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Cocaine Abuse and Depression

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Does cocaine cause depression? Cocaine abuse and depression often go hand in hand. While the use of cocaine can lead to feelings of euphoria and energy, it can also have a detrimental effect on mental health, potentially leading to depression. It is important to recognize that cocaine abuse can cause or worsen depression and must be addressed in any successful addiction treatment program.Man rests head on arms, as he struggles with both cocaine abuse and depression

To learn more about the link between cocaine and depression, contact Vertava Health at 844.470.0410 today. Our cocaine addiction center offers both addiction and depression treatment that can help you discover the healthy life you deserve.

The Link Between Cocaine Abuse and Depression

The effects of cocaine seem to be the opposite of most symptoms of depression. Depression leads to feelings of:

  • Lethargy
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Sadness

Meanwhile, cocaine use results in:

  • Increased energy
  • Boosts of mood
  • Euphoria
  • Higher levels of confidence

Cocaine effects are short-lived, and in many cases, the ‘high’ diminishes in less than an hour. This can lead to repeated use over a short period of time, putting the person on the fast track to addiction. Cocaine addiction changes brain chemistry, which can also compound depression symptoms.

Does Cocaine Cause Depression?

Euphoria and high energy levels are commonly associated with cocaine use. Many people do not understand what the aftermath of cocaine high looks or feels like. Depression is pretty common after a cocaine binge, and how cocaine affects the brain is to blame.

When cocaine stimulates the brain, it also activates a part of the brain that controls the ‘fight-or-flight’ response (sympathetic nervous system). This area of the brain cannot remain activated for long periods of time and usually leads to a person crashing afterward.

The crash can be accompanied by a feeling of:

  • Depression
  • Heightened anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings

Further complicating the matter is that cocaine abuse affects the neurotransmitters in the brain in charge of emotional regulation. As a result, feelings of depression can become chronic if cocaine use continues over time. So, does cocaine cause depression? Yes, it can.

Depression, Cocaine, and Withdrawal

Cocaine dependence does not manifest the same way as alcohol or opioid dependence. There are not the same physical withdrawal symptoms with cocaine. Instead, the psychological withdrawal symptoms tend to be present and are just as powerful in many cases.

People dependent on cocaine sometimes continue to use cocaine to avoid negative symptoms that emerge when they stop abusing cocaine.

These withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Concentration problems
  • Depression

One theory of why cocaine withdrawal results in depression is linked to the way cocaine causes damage to the pleasure center of the brain. One study reported a drop of up to 20 percent in neurons in this area of the brain. Long-term cocaine use essentially causes neurons to malfunction and not produce enough dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. This damage causes depression symptoms to emerge.

Under healthy circumstances, autophagy is essentially how the brain removes damaged or unhealthy cells. However, when cocaine is added to the brain, this process occurs without regard for the function of the cells being destroyed.

Changes to the brain can result in a number of unwanted side effects, including depression, paranoia, psychosis, and movement disorders. However, when a person stops abusing cocaine, the brain begins to heal, and many functions return to normal.

Co-Occurring Disorders

When two disorders occur at the same time, such as depression and a cocaine use disorder, it is referred to as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. It is important to find a treatment facility that offers both substance use treatment and treatment for depression.

Signs you may have both clinical depression and a cocaine use issue include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Emotional numbness
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Cravings for cocaine or other substances
  • Insomnia and restlessness

It is important to treat the underlying issue of your cocaine use. Sometimes, people use cocaine or another substance to self-medicate symptoms of depression.

While it may seem overwhelming to a person struggling with addiction and a mental health diagnosis, many of the treatment methods are similar for both. A highly effective form of therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is used by cocaine drug rehab facilities and counselors.

Additionally, there are medications that treat depression that may help a person who also has been battling a cocaine addiction. Antidepressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or SNRIs (selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) both help increase levels of neurotransmitters that are depleted during cocaine use.

Seeking help from a substance use treatment program can provide access to trained professionals who can help navigate the path to sobriety. An accredited treatment program uses evidence and outcome-based methods to develop a treatment plan that is unique to each resident receiving treatment.

Checking with facilities to see if they offer services that treat co-occurring diagnoses can help you or your loved one start off on the right foot when searching for substance use treatment for cocaine addiction and mental health services for depression.

Heal From Cocaine Abuse and Depression at Vertava Health

Vertava Health offers innovative addiction treatment for cocaine abuse, as well as depression and other mental health disorders. Our comprehensive treatment program includes evidence-based therapies, individualized care plans, and compassionate staff who understand the difficulty of addressing both substance use disorder and depression.

We will work with you to create an individualized plan that meets your needs while providing the tools you need to live a healthy and productive life. Contact Vertava Health at 844.470.0410 today for more information about our cocaine addiction center program. Our team is here to help you on your journey toward lasting recovery.