Cocaine and Depression

Learn about the connection between cocaine and depression, along with some symptoms to look out for and recommended treatment methodologies.

Table of Contents

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant with the potential to alter brain function with repeated use. It can be administered intranasally, intravenously, or by inhalation. Common nicknames for cocaine include coke, C, powder, blow, or snow.

Is Cocaine an Opioid?

Although cocaine has many of the same effects on the body as opioids, it is not classified as an opioid.

Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning that it can be administered by a doctor if deemed appropriate for specific medical uses, such as local anesthesia for specific surgeries around the eye, ear, and throat.

However, the Schedule II classification for cocaine also means it has a high potential for abuse, and it is considered an illegal substance when used recreationally.1

What is Liquid Cocaine?

Liquid cocaine involves dissolving cocaine in a liquid so that it can be easily concealed and injected intravenously into the user.

Crack vs. Cocaine

Cocaine is derived from the coca plant and can be found in powder or rock form. The powdered form is typically referred to as cocaine (or “coke” for short), while its rock form is referred to as crack.

Can You Become Addicted to Cocaine?

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance. The long-term effects of cocaine alter the brain’s pathways by creating a resistance to the increase in dopamine, ultimately leading to addiction. Those with a cocaine addiction will need increasingly higher doses at a higher frequency to feel the same effects.2

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder that affects an estimated one in every fifteen people in the United States.

Types of Depression

There are two different types of commonly diagnoses depression. Major depression is characterized by symptoms of depression that interfere with everyday activity for two weeks or longer. Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) is characterized by less severe symptoms that last for a longer duration of time, often two years or more.3

The Links Between Depression and Addiction

Depression and addiction are often co-occurring disorders. Many individuals diagnosed with depression will also struggle with the disease of addiction. This is what’s known as a dual diagnosis, and for those dealing with concurrent mental health and substance abuse disorders, the effects of both can be worsened. Although both depression and addiction can occur at the same time, one is not caused by the other in every situation.4

Can Cocaine Cause Depression?

While many use cocaine to lessen depression symptoms, the drug can ultimately have the opposite effect. While the immediate effects of cocaine include euphoria and a boost in dopamine, it is typically followed by a crash that leaves people feeling even worse than before.

Why Might a Person Turn to Cocaine When Depressed?

It’s common for those with depression to turn to substances like cocaine. Cocaine can lessen some of the debilitating symptoms that make it difficult to get through their day.

A typical effect of cocaine is the feeling of happiness or euphoria, which can mask the sadness that is a hallmark symptom of depression. Cocaine also heightens energy levels, which can help with the lack of energy that also comes along with depression.

Effects of Cocaine

There are several short-term and long-term effects of cocaine that can have a significant impact on the body.

Short-term effects of cocaine include:

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • High levels of energy
  • Increased mental alertness
  • Hypersensitivity

There are also significant long-term effects of cocaine use that can cause serious health complications. The most common include cardiovascular damage and the risk of heart attacks, along with long-term neurological changes and gastrointestinal effects.

Symptoms of Cocaine Use

The signs of cocaine use include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Hyperactivity and over-excitement
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feelings of paranoia
  • Changes in sleep patterns including long periods of wakefulness

Symptoms of Depression

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or feeling “blue”
  • Feelings of hopelessness and despair
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
  • Changes in energy levels, such as extreme fatigue
  • Changes in appetite, including noticeable weight gain or weight loss
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Changes in sleep patterns, such as insomnia or excessive sleep

Treating Depression as a Co-Occurring Disorder

The most effective way to treat depression as a co-occurring disorder with cocaine addiction is to seek the help of mental health professionals. The level of care can range from counseling sessions, where a patient works through treatment with the help of a licensed therapist, to more intensive treatment such as detox programs or rehab facilities.


If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
623-523-4748 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.

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