Extended cocaine use affects neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. The longer the usage, the more these essential neurotransmitters are repressed and impacted. Cocaine alters the brain’s natural reward system, leading to feelings of paranoia, depression, or anxiety. Whether depression came before or after cocaine use, treatment is highly needed to deal with any form of mental illness. Many who face depression turn to drug abuse, and many who suffer from drug abuse form signs of depression afterward.
Drug abuse has the potential to create numerous health effects, both physical and mental, within the lives of those who abuse. When a mental health disorder occurs with drug abuse, the two often worsen each other. Cocaine abuse, especially prolonged use, changes a person’s brain, affecting various chemical components, including certain important neurotransmitters which are critical within regulating a person’s mood. This effect may worsen existing depression or create new symptoms. Together, these disorders require effective substance abuse treatment.
Depression In America
Depression is a disease which is rampant across our country, and receiving the right information can help to greatly improve these conditions. This disorder can become debilitating, changing the way you think, feel, and carry out daily tasks.
- 1 in 10 teens suffered a period of major depression.
- 1 in 5 American adults experienced a mental health problem.
- 1 in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or major depression.
In addition, over 41,000 Americans are lost every year because of suicide.
Two or more illnesses can co-occur with each other in the same individual, such as a cocaine use disorder and depression. These are called co-occurring disorders or a dual diagnosis. Whether it’s happening at the same time or one after the other, this comorbidity (presence of two or more illnesses) can impact each illness and make them both go down hill faster. A person’s normal desires and needs can be greatly impacted by addiction. Compulsive behaviors from drug abuse are comparable to those of mental conditions.
Cocaine’s Effects On The Brain
When using cocaine, there are several things which transpire concerning different aspects of the brain. Various neurotransmitters are affected, including the release of dopamine. When it comes to a sense of well-being, dopamine is the chemical which is considered to bring forth all kinds of pleasure and happy feelings. Dopamine releases when related to pleasure or a feeling of reward when it comes to specific activities in life. If dopamine levels become too high in the brain, they are linked to hallucinations, aggressiveness, delusions, anger, as well as other psychotic symptoms.
Cocaine also increases norepinephrine and serotonin, which are other important neurotransmitters within the body. When it comes to norepinephrine, the body’s “fight-or-flight” mode gets activated, including an increase of heart rate and blood pressure and a person feeling alert. Keeping a balanced mood, sleep, appetite, as well as other behaviors, are all linked to serotonin.
Cocaine kicks these brain chemicals into an instant rush, and over a period of time, these essential neurotransmitters become low and depleted. This can lead to a host of different problems, including depression.
Cocaine And Depression
After extreme abuse over a period of time, stopping the use of cocaine can lead to cravings and depression for months. In some cases, suicidal thoughts may also occur. As someone faces withdrawal, the cravings grow more intense, even though the pleasurable effects of cocaine dip way down, instead becoming replaced by paranoia. When someone is facing withdrawal, here are some of the symptoms that may occur:
- Increased appetite
- Agitation and restless behavior
- Slowed activity
- General feeling of discomfort
- Depressed mood
- Vivid and unpleasant dreams
When cocaine is used chronically, it blocks normal neural functions. It starts to disrupt the brain’s chemical reward areas. The longer cocaine is used, the more neural depression starts to impact emotions, memories, and cognitive functions.
What Happens When You Use Cocaine For A Long Time?
Through tests, it has been found that cocaine, when abused over an extended period of time, creates a decline in neural activity within the motivational and pleasure areas of the brain. Quoted within a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) publication on the subject, Dr. Porrino says, “Within the structure called the striatum, the blunting of activity spreads from the nucleus accumbens, a reward area, to the caudate-putamen, which controls behavior based on repetitive action.”
Memories and information-processes are highly restricted when someone uses cocaine over the long term. “The reduced activity of the temporal lobe indicates that this structure is somehow compromised,” says Dr. Nancy Pilotte of NIDA’s Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research. “Some of these regions mediate the ability to connect emotionally, and cocaine’s blunting of them may induce a flattened affect similar to depression symptoms that are common among chronic cocaine abusers.”
Does Cocaine Cause Depression?
When it comes to mental illnesses and drug abuse, the two are highly linked. Many people who abuse drugs are also diagnosed with a variety of mental disorders, such as depression or anxiety. When people who are facing troubles turn to cocaine, this drug abuse can also bring out the symptoms of a separate mental illness like depression. A mental disorder can create a need for an individual to self-medicate from the emotional or mental symptoms that they are coming up against. In this case, it could have been depression that caused the drug addiction, or in others, it could be that the drug addiction was the first to show up. It can be tricky to decipher which one occurred first. Regardless of whatever symptoms popped up first, it is important to bring about treatment to mental illnesses.
Reach Out For Treatment Today
Whether the signs of depression have happened before or after cocaine use, reach out for the help you need today. If you are experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts, or other symptoms of mental illness, there is support for you. Getting the help you need will start your journey upward out of depression and cocaine abuse. Please contact us at DrugRehab.org.
For More Information Related to “Cocaine Use And Depression” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From DrugRehab.org:
- What is “Freebase Cocaine”?
- Types of Addictions: Cocaine
- Is Cocaine Physically Addictive? Is It Mentally Addictive? Or Both?
- How Opiate Addiction Increases Depression
- Marijuana Linked to Depression and Schizophrenia
- Mental Health And Addiction
- Which Comes First, Drinking or Depression?
National Institute on Drug Abuse — Long-Term Cocaine Self-Administration Depresses Brain Activity
National Institute on Drug Abuse — Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Disorders