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Cocaine And Amphetamines Increase Suicide Risk For Drug Users

The Stark Reality Of Suicide Risk

Most understand the reality that drugs can alter human behavior. However, what happens when drugs have such serious effects that a person becomes depressed or suicidal? If someone uses cocaine or amphetamines, his or her risk for suicidal thoughts increases dramatically. In fact, it has been noted that cocaine and other stimulants are believed to have been active in the systems of up to 22% of suicide victims. Obviously suicidal thoughts or behavior are a serious concern for the drug user or any persons who care about someone struggling with addiction.

Drug History: How Cocaine And Amphetamines Came About

When inquiring about these harmful drugs, one may first consider the origins of amphetamines and cocaine. Coca leaves were chewed and used as a natural stimulant by ancient Inca and Andes populations, but was first introduced to the Western world in 1532. In the late 19th century, a scientist learned how to extract a substance from the coca leaves, producing the drug known as cocaine. Originally popularized for medicinal use, its highly addictive properties were not fully considered. Health risks related to doing cocaine was first recognized in 1905, but the drug still remained in use, even increasing in popularity in the 1970s. In the 21st century it is the second most trafficked illegal drug worldwide. The history of amphetamines varies greatly from cocaine. Amphetamine is a compound that was first synthesized by a scientist in 1887. Made from a combination of compounds (including ephedrine), then added to the Ma-Huange plant of China, amphetamine is not of natural origin. Amphetamine pills were in widespread use by the 1960s for recreational purposes, and for medical treatments to assist in increasing attentiveness or opening bronchial airways. Since 1965 amphetamines were classified as a prescription-only medication and categorized alongside other drugs with the high potential for addiction, such as opiates. Amphetamine is now most widely used on a legal basis to treat Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD or ADHD). [inline_cta_two]

The Highs And Lows Of Stimulants

Now that we have covered a brief history of cocaine and amphetamines, let’s uncover how the human body is affected by the drugs. Amphetamines and cocaine are both stimulants that spark the central nervous system and could cause responses that make a person feel the following:

  • A sense of euphoria
  • Increased arousal
  • Speed up behavior
  • Induce a rush or “flash”
  • Mood swings upon withdrawal
  • Frustration and unpredictable emotions
  • Depression

A person feels these spikes in mood and emotion because cocaine addiction and amphetamines each produce a reward by causing the brain to trigger a release of the hormones dopamine and oxytocin. However, this response is unnatural and attributes to less than favorable challenges faced by the person involved in drug use: a roller coaster of mental and emotional shifts.

The Negative Aftermath

Although feelings of extreme happiness may initially seem appealing to a person taking or using a stimulant such as cocaine or an amphetamine, the long-lasting negative consequences of doing the drugs surely eclipse any temporary thrill. Once the effects of a stimulant such as cocaine or amphetamines wear off, a person experiences a drastic crash. In other words, the extreme emotional and mental high caused by the stimulants quickly spirals into a shocking low. One can imagine that the potential for addiction that pairs with these type of drugs is dramatic. The use of stimulants such as cocaine or amphetamines may have began as something deemed as useful or enjoyable, but a person must continue to take the drugs in order to maintain the euphoric mental state. Without it, a person could become angry, irritable, and/or severely depressed. Patients trapped in the snare of stimulant dependence often have developed and are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. A drug that once inspired “good” feelings could eventually cause negative behavior or thoughts. A person struggling with addiction might feel out of control, lost, or a sense of hopelessness. [bottom-inline-cta]

Contact Vertava Health Today

A person reading this may be simply doing research for a friend who is experiencing hardship with addiction, depression, or suicidal thoughts. You may even be reading this and struggling with suicidal thoughts due to the use of a stimulant. No matter the situation, please do not waste any time wondering whether or not you should reach out for help. Research is only the first step of the recovery process. Contact us today to move in the direction of freedom for you or a person you care about.