstrates] he is a walking example of ecstasy’s long-term effects.
In my opinion, no one should take ecstasy but if one does, they should definitely not take 25 tablets a day. In no way am I advocating the use of ecstasy in the writing of this article. I am merely fascinated by the desire for this man to take so much in his lifetime.
Quoted in the BBC article, a DrugScope representative, Martin Barnes, said, “It is possible to become psychologically dependent on the feelings associated with ecstasy but heavy daily use is extremely rare and it is not thought that people can become physically dependent.” Based on this quote and my vague understanding of what ecstasy can do to one’s psyche, I can kind of understand the draw to using the amount Mr. A used given the assumption that Mr. A was deeply psychologically disturbed and was self-medicating to some degree.
Prior to Mr. A’s case, the largest reported ecstasy lifetime consumption by one person was roughly 2,000 tablets. One-twentieth of the amount Mr. A consumed. The doctors covering Mr. A’s case reported that for two years, the man took roughly five tablets every weekend, escalating to an average of roughly 4 tablets per day for the next three years. From there, he then quickly reached 25 tablets a day over the next four years. Mr. A stopped taking ecstasy only after reportedly ‘collapsing’ three times at parties.
As a case study, Dr. Christos Kouimtsidis said, “For a few months, [Mr. A] felt as if he was still under the influence of ecstasy and suffered several episodes of ‘tunnel vision’. He eventually developed severe panic attacks, recurrent anxiety, depression and muscle rigidity (particularly at the neck and jaw levels).”
While undergoing treatment at the addiction center at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, South London, he was still using marijuana and admitted to previously taking solvents, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, LSD, cocaine, and heroin.
The fact that this man is still alive after all of the drugs that have gone through his system completely amazes me. I’m sure the doctors are more than intrigued by the level of chemicals that has ran through this man’s body and the type of long-term affects they can observe just by the very existence of this man in their presence.
To contradict my own theory of Mr. A self-medicating himself, the doctors reported that there was no mental illness in his family and no previous psychiatric history of himself. The man simply liked to feel ‘high.’
What doctors have learned from Mr. A is that his case may be an “indication that daily use of ecstasy over a long period of time can lead to irreversible memory problems and other cognitive defects.”
Unfortunately, Mr. A dropped out of the study due to continued drug use. The doctors lost touch with him about a year ago. The study of Mr. A did show some patterns of long-term effects, however still not much is known of prolonged use. Short-term effects normally include impaired memory, sleep problems, and the ‘mid-week hangover.’
Overall, drug use, especially of the drugs along the lines of LSD, ecstasy, and heroin should be avoided due to their addictive psychological effects and detrimental side-effects to the human body and psyche.