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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(7), 2283-2292; doi:10.3390/ijerph9072283

Symptomatological Features of Patients with and without Ecstasy Use during Their First Psychotic Episode

1 Vincent P. Dole Dual Diagnosis Unit, Santa Chiara University Hospital, Department of Neurosciences, University of Pisa, Pisa 56100, Italy 2 G. De Lisio Institute of Behavioral Sciences, Pisa 56100, Italy 3 Association for the Application of Neuroscientific Knowledge to Social Aims (AU-CNS), Pietrasanta, Lucca 55045, Italy 4 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York, NY 10019, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 May 2012 / Revised: 22 June 2012 / Accepted: 25 June 2012 / Published: 27 June 2012
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Background: Ecstasy use is generally chosen by adolescents and young adults for its entactogenic properties (the production of feelings of empathy, love, and emotional closeness to others.) Despite this desired and frequently realized outcome, Ecstasy use has often resulted in the genesis of psychotic symptoms and aggressive behaviors, particularly after chronic and/or intensive use. Methods: To explore the negative consequences of Ecstasy use and to examine the aggressive nature oftentimes seen in many Ecstasy users we employed a case-control study model. We compared, by means of validated psychometric tests, the psychopathological symptoms (BPRS), the aggressiveness (OAS) and the social adjustment (DSM-GAF) of psychotic patients with (n = 23) and without (n = 46) recent user of Ecstasy, during their first psychotic episode and hospitalization. All 23 Ecstasy users were Ecstasy users only. Results: Almost all of the psychotic symptoms were of similar severity in both groups. Blunted affect was milder in users than in non-users, whereas hostility and aggressive behavior was significantly more severe in users than in non-users. Conclusions: psychosis with a high level of aggressiveness and violence constitutes an important ‘side-effect’ that surely runs counter to the expected entactogenic action of Ecstasy. At a patient psycho-educational level, this study suggests that the use of Ecstasy may be counterproductive with respect to user expectations.
Keywords: Ecstasy use; psychotic acute episode; aggressive behavior Ecstasy use; psychotic acute episode; aggressive behavior
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Rugani, F.; Bacciardi, S.; Rovai, L.; Pacini, M.; Maremmani, A.G.I.; Deltito, J.; Dell’Osso, L.; Maremmani, I. Symptomatological Features of Patients with and without Ecstasy Use during Their First Psychotic Episode. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 2283-2292.

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