Recreational ecstasy/MDMA and other drug users from the UK and Italy: psychiatric symptoms and psychobiological problems

Parrott, Andy, Milani, Raffaella Margherita ORCID:, Parmar, Rishee and Turner, John (2001) Recreational ecstasy/MDMA and other drug users from the UK and Italy: psychiatric symptoms and psychobiological problems. Psychopharmacology, 159 (1). pp. 77-82. ISSN 1432-2072

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Recreational drug use is increasingly widespread amongst young people, but there are concerns that psychoactive drugs may be associated with psychiatric symptoms or psychobiological problems.
To assess the psychiatric health status of a large, non-clinical sample of young adults from Italy and the UK, and relate it to their use of ecstasy/MDMA and other recreational drugs.
The UEL Recreational Drug Use Questionnaire was completed by 768 young people (mean age 21.7 years) from four European cities. The subjects comprised 150 non-drug users, 185 alcohol/tobacco users, 97 cannabis and alcohol/tobacco users, 102 illicit polydrug but not ecstasy users, 115 light (<20 times) ecstasy polydrug users, and 119 heavy (>20 times) ecstasy polydrug users. The unpaid volunteers completed the SCL-90 self-rating inventory for psychiatric symptoms when off drug, with 30 additional questions covering positive moods and life experiences. Results: Heavy ecstasy polydrug users reported significantly higher scores than non-drug users on several SCL-90 factors, including phobic anxiety, obsessive–compulsive behaviour, anxiety, psychoticism, somatisation, and significantly higher rates of 'loss of sex interest or pleasure'. Self-rated symptom scores increased in line with greater drug use, so that polydrug users who had never taken ecstasy also reported a variety of psychobiological impairments. In contrast, positive moods and life experiences were broadly similar across subgroups.
The recreational use of ecstasy/MDMA is associated with a range of psychiatric symptoms and psychobiological problems. However, these problems are not specific to ecstasy users but are also evident in other recreational polydrug users.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1007/s002130100897
Keywords: MDMA; Ecstasy; Drug; Serotonin; Anxiety; Depression
Subjects: Psychology > Substance abuse/misuse
Depositing User: Rod Pow
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2012 15:38
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:39

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