Come Down With Me: A morning-after survival guide to the MDMA come-down
Avoid some serious unpleasantness
Imagine your brain is a sponge filled with joy (or serotonin, the chemical which controls your mood). When you take MDMA, you are wringing out the sponge, flooding your body temporarily with serotonin and the associated good feeling. But when it wears off, the sponge is dry, and it will take a while for the serotonin to build back up. This is what you’ll experience as an MDMA come down.
Like the proverbial apple your mood is going to fall, and you’ll want to be ready. Comedowns are fine – fun, even – if you have a plan to deal with them, so stick with us, and we’ll guide you through it.
Take more pills (Valium)
The worst kind of comedown is the one where you lie awake in a cold sweat, mentally destroyed but unable to switch off. If you have sleeping pills like Valium, you can avoid this problem and get some shut-eye.
Otherwise known as diazepam, it works by depressing your central nervous system, so you fall asleep faster. Although they do work quite well, they are addictive and dangerous and should only be administered by a doctor.
Be careful, they take a while to kick in, don’t take more. Other options are available.
Take even more pills
But this time, the legal kind. There are two contributing factors to comedowns: a broken body, and a broken mind. If you’re a gurner, the first thing you should take (ideally before you go out) is a Magnesium tablet or two. These little god-sends relax your muscles to help relieve common next day conditions such as “rusty-gate jaw” and “skanking shoulder”. Buy them for £5 at Holland and Barrett.
To help repair your mind there is 5-HTP, which helps readjust your body’s serotonin levels. You need to take one a day for the next month or so, so it’s a slow burner.
You will have drunk enough water to fill the Thames, so orange juice will make a nice change. Drugs cause damage because they increase the production of poisonous free radicals.
Drinking a nice big glass of OJ before you go to bed (and preferably, before you go out too) helps because the Vitamin C absorbs these comedown-causing free radicals, reducing damage to your brain cells. There is actual medical research to support this, so make sure you do it.
If you can get any food down you, then make it marmite. It may taste like shit but it contains tryptophan, one of the building blocks for creating more serotonin. Much like 5-HTP, this will help your body rebalance.
Don’t go spooning jars of the black stuff into your mouth though. Balance this out with other healthy foods once your lockjaw has vanished.
Obviously take a glass of water with ice to bed. If you’re at a festival, it really is always worth the massive effort to go and fill a bottle.
And you will thank yourself later for getting hold of some lip balm. Tip: the girly flavours are the best ones.
This really is an optional extra, but some people like a spliff or some K to take the edge off. Your call. If someone offers you an anti-depressant though, don’t bother – they take a couple of weeks to kick in, and the side effects aren’t worth it.
In the likely event that you can’t keep any solids down, then you can drink Horlicks, as it also contains tryptophan, which surges quickly to the brain, inducing that sleepy feeling. Your mum probably didn’t envisage you doing keys in the toilets of a grimy warehouse when she told you to drink Horlicks to help you go to sleep, but it does work pretty well.
If you’re worried about your image – and a quick glance in the mirror will make clear you have bigger problems than your drink choice – tell people it’s coffee.
If you wake up and your tongue’s stuck to the roof of your mouth, try reaching for the Lucozade or Powerade. Your body is going to be seriously dehydrated, and all the shapes you’ve been throwing will have caused you to sweat buckets and soak your t shirt through so you’ll be low on certain salts too.
Sports drinks contain all of the salts and sugars that you need, so they are the perfect remedy to a mouth that will be dryer than Ghandi’s flip-flops. Plus, it’s really nice and sweet.
Spotify has a lot of come down playlists. While they may not be specific MDMA come down playlists, they’re pretty good. Take advantage.
The next day
You won’t need any encouragement to stay in bed and avoid anything that involves daylight or having a conversation.
Your best bet is to sit in the dark re-watching all of Game of Thrones, getting as much sleep as you can until you look and feel more normal. Your body will be able to repair itself much faster if you’ve got food in your belly, just make sure it’s something not-too-solid that requires very little chewing. I recommend beans on toast with grated cheese on top.
Help yourself out by avoiding anything that requires any sort of strenuous jaw movement, like eating cereal bars or chewing gum. Avoid invites to any barbecues. If you’re going home on the train do not get tempted by Upper Crust. It may be delicious, but I guarantee it will be the biggest regret of your life.
In the coming days, you’re likely to have some melancholy moments and vivid dreams. But trust me, if you followed this guide, you avoided the worst bits.
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