Side Effects of Mixing Ecstasy (MDMA) and Alcohol


Published On: October 27, 2023

You may believe that mixing ecstasy (MDMA) and alcohol will enhance the effects of these drugs and make your experience more enjoyable, but this practice can be potentially dangerous and even life-threatening.

Learn more about the side effects of mixing ecstasy and alcohol, whether it is legal to do so and how long these drugs stay in your system.

What is Ecstasy (MDMA)?

A woman taking a white pill

MDMA stands for Methyl enedioxy methamphetamine but is commonly known as ecstasy.

It is a synthetic drug that can produce both hallucinogenic and stimulant effects. This means that you will feel a rush of energy as well as altered sensory perception. [1]

Ecstasy is often found in a pill form but may also be sold as a powder. Many producers attempt to make this drug more appealing with pastel colours and popular cartoon characters printed on the pills.

It can be difficult to know just how much MDMA you are taking, as each pill or bath may have a different concentration.

It is often taken at parties, clubs or raves in an attempt to heighten the experience.

What are the Side Effects of Ecstasy (MDMA)?

A blurry, double vision view of a taxi

When you take ecstasy, you will experience various effects as the drug is processed through your body.

Some of these effects may be desired, such as energy boosts and increased happiness, while others, such as dizziness and jaw clenching, may cause you to feel uncomfortable.

The effects of ecstasy are usually felt fairly soon after taking this drug, within around 45 minutes. [1]

Some of the effects of ecstasy (MDMA) include:

  • Feeling happy and euphoric
  • Increased confidence
  • Desire to be close to other people
  • A boost of energy
  • Increased sexual desire
  • Faster heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Feeling faint or dizzy

There is no way to know how you will react to taking ecstasy, even if you have taken it before.

This is because the drug is manufactured in various illegal labs with varying concentrations, so you can never truly know what you are getting.

What is Alcohol?

Whisky poured into a glass

An alcoholic drink contains ethanol, which is what occurs when yeast and sugar are fermented together. [2]

These drinks may be stronger or weaker depending on the amount of ethanol that they contain.

Drinking alcohol can make you feel intoxicated depending on how much you drink and how tolerant you are of this substance.

It is a form of depressant that slows down your central nervous system, making you feel more relaxed. As a result, alcohol is extremely addictive.

Some of the different types of alcoholic drinks include:

  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Whiskey
  • Cider
  • Ale
  • Tequila
  • Gin
  • Brandy
  • Vodka

Many people drink alcohol without understanding the harmful effects of this substance, but the truth is that it can completely take over your life and even lead to your death.

What are the Side Effects of Alcohol?

less alcohol

Many people drink alcohol specifically to experience some of the following effects such as relaxation, euphoria and confidence.

However, alcohol can also make you feel nauseous, confused and emotional. [3]

Some of the effects of alcohol include:

  • Feeling extremely relaxed
  • Feeling drowsy, tired and fatigued
  • Euphoria and happiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Increased confidence
  • Poor judgment and decision-making
  • Unsteadiness on feet
  • Slurred speech
  • Impulsive behaviour
  • Memory loss

Depending on your tolerance level and how much alcohol you drank, you may experience a hangover the next day.

This is primarily caused by dehydration and a dip in your blood sugar levels and may make you feel nauseous, tired and shaky.

What Happens When you Mix Ecstasy (MDMA) with Alcohol?

pill mix 2

When you mix ecstasy (MDMA) with alcohol, you will usually experience a rush of energy and euphoria.

This sensation is a heightened version of how you will usually feel when you drink alcohol or use ecstasy by yourself, and it will often last for a longer period. [4]

Mixing ecstasy and alcohol can cause you to become extremely thirsty, primarily due to excess sweating and exertion, as well as urinating more frequently.

This can cause you to drink large amounts of water at once, which can disrupt the natural chemical balance in your body and become dangerous.

You may also experience high blood pressure, an increased heart rate, confusion, hallucinations and even seizures.

Why do People Mix Ecstasy (MDMA) with Alcohol?

A group of people saying cheers with various drinks

When people mix ecstasy with alcohol, they are usually doing so in an attempt to prolong the feelings of euphoria, confidence and increased energy.

This is because taking both substances together causes the brain to release large amounts of serotonin and dopamine. [5]

Alcohol prevents ecstasy from being processed and removed from the body, which is why the effects last longer.

Being under the influence of alcohol can also impair your judgement and lead you to take risks that you wouldn’t ordinarily take, such as combining drugs.

Is it Legal to Mix Ecstasy (MDMA) and Alcohol?

police car lights

While alcohol is legal in the UK, ecstasy is not. Therefore, it is illegal to mix ecstasy and alcohol.

Ecstasy is a class A illegal substance in the UK. You risk a large fine or even a prison sentence if you are found guilty of the possession, supply or manufacture of this drug. [6]

If you are found in possession of ecstasy, you may be sentenced to up to seven years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

If you are found guilty of the supply or manufacture of ecstasy, you may be sentenced to life in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Your punishment may differ depending on several factors, including:

  • The number of drugs found
  • Your prior criminal history
  • Where you were found with the drugs

This helps to ensure that illegal and potentially dangerous suppliers are unable to operate, reducing the risks of overdose or other fatal complications.

There is no way to legally or safely mix ecstasy and alcohol.

What are the Short-Term Side Effects of Mixing Ecstasy (MDMA) and Alcohol?

Man with beads of sweat on his forehead

The effects of mixing ecstasy and alcohol will begin fairly quickly, usually within an hour.

Some of these effects can be dangerous and may even be deadly, even if this is your first time using ecstasy or combining it with alcohol.

