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Cracked Out: How Party Drugs Can Mess With Your Head

Perhaps the most common element at teen parties is illicit drugs. From marijuana to synthetic drugs, adolescents and young adults frequently abuse drugs in a party environment. However, abusing drugs during a party negatively impacts physical and mental health. Understanding the impact of party or club drugs on the brain and body provides an opportunity to avoid the substances or seek treatment for substance abuse and addiction. But what are some common party drugs and what effects do they have on young and developing minds and bodies. Destinations for Teens understand the challenges facing teens dealing with substance use disorder are unique. Thus, we offer carefully crafted treatment programs to help teens heal and recover from addiction.

Effect of Party Drugs on the Brain

Party drugs, like MDMA (also referred to as “ecstasy” or “molly) and LSD, impact chemical balances in the brain. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (1), ecstasy impacts the serotonin pathways. Since serotonin impacts that regulation of certain processes in the brain, abusing ecstasy or similar party drugs impact the way that the body and mind react to certain activities. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (1) explains that serotonin plays an essential role in the way that neurons communicate. When drugs impact the levels of serotonin in the brain, it causes negative effects. The processes that serotonin regulates include:

  • Mood
  • Appetite or hunger
  • Emotions
  • Memory
  • Sleep patterns
  • Personal perceptions of the world or environment

When party drugs impact the serotonin pathways, they cause changes to the way that individuals think, behave, and even eat. Since it also impacts mood and personal emotions, drugs like molly and LSD contribute to depression, anxiety, and related mental health disorders. Although many party drugs impact serotonin, some drugs also impact dopamine and norepinephrine levels. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (2) explains that MDMA increases the activity of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. As a result, the individual experiences changes to his or her perceptions. Unfortunately, it also has long-term consequences because it depletes the brain of important chemicals, says the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2).

Impact on Mental Health

Since substance abuse and addiction depletes the chemicals in the brain, long-term mental health effects develop over time. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (3), club drugs like molly and LSD cause negative side effects on mental health shortly after individuals abuse the substance. Short-term mental health effects of party drugs include:

  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia or changes to sleep patterns
  • Enhanced sensory perceptions or mild hallucinations

The short-term effects do not always persist if an individual stops using the substance; however, the problems worsen over time. Long-term abuse of party drugs results in long-term side effects. In some cases, the drugs alter the brain, and long-term mental health consequences develop. Long-term mental health effects include:

  • The confusion that persists or lasts for an extended period
  • Problems with attention or symptoms that are similar to ADD
  • Moderate to severe depression
  • Poor memory
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Party drugs have a negative effect on mental and physical health. Changing personal perceptions and taking substances at a party increases the risk of severe mental health disorders, physical health concerns, and even death.

Reach Out to Destinations for Teens Today

Abusing drugs at a party is a dangerous activity. When you are concerned about a loved one’s behavior, can’t tell if they are using drugs, or if you want to avoid substance abuse in the future, talk to an addiction treatment specialist. An addiction to party drugs has long-term consequences, especially if it persists for an extended period. Fortunately, treatment is available to help with the recovery process. We offer several treatment programs to accommodate the needs of any teen that comes to us such as:

To learn more about the danger of party drugs and our addiction treatment services, give us a call at 877.466.0620.


  1. How Does Ecstasy Work: Serotonin Pathways in the Brain, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, January 2007,
  2. Drug Facts: MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly), The National Institute on Drug Abuse, September 2013,
  3. Commonly Abused Drugs, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, February 2015,