Molly Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment for Molly Addiction

By The Fix staff 01/21/15

Yes, Molly is Addictive - Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment for Molly Addiction

Is Molly Addictive

An old drug with a new name and a new attitude, Molly is short for "molecule" and is marketed as a 'purer' form of MDMA or ecstasy. It acts as both a stimulant, like amphetamine, and a psychedelic, like the hallucinogen, mescaline. The drug causes mood elevations and increased energy while also changing the users' emotional regulation, sensory perceptions, and cognition.

First synthesized in a German lab in the early 20th century, then used by psychotherapists in treating their patients, MDMA––the acronym for the chemical compound 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine––was declared illegal in the 1980s. Despite its illegality, ecstasy became recognized as a popular club drug in the 1980s and 1990s. Although its use declined for some time, it has surged again due to its reincarnation as Molly.

Molly Addiction

Molly is a powder or crystal form of MDMA that floods the brain with various neurotransmitters. The excess supply of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine gives users more energy, euphoric feelings, and emotional warmth and empathy towards others. Pills are generally taken orally and powders are ingested nasally. A dose of 100 to 125mg can last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, but the side effects can last longer than a week. 

Side Effects of Molly

In addition to the desired effects of euphoria and warmth that allow users to party all night long, the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) notes the following negative Molly addiction side effects which can last up to a week or longer:

  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Involuntary teeth clenching
  • Irritability
  • Impulsiveness
  • Aggression
  • Sleep disruption
  • Restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Muscle aches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Severe dehydration
  • Reduced mental abilities
  • Hyperthermia, a rise in body temperature which can cause heat stroke
  • Arrhythmia
  • Liver, kidney, and heart failure
  • Convulsions

Signs of overdose on Molly include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Faintness
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

Overdose on MDMA should call for immediate medical attention. Some users are more prone to heat stroke, dehydration, and heart failure. An overdose can be fatal.

Many young people assume Molly is not lethal or dangerous. They are wrong. Data from the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions indicates that 22,816 emergency department visits were a result of MDMA use. This data showcases a 123 percent rise from 2004.

Since Molly is known to cause feelings of euphoria and emotional closeness, those who use it are at greater risk of engaging in unsafe health behaviors like unprotected sex. Therefore, users are at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections and spreading HIV.

Misconceptions about Molly Use

It is Not Addictive - False

Individuals who take Molly are generally between the ages of 16 and 24. These youth hear about the desirable effects of the drug from their friends and musical pop culture icons like Miley Cyrus and Kanye West. The ubiquitous nature of the drug leads them to believe it is safe and cannot cause dependency.

According to the NIDA, the neurotransmitters that are activated during Molly use are the same ones that are involved in other addictive drugs. In addition, Molly users can develop tolerance effects in which there is a diminished response after prolonged use. Users have to take more and more of the drug to reach the same desired "high".

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified all forms of MDMA under the Schedule I category for controlled substances. The drug has a very high potential for abuse and no currently accepted use in medicine. Schedule I drugs can result in severe psychological and physical dependence. In fact, one study by the University of Buffalo revealed that, of the young adults and adolescents who use MDMA, 43% fit the diagnostic criteria for dependence. 34% fit the criteria for abuse. 

Signs of Molly addiction consist of:

  • Neglecting work, school, or family obligations in favor of partying and using the drug
  • Taking more of the drug than intended
  • Spending more and more time trying to obtain the drug
  • Spending more and more time coming down and recovering from the effects of the drug
  • Neglecting friendships in favor of developing new friendships with other users
  • Lying, cheating, and stealing to increase their ability to use the drug or hide usage

Another of the Molly addiction side effects is the experience of withdrawal effects after suddenly stopping use of the drug.  Molly addiction withdrawal symptoms include loss of appetite, concentration problems, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Long-term users of Molly and MDMA exhibit memory loss, depression, impairments in learning, reasoning and attention, and sleep disruption as well as long-term confusion and disorientation. 

