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The Link Between Cocaine and Depression

A depressed man holding his head in his hands.

Think back to the first time you tried cocaine and the reason why you decided to experiment with it. Maybe you wanted to be more confidant or needed to break away from the stress and anxiety you feel every day. At first, the drug gave you an incredible burst of confidence. It was so intense that you couldn’t believe how your stress even made you feel down in the first place.

But the more you experimented, the more it became clear that using cocaine comes with a price. In particular, cocaine leaves you feeling worse and more rundown once the high wears off. While you may temporarily feel better when using cocaine, the drug can actually trigger or worsen depression symptoms.

Can Cocaine Cause Depression?

As good as cocaine makes you feel, it’s hard to imagine that it would lead to depression. This process begins with your body’s fight or flight response, which is a heightened state that happens in your brain when you’re in threatening or dangerous situations. Cocaine triggers that effect in your brain, along with the release of large amounts of dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure and euphoria.

But your brain can’t stay in this fight or flight state for very long, and it takes a lot of energy for your body to maintain it. Once the cocaine “high” ends, your brain needs additional time to return to equilibrium. Dopamine neurotransmitters are also running on low during this time, unable to regulate your mood and help you feel good naturally. The end result is experiencing an intense wave of depression.

Depression and Cocaine Withdrawal

As we hinted above, depression is one of the most common symptoms of cocaine withdrawal. The fear of withdrawal oftentimes traps people in an ongoing cycle of abuse. When someone struggling with cocaine addiction goes too long without the drug, withdrawal symptoms like depression set in. This leads to increased use of cocaine in order to avoid the depression and other withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, irritability and anger.

Unfortunately, this constant back and forth between euphoric highs and extreme depressive lows can lead to long-term depression.

How Cocaine Damages the Brain and Leads to Ongoing Depression

When you use cocaine, neurotransmitters like dopamine flood the brain in such a high capacity that your brain grows accustomed to those unnatural levels of reward and pleasure. Over time, cocaine abuse damages your brain’s ability to release these feel-good chemicals naturally.
Your brain is left to rely on the drug in order to help regulate your mood, and without it, your brain falls into a depressive state – oftentimes worse than the depression you felt before getting high. As your cocaine abuse goes on, you can actually develop long-term depression or make your current struggle with depression worse.

But the long-term danger of cocaine use for your brain doesn’t stop there. Part of your brain’s job is to remove damaged cells. The problem is that cocaine abuse can corrupt this process and cause the brain to destroy all kinds of cells. This makes it harder for your brain to process your emotions, which makes it easier for your depression to take over. And depending on which brain cells the cocaine targets, the drug can even make your body less effective at coping with depression symptoms.

Cocaine and Depression Can Be Treated Together

If you’re suffering from cocaine abuse and depression, both of these disorders can be treated together. Addiction rehab centers like Footprints Beachside Recovery specialize in treating co-occurring disorders.

When you’re struggling with a cocaine addiction and depression, it can seem like there’s no hope for recovery. But in reality, many of the treatments used for cocaine addiction can help with depression and vice versa.

Your Recovery is Possible at Footprints Beachside Recovery

At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we’ve personally struggled and beaten addiction. This is how we know that you can beat addiction, too. Our family-run addiction treatment center in Florida can help you regain everything that cocaine has stolen from you.

We understand that mental health is an important part of treating addiction. When you come to Footprints Beachside Recovery, we’ll work to get a clear picture of any mental health issues you might be struggling with. This helps our expert team create an individualized treatment plan tailored to your specific situation and recovery needs.

Footprints Beachside Recovery is a luxury dual diagnosis treatment center that can help you find a path to lasting recovery. If you’re ready to begin your recovery from cocaine abuse and depression, reach out to our expert team today.

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