Ecstasy Methylenedioxymethamhetamine, the compound used in the drug Ecstasy, was developed in Germany in 1914 as an intermediary substance to pave the way to alternative therapeutic medicines. Presently, MDMA is used for a subculture in America and all over the world of "ravers" who spend their weekends taking this unique drug because of its seemingly mind- expanding properties. The truth about this drug is that it fools the body's senses by releasing too much serotonin and possibly permanently damaging important nerve cells in the process. Many studies claim that MDMA cannot be considered a narcotic because they believe it to be non-addictive. The body becomes accustomed to a substance, a criterion for addiction, so that the body requires ever-increasing amounts of the drug to maintain similar pharmacological effects when used (Encarta 99). Another form of addiction, called habituation, is defined as a psychological urge to use the substance, even when the dependence has worn off. According to the World Health Organization, becoming dependent requires at least: "a strong desire to take the drug; difficulties controlling the behavior; a withdrawal state; tolerance; progressive neglect of alternative pleasures and persisting with use despite evidence of harm" (Jansen). A study by Karl L. R. Jansen shows three distinct cases where these criteria are met. One subject, age 19, spent his entire disposable income on MDMA. Despite a seizure caused by use of this and other drugs, the subject "was unable to stop using MDMA without external assistance" (Jansen). Another subject exhibited an extremely high tolerance to the drug so that he was able to take 250mg with almost no effect. "Despite severe depression, he was unabl... ... middle of paper ... ...ly.edu.1995. Category: Psychoactive Drugs. July 2000 . Jansen, Karl L. R. "Ecstasy (MDMA) Dependence." Ecstasy.org. 1999. "Drug and Alcohol Dependence." July 2000 . McKenna, Dennis, PhD. "MDMA Neurotoxicity: An Update." Pharmacology and Toxicology Information. 12 March 1992. Sept. 2000 . Ricaurte, George A. et al. "4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine Selectively Damages Central Serotonergic Neurons in Nonhuman Primates." 1 July 1988. The Vaults of Erowid. Sept, 2000 . Seiden, Commins. "Neurotoxicity in Dopamine and 5-Hydroxytryptamine Terminal Fields: A Regional Analysis in Nigrostriatal Projections." MuseSpace. 1988. The Mesocorticolimbic Dopamine System from the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2000 . Sferios, Emanuel. "This is Your Brain on Ecstasy Really (An MDMA Neurochemistry Slideshow.)" DanceSafe.org. July 2000. DanceSafe.org. Aug. 2000 .