Why Do People Use Cocaine to Treat ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental mental disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. ADHD is characterized by a low attention span, high energy, and uncontrollable behavior, and occurs in about five to seven percent of children, with approximately half of those children diagnosed carrying their ADHD into their adult years.

As a stimulant, cocaine has a very unique effect on those affected by ADHD. To understand the effects of cocaine on someone with ADHD, it is important to understand what cocaine actually is, what it does to the brain, and how it interacts with the chronic mental disorder.


More commonly referred to as simply “coke,” cocaine is a potent, illicit stimulant generally used and abused recreationally. When consumed, cocaine blocks the recycling of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the brain. Through snorting, smoking, and even intravenous administration via injecting a solution into a vein, cocaine is one of the most dangerous and readily-available drugs that you can buy on the street.

Stimulants are extremely common and can come in multiple forms. From tablets to powder to capsules, consuming cocaine can lead to a short-lived feeling of happiness followed by intense cravings and withdrawals, urging the person to use again. Stimulants can be physically and psychologically addicting, and repeated use of stimulants (cocaine even more so) quickly leads to the building of a tolerance and ultimately an addiction.

Cocaine offers a short but intense high in which the user usually feels numb and energetic, causing them to engage in dangerous activities that would have previously seemed dangerous. Because it has such powerful effects, medical use for cocaine is legal in the United States, in the solution form.

ADHD and Cocaine

It is not uncommon for an addict that seeks cocaine addiction treatment to also be diagnosed with ADHD. The impulsiveness and spontaneity associated with having ADHD make the risk of developing addiction much higher, as the user will sometimes not think about the drawbacks. A Brazilian team of researchers studied the connection between ADHD and cocaine addiction; surprisingly, there was little to no correlation to ADHD and addiction/dependency.

While there is no direct difference in drug addiction among those that do and do not have ADHD, it was noted that:

  • Those diagnosed with ADHD begin to use cocaine and similar drugs at a much younger age than those who do not have ADHD.
  • Those diagnosed with ADHD begin seeking cocaine addiction treatment sooner than those who do not have ADHD.
  • Those diagnosed with ADHD that starting smoking cannabis and using cannabis-related products at a young age resulted in much more severe cocaine abuse problems later on.

Cocaine is a stimulant that produces effects similar to the stimulants usually prescribed to treat ADHD. Using cocaine causes a surge in dopamine, making up for the lack of dopamine in an ADHD-diagnosed user. Think of cocaine use for ADHD as producing the exact opposite effects of cocaine use in someone who doesn’t have ADHD. Whereas someone using cocaine that does not have ADHD will more than likely experience that classic “rush” and high energy, a user with ADHD will most likely give off signs of sedation. Blank stares, calmness, and daydreaming are common in cocaine users with ADHD, but the calmness does come with adverse effects.

Users of cocaine with ADHD will be relatively more irritable and become agitated quickly. This is due to the fact that, and I can personally vouch for this, the effects of ADHD medications, stimulants, in particular, are non-euphoric and are generally unpleasant. As someone who was prescribed Ritalin as a treatment for my ADHD, I can tell you firsthand that most of the effects associated with stimulants to treat ADHD are unpleasant and may often make the user experience depersonalization and a lack of motivation.

Should Cocaine be Considered?

The short answer is: no.

Cocaine, while it may offer a short-term way to negate the effects of ADHD, cocaine use is dangerous, and cocaine for ADHD should never be considered. If someone with ADHD is to engage in cocaine use as an attempt to “treat” their disorder, they put themselves at an extremely high risk to develop an addiction. Prescribed stimulant medications such as brands of methylphenidate and amphetamine are much safer, legal ways to curb the effects that ADHD may have on your life.

If you or someone you know suffers from cocaine addiction, it is extremely important to seek professional treatment immediately, especially in the dual diagnosis of ADHD and cocaine addiction. As more time passes that you do not seek treatment, the risk of overdose and even death exponentially increases. That’s why Arete Recovery is here to help. We offer a kindhearted staff of professional doctors, nurses, therapists, and case managers to ensure that recovery is done the right way. Call us today at (855) 781-9939 or contact us online to start taking back your sober life.

Can MDMA Cause Depression?

Recreational club drug users who pop ecstasy or Molly pills expect to experience euphoric highs that last several hours and transport them to another world. They may feel emotional warmth, a distorted sense of time and space, and increased energy and pleasure.

