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J Psychopharmacol. 2006 May;20(3):411-6.

Recreational ecstasy use and depression.

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  • 1Psychology Department, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA.


Research in laboratory animals has shown that 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or ecstasy) destroys serotonergic axons in the brain at certain doses. Serotonin is known to take part in the regulation of mood in humans. Many researchers have hypothesized that if recreational ecstasy use destroys serotonergic axons, then a corresponding decline in the mood of ecstasy users should be seen. The purpose of the present study was to look at the relationship between recreational ecstasy use and depression as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory-II. No significant differences were found between Beck Depression Inventory-II scores of heavy ecstasy users and ecstasy-naive college students. No significant relationships were found between Beck Depression Inventory-II scores and any of the measures of ecstasy use. Most ecstasy users who had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder reported that being diagnosed preceded their use of ecstasy.

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