Drugs that affect mood and drive

Ecstasy ('E'), amphetamines ('whizz, speed') and the fashionable methamphetamine ('crystal meth') have similar effects, although the size and speed of the effects differ, as does the way you take them. Ecstasy is a kind of amphetamine.



They improve mood. Usually they make people feel happier, sometimes euphoric. They are particularly attractive if you have been feeling a bit depressed


They increase 'drive'. They make people feel mentally alert and physically energetic so they feel they have boundless energy.


They are often followed by a 'hangover' in which people feel low and lethargic, slow, lacking in energy. In other words they have a strong 'payback'.


Ecstasy ('E') is one of a set of 'designer drugs', designed in a laboratory. It is sometimes called by a shortened version of its chemical name, MDMA. Impure tablets are often sold in clubs, either accidentally or deliberately contaminated. Adding amphetamines (which are cheaper) is common.

(Pure) Ecstacy differs from the other amphetamines in that it has a bigger effect on mood, but a lesser effect on drive. So people don't get as hyperactive as they do on other amphetamines but they tend to feel good on it. Ecstasy seems to have an effect on the brain which lasts for some time. That long-term effect means that its effects are very much weakened if you take it too often. Together with its lack of direct effects on drive this means that it doesn't create the same cravings that the other amphetamines do and so it is not as likely to cause dependency (addiction) as the other amphetamines.

There are some differences between the different drugs. In general the bigger the 'rush' and the greater the energy then the bigger the hangover and the more miserable the comedown. Meth is the worst.

With all drugs of this type there are diminishing returns. If you take the drug several times over a few days the effects are less and less as the brain chemicals it stimulates gradually get used up.

Effects on sex

All drugs of this type affect sexual functioning, but in different ways. The effects are very variable. They affect different people in different ways and the dose, the amount you have taken, how many times you have taken it and what other drugs you have taken all make a big difference to the effects.


Ecstasy ('E') is one of a set of 'designer drugs'. Unlike drugs like cocaine or heroin or cannabis, ecstasy is not a natural product. It was designed in a laboratory. It is sometimes called by a shortened version of its chemical name, MDMA. Impure tablets are often sold in clubs, either accidentally or deliberately contaminated. Adding amphetamines (which are cheaper) is common.

The drug can produce a feeling of warmth and closeness to other people and reduce awareness of risks. Its use is associated with an increase in risky sex, for instance unprotected anal sex in gay men.

It appears to increase sexual interest although it is not clear exactly how it does so. On the other hand it appears to interfere with erection in some men and delay ejaculation. It may increase sexual interest in women but there is no evidence about its effects, if any, on their sexual functioning.

There is no evidence as to whether it has any long-term effects on sexual interest or sexual functioning in either men or women.

Amphetamines including methamphetamine

Amphetamines are an old class of drugs which used to be used as antidepressants before being replaced with safer less addictive medicines. Some members of the amphetamine class of drugs are still used in the treatment of some conditions, including ADHD. Amphetamines can produce extreme happiness - euphoria - and a feeling of boundless energy. But at high doses they can also cause restlessness, insomnia, aggressiveness and a feeling of over-stimulation which can be very unpleasant. Methamphetamine (crystal meth) is probably the most common street form of the drug.

Amphetamines are associated with insensitivity to risk. There is a strong association between amphetamines and unsafe sex both amongst gay men and heterosexuals. Increased partner numbers, lack of choosiness about partners and carelessness about using condoms have all been frequently reported.

In the short term the drugs may increase sex drive, probably in part by increasing subjective energy. However steady consumption over a period of time leads to loss of interest in sex. Problems getting and keeping erections are common in men who have taken amphetamines and there may be problems in ejaculation (coming).

Amphetamines have a big effect on the drive part of the pleasure systems in the brain. The drive plus the big drop in mood when they wear off can lead to intense psychological dependency.

The effects of amphetamines on sexual functioning seem to disappear after a period free of the drug.

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Or, if you are having problems with amphetamines or Ecstasy When drugs get to be a problem