However, what they don’t expect to feel is depression, a mental health disorder that is estimated to affect 16 million adults in the United States and 300 million people across the globe.

Nonetheless, feeling down in the dumps is a common side effect of using MDMA, particularly after the highs have passed and use of the drug has stopped.

How MDMA Affects the Brain

MDMA is the abbreviation for 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine. It is an illegal, synthetic, psychoactive drug chemically similar to stimulants and psychedelics. MDMA affects the brain’s serotonin levels, causing users to feel intense sensations of euphoria and general well-being.

Chronic MDMA use can permanently change the brain’s production and use of serotonin, the neurotransmitter chemical responsible for reducing depressing and regulating anxiety, among other bodily functions. Because of this, long-term use is believed to raise risks of developing depression and leave users susceptible to stress, anxiety, and other emotional disturbances.

There is research about how drugs such as MDMA can become treatments for depression for people who have post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions. Studies are ongoing about the drug’s potential therapeutic benefit, and the effects of MDMA use still make it a dangerous one to take outside of a therapeutic setting.

Users risk high blood pressure, nausea, muscle tension, increased appetite, sweating, and high body temperatures. Failing to drink sufficient amounts of water can lead to dehydration. Heart failure, kidney failure, and irregular heartbeat are also problems that result from MDMA use.

Why Depression Often Follows MDMA Use

Depression that results from MDMA use is reportedly mild and can last one or two days. However, some people who use MDMA frequently or in large amounts report experiencing longer periods of depression. DanceSafe.org offers two possible physiological reasons why MDMA use can appear to cause depression. They also could experience negative moods and feel irritable or tired.

Temporary Depletion of Serotonin

MDMA’s effects on the brain cause it to release large amounts of serotonin, which could deplete the brain’s supply, and the brain will need time to restore what was lost. This period could be when users feel down in the dumps. Research shows this process can take anywhere from two days or a week or more.

Serotonin Receptors Take Longer to Regulate

The brain’s serotonin receptors down-regulate, or turn off, when they are flooded with too much serotonin. The brain’s ability to regulate the receptors helps it maintain balance. Once the body processes excess serotonin, receptors may turn on again or they may remain shut off for a time that could last for a few days to a few months, depending on the person and their situation.

Some MDMA Users Could Already Have Depression

Sometimes using substances bring out conditions that already existed before the person started using. That is also the case with MDMA. Some people may already struggle with depression but was not diagnosed or properly diagnosed before their substance use began. People in this group might be using ecstasy to medicate themselves as they manage the symptoms of their condition.

Dual diagnosis drug addiction treatment is most beneficial for substance users who also have a mental health disorder. It addresses drug use and the disorder at the same time to give users a chance at overcoming their dependence and addiction.

MDMA Addiction

Feelings of depression are also among the symptoms of ecstasy withdrawal. Those who have stopped taking the drug for a time may feel tempted to restart their ecstasy use just so they can keep negative moods, irritability, and fatigue away. Use also may be restarted to attempt to re-create the feelings that were experienced when using MDMA was new. Some will find that it is hard to achieve these effects because MDMA has exhausted the brain’s serotonin supply. The synthetic drug can only release the neurotransmitter that already exists; it cannot create more.

Increased, regular use of MDMA means users will build a high tolerance for the drug, which usually means they will use more of it to achieve the high they are seeking. This practice is dangerous for it can lead to MDMA-related emergencies, such as an accidental overdose, heat stroke, or an addiction that can be never-ending until professional drug treatment is received.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are no specific medical treatments for MDMA addiction. Some people who enter treatment for their addiction benefit from behavioral therapy. Treatment can also give recovering MDMA users life strategies to help them live without addictive substances.

End MDMA Addiction Today

If you or someone you know struggles with MDMA use or is experiencing depression along with their ecstasy use, contact Arete Recovery at 844-318-7500 today to learn about recovery options. A talk with one of our specialists can guide you to a new life of health, sobriety, and happiness.

Alcoholism and Depression: Understanding Comorbidity

Unless you struggle with an alcohol use disorder yourself, it can be almost impossible to understand the plight that addiction to alcohol actually is.

The same goes for people who struggle with depression or any other mental health condition.

