Can Amphetamines Worsen Depression?

Can Amphetamines Worsen Depression?
Amphetamines have medicinal benefits, but when abused they can induce or amplify depression

Amphetamine, dextroamphetamine and methamphetamine are common stimulants also known as Adderall, Dexedrine and Desoxyn. Ritalin is technically not an amphetamine, but its amphetamine-like stimulatory effects are similar, so many people put it in the same category as the other substances. Doctors often prescribe these Schedule II medications to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, but people also abuse the drug to enhance performance, to lose weight and to experience euphoric highs. The Addiction journal published a study in 2005 that found past-year rates for non-medical amphetamine use reached 25% in some colleges. Moreover, amphetamines increase dopamine levels in the synaptic gap, so they can change the mesolimbic dopamine system to cause addiction and dependence. The drug can affect mood disorders, which means that amphetamine abuse and addiction can worsen depression.

How Amphetamines Affect Mood Disorders

The connection between amphetamines and mood disorders has been identified in the following clinical findings:

  • 40% to 42% of addicts have co-occurring mood disorders like depression, per the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment in 2006
  • Schizophrenia Bulletin in 2007 noted a particularly high association between addiction and manic depression
  • The Hazard Gazette suggested in 2003 that childhood Ritalin use might increase depression susceptibility in adults

Amphetamine abuse and depression can be connected in the following ways:

  • Depressed individuals may take amphetamines to self-medicate their mood
  • Depression and addiction may stem from related genetic vulnerabilities
  • The energy crash after an amphetamine high can depress mood
  • Amphetamine abuse can induce an antidepressant-resistant depression

If a depressed individual does not respond to traditional therapy methods, then a low dose of amphetamines may be used to address lethargy, but many people self-medicate their problems with higher doses for longer periods of time than are healthy. When addiction forms, the perceived benefits of amphetamine abuse often dissipate, so mood shifts become more pronounced. Amphetamine abuse can also cause blood pressure problems, cardiovascular distress, tremors, twitching, nausea and repetitive motor activity. Furthermore, addiction behavior can affect finances, employment, relationships and personal safety, which can initiate depression or trigger its symptoms.

Addiction and Depression Help

Amphetamine abuse and depression can exacerbate each other, but professional rehab can treat both conditions together, regardless of which problem came first. Although specific services are tailored to each patient’s needs, rehab stocks the following therapies to help people:

  • Cognitive and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy develop healthier thought patterns and emotional responses
  • Strategies that identify, neutralize and protect against triggers that might motivate amphetamine cravings and depression symptoms
  • Motivational interviewing and similar therapies that help patients explore personal catalysts for recovery
  • One-on-one counseling to discuss unresolved trauma, unconscious conflicts and other factors that contribute to disorders
  • Group sessions teach positive skills like anger/stress management, conflict resolution and coping strategies

Treatment professionals believe that an effective recovery must address all co-occurring disorders, and most therapies can be integrated to treat addiction and depression together.

If you have questions about amphetamine abuse and depression, then call our toll-free helpline now to speak with our admissions coordinators. They are available 24 hours a day to answer questions and to provide information, and they can even check your health insurance policy for treatment benefits. Please call now for instant, professional help.