Cocaine and Depression
Cocaine and depression are a toxic combination. It has been said that psychologist Sigmund Freud used to take cocaine in order to treat his depression before cocaine was known for its addictive qualities. Cocaine can either lead to depression or those with depression will use cocaine as a way to feel better. It is important for those with this co-occurring disorder to receive a diagnosis for both of these disorders to prevent your addiction from taking over your life further.
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that gives users a blast of energy and takes over the pleasure centers of the brain, making you feel euphoric or happy for a short amount of time. According to SAHMSA, 14.5% of Americans over the age of 12 have tried cocaine before. Depression is feeling a loss of pleasure in the activities you used to enjoy, a sad mood, and a change in sleeping, eating, concentrating, having low energy, and a low self-image for more than two weeks. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health says that 16 million Americans over the age of 18 have had at least one major depressive episode.
Cocaine can cause someone to be depressed as it changes the brain’s circuitry and pleasure centers. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, dopamine levels can drop to 10-20% which can explain the high rates of depression in cocaine users. In depression, you lack the neurotransmitters in the pleasure center of the brain or your pleasure levels are lower than usual. Those who are depressed use cocaine to feel relief of their symptoms but cocaine withdrawals can actually lead to depression. Those with depression who use cocaine can experience symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, extreme mood, a change in sleep patterns, withdrawal from loved one, loss of interest, and weight fluctuations.
It is important for both cocaine addiction and depression to be treated at the same time. If one is treated and not the other, there will be no improvement. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help change a patient’s way of thinking and will help find emotional and environmental triggers to prevent wanting to use again. While normally those with depression get treated with antidepressants, those with addiction need to be under medical supervision. If both disorders are treated properly and carefully, there will be a lower chance of relapse and you will have more control of your life.