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Our Professional staff is here to get you or your loved one started on the road to lasting recovery.  Contact us today at 424.465.5182.

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What Is MDA?

Man sits on stairs and hides inside hoodie, wondering what is MDA

What is MDA? MDMA and MDA are both synthetic drugs, derived from compounds known as amphetamines. These substances are known for their strong psychedelic effects and are commonly used in recreational settings. While MDMA is more commonly known, it’s important to understand what MDA is and how it differs from MDMA. Addiction to either substance should be taken seriously, and treatment should be sought out if necessary. The Canyon provides outpatient substance abuse treatment to help people with addictions to MDMA, MDA, and other substances. Call 424.465.5182 today to learn about our treatment options.  

What Is MDA? 

What is MDA? MDA, or 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine, is a synthetic drug often associated with parties, raves, and club scenes. Similar to MDMA (more commonly known as Ecstasy or Molly), MDA is a psychoactive substance that alters mood and perception, causing increased energy, pleasure, and distorted sensory experiences. 

MDMA and MDA are both known as empathogens, meaning they produce feelings of empathy, love, and emotional openness. They also have stimulant properties that can increase energy, alertness, and sociability. MDMA and MDA are chemically similar to amphetamine, but they also have unique chemical structures that give them their distinct properties. Amphetamine is a powerful stimulant that affects the central nervous system. 


While MDA and MDMA are chemically similar, they differ in their effects. MDA is often described as more psychedelic than MDMA, with users reporting more visual hallucinations. Additionally, the effects of MDA tend to last longer than those of MDMA, extending up to six hours compared to MDMA’s typical three to four hours.  

MDMA is primarily used for its euphoric and empathogenic effects, while MDA is known for its more intense and visual experience. Both substances can also cause physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and dehydration. However, MDA has been reported to have a higher risk of causing these physical side effects. 

MDA’s Effect on the Mind 

MDA affects the mind by increasing the activity of three brain chemicals: dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. This surge in neurotransmitters contributes to the heightened mood and energy of the user. However, these effects can also lead to harmful psychological effects such as: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Paranoia 
  • Confusion 

Prolonged use can even result in long-lasting and potentially permanent changes in the brain, contributing to cognitive deficits and mental health problems. 

MDA’s Effect on the Body 

MDA’s physical effects vary between individuals but commonly include increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Other physical symptoms may encompass:  

  • Dilated pupils 
  • Teeth clenching 
  • Chills 
  • Sweating 
  • Nausea 

In high doses, MDA can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature, potentially leading to hyperthermia, which can result in liver, kidney, or heart failure, or even death. 

Signs of Long-Term MDA Abuse 

Recognizing the signs of long-term MDA abuse is crucial for seeking help. These signs can include behavioral changes such as: 

  • Increased risk-taking behavior 
  • Social withdrawal 
  • Decreased motivation and productivity 

Physical signs may include:  

  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Insomnia or changes in sleep patterns 
  • Poor dental health from grinding teeth  

If you or a loved one is showing signs of MDA abuse, it’s important to seek help. The Canyon offers outpatient substance abuse treatment programs to address the underlying issues contributing to substance abuse and help individuals recover.  

Call The Canyon Now to Start Outpatient Treatment 

If you or a loved one is struggling with MDA, call The Canyon in Santa Monica, CA, at 424.465.5182 or reach out online. Everyone’s journey to recovery is different, we aim to provide individualized treatment plans to meet each person’s unique needs. Don’t wait any longer, start your path to recovery today. You are worth it.