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Ecstasy may be drug of choice for those trying to cope with lonelienss, study finds

CHICAGO -- Adolescents and young adults who feel socially isolated or find it difficult to feel a sense of belonging in other ways may turn to drug use to cope with their loneliness, and new research indicates ecstasy may be the drug of choice to fulfill their needs. Furthermore, those attracted to ecstasy have more difficulty with being alone and making social connections compared to non-drug users and those that abuse other drugs, according to a study being presented at the 110th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (APA) in Chicago.

"Given the subjective effects of ecstasy in promoting 'togetherness,' it is likely taken by people who feel socially isolated and perhaps unable to feel a sense of belonging in other ways," said study lead author Ami Rokach, Ph.D., of York University in Toronto, Ontario. "The locations in which the drug is most popularly consumed, namely at raves and parties where individuals are suddenly surrounded by hundreds of 'friends,' are also conducive to a feeling of oneness."

In a study of 818 drug and non-drug users (275 men and 543 women, ages 15-30), Dr. Rokach and co-author Tricia Orzeck, B.S., of the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Toronto, examined how ecstasy (MDMA) users differ from others in coping with loneliness. The sample consisted of 106 regular users of ecstasy, 88 users of other drugs (such as marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol), and 624 who indicated they were not drug users.

All the participants answered a loneliness questionnaire, which asked them to reflect on their previous experiences of loneliness and mark those items that described the coping strategies that were most helpful to them. The items were grouped into the following six factors: 1) Reflection and acceptance (being by one's self to become acquainted with one's fears and accepting loneliness and its resulting pain), 2) Self-development and understanding (the increased self-intimacy, renewal and growth th
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Contact: David Partenheimer
dpartenheimer@apa.org
202-336-5706
American Psychological Association
22-Aug-2002


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