Some of the short-term effects of mixing ecstasy (MDMA) and alcohol include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of coordination
  • Difficulty judging distances
  • Longer-lasting effects
  • Risky behaviours
  • High blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Risk of seizures

If you or someone you are with has combined alcohol and ecstasy and is experiencing any concerning side effects, seek medical assistance immediately.

Try not to worry about getting into trouble, as the medical team are primarily concerned with ensuring your safety.

What are the Long-Term Side Effects of Mixing Ecstasy (MDMA) and Alcohol?

Internal organs on a dummy

Even if you do not experience any of the serious short-term effects of mixing ecstasy and alcohol, you are putting yourself at risk of the potentially deadly long-term effects.

It can be difficult to think about your life many years into the future, but those days will eventually arrive. If you continue to combine these two substances, your quality of life may eventually be reduced.

Some of the long-term effects of mixing ecstasy (MDMA) and alcohol include:

To reduce the chances of experiencing any of these long-term effects, it is recommended that you avoid mixing ecstasy and alcohol.

How Long Does Ecstasy (MDMA) Stay in your System?

person looking out window

Unlike alcohol, ecstasy is not able to be detected through your breath.

However, there are several other ways to test for ecstasy and see whether it is still in your system:

  • If your blood is tested, ecstasy can be detected for up to 71 hours.
  • If your saliva is tested, ecstasy can be detected for up to 71 hours.
  • If your urine is tested, ecstasy can be detected for up to 120 hours.
  • If your hair follicles are tested, ecstasy can be detected for up to several months.

As you can see, ecstasy can remain in your system for a long time and cause you to test positive on future drug screenings.

How long does alcohol stay in your system?

There are several ways to test for alcohol in your system, and the length of time it can be detected will depend on the type of test performed.

  • If your blood is tested, alcohol can be detected for up to 6 hours.
  • If your breath is tested, alcohol can be detected for up to 24 hours.
  • If your saliva is tested, alcohol can be detected for up to 12-24 hours.
  • If your urine is tested, alcohol can be detected for up to 72 hours.
  • If your hair follicles are tested, alcohol can be detected for up to 90 days.

Even if you are no longer feeling the effects of alcohol, it may still be in your system.

Is it Possible to Overdose When you Mix Ecstasy (MDMA) with Alcohol?

Woman in striped light of shutters, lying in bed at night

There is a high risk of overdose when you mix ecstasy with alcohol, particularly when you are unable to keep track of how much you have taken.

Mixing ecstasy and alcohol can make you feel less intoxicated than you normally would be, which can, in turn, lead you to drink more.

This increases your risk of alcohol poisoning, which can completely slow or even shut down your central nervous system leading to coma, brain damage and even death.

You are also more likely to vomit when you drink too much alcohol, and there is a risk that you could choke on your vomit.

Additionally, ecstasy may contain other drugs and substances that can react badly with alcohol. Some batches of ecstasy are laced with ketamine, caffeine, cocaine or methamphetamines, and this can increase your chances of overdose.

Will I Become Addicted if I Mix Ecstasy (MDMA) with Alcohol?

Woman slumped in a chair, feeling nauseous

Most people are aware of the powerfully addictive nature of alcohol, but far less is known about ecstasy.

Few studies have been performed on the addictive potential of ecstasy, and as a result, there is no conclusive answer at this point.

Research shows that it does affect the same parts of the brain as other addictive drugs, but more studies are needed to understand exactly how addictive MDMA is.

However, it has been proven that mixing alcohol and ecstasy can increase and prolong the effects of ecstasy, which could potentially make this combination more addictive.

How can I get Treatment for Ecstasy (MDMA) and Alcohol Addiction?

Two doctors in white coats and stethoscopes talking

If you are concerned that you have become addicted to ecstasy, alcohol or a combination of the two, you will need to seek professional help.

This is because it can be dangerous to attempt to detox alone, and you will need to be supervised throughout the process.

Drug and alcohol withdrawal can be, at best uncomfortable and, at worst life-threatening if not done correctly.

There are several ways that you can receive treatment for an ecstasy and/or alcohol addiction.

You can make an appointment with your doctor, who will have the experience and resources to diagnose you. They will then be able to refer you to a treatment programme or a rehab clinic for treatment.

Alternatively, you can seek out your rehab clinic by reading reviews online and finding good recommendations.

If you don’t feel comfortable about the idea of speaking to your doctor, you call the Rehab 4 Alcoholism team on 0800 111 4108.

We can advise and guide you through the process of seeking addiction treatment and refer you to some of the top rehab clinics in the country.

How are Ecstasy (MDMA) and Alcohol Addiction Treated?

Individual therapy

Once you arrive at rehab or begin your treatment programme, you will be given a personalised recovery plan to help you detox and start counselling.

Depending on the length and severity of the addiction, the detox process may be difficult, and you will require 24/7 medical supervision throughout this time as you may experience several withdrawal symptoms.

Some people may be prescribed medication to help avoid some of the more dangerous side effects.

Counselling will help you to understand where the addiction may have stemmed from and will help to develop and build upon healthier habits and coping strategies for the future.

References

[1] https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/drugs-and-drug-use/common-drugs/mdma-ecstasy

[2] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/drinks-to-consume-in-moderation/alcohol-full-story/

[3] https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohols-effects-body

[4] https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/mixing-alcohol-other-drugs

[5] https://positivechoices.org.au/documents/MYeiYGozx3/polydrug-use-detailed-resource-for-parentsteachers/

[6] https://www.gov.uk/penalties-drug-possession-dealing

Related posts