As the name would imply, party drugs (also referred to as club drugs) are substances usually consumed by older teens and young adults at parties, clubs, raves, concerts, festivals, etc. Some of the most popular party drugs include MDMA (ecstasy, molly), Rohypnol (roofies), GHB (liquid E), methamphetamine, LSD, and ketamine.
Do party drugs have the potential for addiction? The short answer is yes, but it’s a bit more complex than that. To explain further, party drugs include substances classified as either depressants, stimulants, or hallucinogens. Stimulants like meth and other amphetamines have a relatively high potential for addiction, as do depressants, such as Rohypnol, a benzodiazepine, and GHB, a powerful sedative.
Conversely, hallucinogens, such as LSD and ketamine, are not generally considered to be physically addictive. That said, hallucinogens can be habit-forming and have some potential for abuse. In this sense, they can be emotionally addictive, and some individuals may use them regularly.
List of Party Drugs
MDMA (ecstasy, molly)
MDMA may be the most commonly abused substance in the party drug category. It is somewhat unique because it has both hallucinogenic and stimulant properties but does not appear to be physically addictive. It induces feelings of energy and euphoria but can have some dangerous and occasionally life-threatening side effects.
Adverse effects or complications due to the abuse of MDMA include the following:
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Muscle cramps
- High blood pressure
- Heart arrhythmia
- Kidney failure
- Heart failure
While overdose related to MDMA abuse is uncommon, they do occasionally occur. It is the combination of dehydration and hyperthermia that is widely considered to be the most hazardous. These two conditions can result in muscle breakdown and kidney malfunction, particularly if abused for a prolonged period.
GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate)
GHB is classified as a depressant but can produce stimulating effects at low doses. It also induces euphoria and sociability, not unlike MDMA.
However, at higher doses, GHB’s depressive nature is revealed as the individual using begins to experience drowsiness, visual disturbances, and memory impairment. For this reason, GHB is often used as a “date rape drug,” meaning that it is administered to a person without their consent. They become so impaired that they are incapable of resisting sexual advances or remember what occurred the next day.
GHB is a powerful depressant and can cause lethal complications, primarily when used with alcohol or other depressant drugs.
Symptoms of Overdose include the following:
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Weak pulse
- Cold, clammy skin
- Severe drowsiness
- Bluish skin, lips, or fingers
- Loss of consciousness
Rohypnol, like GHB, is often used as a date rape drug. It is technically a benzodiazepine such as Xanax, Ativan, or Valium, an anti-anxiety medication classified as a depressant.
Rohypnol use results in effects comparable to those of alcohol, and at high doses, can cause unconsciousness and amnesia. It can also cause nausea and vomiting for several hours after ingestion.
Ketamine (Special K)
Ketamine is a hallucinogen with dissociative effects, meaning that use can lead to feelings of detachment from oneself and the external world (also known as depersonalization and derealization, respectively). At lower doses, ketamine can cause a state, not unlike a trance, as well as sedation.
At excessive doses, individuals can experience significant dissociation in addition to hallucinations—a condition commonly referred to as a “K-hole.” Some persons experiencing this may appear to be conscious but cannot respond or move. This state is perilously close to an overdose, and an individual in this situation should receive medical intervention and be closely monitored.
LSD is a potent hallucinogen that produces distortions in an individual’s sensations and perceptions and. While not considered addictive, long-term LSD use has been known to result in adverse experiences known as “bad trips” and lead to effects, including the following:
- Panic attacks
- Intrusive thoughts
- Suicidal thoughts
LSD is not used as commonly as other clubs as say, MDMA, but more than one individual often experiences it during social activities.
Meth is a synthetic substance with stimulant properties that can produce an intense rush of energy and talkativeness and similar effects that may persist for several hours. After the initial effects subside, users experience a crash and often results in an extended period of lethargy and sleepiness. Meth “binges” are popular for this reason.
Studies have shown that long-term meth use can alter the brain’s structure and functioning such that significant cognitive and emotional problems can last for months or years after meth use is discontinued.
Side effects of meth abuse include the following:
- Itching and skin sores
- Dental hygiene issues
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heart rate
- Significant weight loss
- Increased body temperature
- Anxiety and panic
- Mood swings
- Violent behavior
- Hallucinations and delusions
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Our programs are structured with various evidence-based practices and holistic approaches to treatment, such as psychotherapy and counseling, that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in their recovery.