It is Pure - False

Because Molly is a synthetic drug that has been classified as illegal by the DEA, its manufacture and distribution are not regulated. As a result, there is no real way of knowing what is synthesized into tablets. While it is sold to teens as a purer form of MDMA, this is mainly hype to drive sales. In reality, the DEA found that Molly has only about 13% of MDMA in its chemical makeup which really makes Molly users subject to many unknowns. The DEA described the drug as an act of "playing Russian roulette" because it is a true and deadly gamble. 

Teenagers and young adults who use Molly are at the mercy of the makers and sellers. Some Molly tablets contain absolutely no MDMA whatsoever. Instead, these pills include a mixture of substances which allow the manufacturers to experiment with combinations and save money with production.

Common adulterants found in Molly include:

  • Cocaine
  • Bath salts
  • Rat poison
  • DXM
  • Atropine
  • PCP
  • 2-C(x)
  • Heroine
  • Methamphetamine
  • 4-MEC
  • Butylone
  • Methylone
  • MDPV

These drug mixtures cause Molly to be even more dangerous than MDMA alone because it is impossible to predict the health consequences of other addictive combinations. Even if it were pure MDMA, the drug would not be safe. These combinations significantly amplify the likelihood of users experiencing severe adverse reactions, or worse, death.

If you or a friend have taken Molly––or are addicted to this drug––you are putting your health and life in great jeopardy. Seek out a qualified addiction specialist who can help you safely recover from the effects of the drug and help you undergo Molly addiction detox today.

Molly Addiction Rehab

Treatment for MDMA addiction should be patient-specific. Because Molly addiction withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur, it is best for users to undergo supervised detoxification in order to safely discontinue the drug. Treatment options should be determined by considering the unique circumstances of the user. 

It is extremely important for those who are addicted to Molly to pursue Molly addiction rehab treatment as soon as possible. Motivation is significant in treatment outcomes. In addition, treatment must take into consideration all aspects of a person's life to offer holistic care. Long-term users of Molly may require medical and psychological care, as well as vocational, social, and legal counseling, in order to cope with the problems continued Molly use may have created in their lives.

Furthermore, the University of Missouri’s School of Social Work advises that those undergoing Molly addiction rehab-––whether outpatient or inpatient––should remain in their treatment regimen for at least 3 months. This time frame is important to allow the addict the potential to develop stronger, more adaptive coping mechanisms and establish a healthier lifestyle prior to leaving the supervised treatment setting. 

Treatment provides the following positive attributes to recovery:

  • A structured routine with minimal temptations for relapse
  • Access to exercise and balanced nutrition
  • Education on the negative effects of long-term drug use and advocacy for recovery
  • Social support in the form of other addicts who are recovering and mental health professionals who strive to offer empathy and encouragement during the process
  • Ability to develop a healthier lifestyle
  • Distance from the environment and individuals who may have promoted drug use

After Treatment

Molly addicts who have completed a structured treatment regimen should follow that regimen as closely as possible once they are back in their normal lives. This means receiving adequate nutrition and exercise, being in a stable and health-conscious environment, and cutting off relationships with individuals who engage in drug-seeking behaviors. 

Since youth are often influenced to use drugs due to problems they cannot personally solve, family issues should be addressed for the youth to have the best chance at long-term recovery. Family therapy may be advisable if issues are particularly resistant or complex. Youth who are recovering from MDMA addiction should have access to an adult role model who understands their experiences, offers support, and can serve as a source of encouragement in maintaining healthy coping and stress relief. Taking part in a social support group for addiction recovery can also boost a young person's chances of maintaining those healthy behaviors into the future.


If you suspect that a friend or loved one may be taking Molly, it's important to reach out to them. As stated above, Molly addiction can be deadly. The best option for abuse prevention is education. Youth should be educated about the dangerous consequences of Molly abuse, including both short-term and long-term health complications. 

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