Ecstasy could be fatal to your sleep

In a report published this week by Neurology it shows recent tests that have been carried out on people who have recreationally taken the drug ecstasy and its affects on the users sleep. The sleep disorder it seems to enhance is sleep apnoea which is a potentially life-threatening disorder if left untreated. What is perhaps more disturbing is that it doesn’t just affect your sleep around the time you have taken the drug, but could be causing permanent damage to your brain.

Sleep apnoea occurs when your airway becomes blocked; which can be down to several different reasons. The blockage then causes you to stop breathing for up to 10 seconds before gasping for breath again, and this can often go unnoticed during your sleep. Ecstasy causes this as it is toxic to a particular neuron in the brain that releases a compound in the blood; serotonin. Serotonin has often been thought to be somewhat of a protection to sleep apnoea. Symptoms of sleep apnoea are normally more noticeable during the day as you will feel tired, drowsy, have a lack of concentration and generally feel run down.

The results don’t just show a possibility that ecstasy could be damaging to your health, but show quite an indication that it is going unnoticed by ecstasy users and is affecting their health. Whilst the results haven’t been given a definite link between ecstasy and sleep apnoea; the questions are still being asked. It would strongly seem that either ecstasy leads to the development of sleep apnoea or people who have pre-existing sleep apnoea are more likely to take ecstasy. Ecstasy can also leave someone even drowsier and less responsive; so they are less like to gasp for breath as quickly.

The tests were carried out on people who had never been diagnosed with a sleeping disorder before; 62 people who had never taken ecstasy and 71 people who had taken ecstasy over 30 times but not in the past two weeks. Out of these people 8 of the ecstasy users had a moderate case of sleep apnoea and one had a severe case. And, the more a person had taken ecstasy, the more episodes of sleep apnoea they had. These results seem to speak for themselves…

Thursday 10th December 2009


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