It can be easy to speculate from an outsider’s perspective, but unless you are in the throes of these conditions, truly relating to the struggles they experience is infeasible. This is what can make treating alcoholism and depression extremely difficult. While these are two conditions on their own that are formidable in nature, combined, they can prove extremely hard to address.

What Is Comorbidity?

Comorbidity is the presence of one or more additional disease or disorders co-occurring with a primary disease or disorder. Essentially, it’s the combination of multiple disorders in tandem. This can spell disaster for an individual struggling with alcoholism and depression. Thanks to the combination of mental health disorders and an addiction disorder, both disorders must be treated for the patient to find relief. You cannot simply focus on one while ignoring the other. Some of the commonly seen mental health disorders that co-occur with addiction disorders are:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality Disorders

While many people may not be too familiar with the term “comorbidity”, many have heard of a “dual diagnosis” in relation to alcoholism and depression. Dual diagnosis is a popular term among addiction treatment. Many programs tout a superior approach to dual diagnosis treatment since it requires a specialized treatment approach as opposed to traditional drug or alcohol addiction treatment. In order to actually successfully treat alcoholism and depression, a full understanding of dual diagnosis is necessary.

What Does Dual Diagnosis Look Like?

Currently, in the United States alone, there are close to 21 million Americans suffering with substance addictions. Greater than the number of people who have cancer in all its forms combined, that works out to roughly 1 in every 10 people. Out of those 21 million, 7.9 million people are struggling with a dual diagnosis. This is clearly a massive issue among the substance abuse community. Having a comorbid disorder affects more than one-third of all addicts and alcoholics in the United States.

While, of course, alcoholism can cause subsequent depression as a result of the difficulties and negative outcomes that come hand in hand with alcoholism, alcoholism and depression as co-occurring disorders is a completely different situation. Alcoholism is naturally a depressant, a drug class that refers to substances that lower neurotransmission levels, which depresses or reduces arousal or stimulation in a variety of areas of the brain.

But if it is a true dual diagnosis, the signs and symptoms may look something like this:

  • Inability to maintain employment
  • Inability to maintain functional relationships
  • Legal problems
  • Financial issues
  • Extreme mood swings or inability to control their emotions

It is also worth noting that many times long before the addiction manifests, the depression or mood disorder will become apparent. Children and teens who have had struggles with depression are far more likely to struggle with drug and alcohol addiction later in life than those who have not. Also, women are twice as likely to start drinking heavily if they have a history of depression and are more likely to drink more than men when they’re depressed.

Treatment for Alcohol and Depression

If a comorbid alcohol and depression disorder exists, then treatment should be started sooner than later. Studies have shown the direct correlation between dual diagnosis and suicidal tendencies. Those who suffer from alcoholism and depression are more likely to think about suicide, and typically, alcohol use reduces the effectiveness of antidepressant medications.

Due to the dire nature of a dual diagnosis, professional intervention is necessary.

Proper treatment for alcohol and depression, or any other comorbid disorder, will include equal attention to both individual disorders as opposed to focusing solely on one or the other. Typically, care for a dual diagnosis will include:

  • Care by professionals trained in both addiction treatment and mental health disorders
  • Implementation of psychotherapeutic medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications
  • A supportive therapeutic approach that garners the patient’s self-esteem and confidence
  • A treatment plan that incorporates loved ones such as family, partners, and children into the therapy sessions

Treatment for alcohol and depression and other dual diagnoses that was sequential, or separate, led to a higher relapse rate for many patients. Reports have indicated that patients who received proper comorbid care saw higher success rates during the treatment process as well as in maintaining long-term recovery.

Struggling with A Dual Diagnosis?

Since the statistics regarding the number of addicts and alcoholics struggling with dual diagnosis are so high, it’s more than likely you or your loved one may be dealing with something more complicated than simply an addiction disorder. A comorbid disorder requires specialized attention and care coupled with an understanding atmosphere in order for the individual to find relief. That’s where Arete Recovery comes in.

At Arete Recovery, you’ll find yourself in the company of other people just like you struggling with a co-occurring disorder. Our staff is made up of highly trained professionals who are experts in successfully treating dual diagnosis cases. When you call, you’ll be connected to our knowledgeable addiction specialists who can get you the help you or a loved one may need. Upon arrival at the facility, you’ll undergo a preliminary assessment that will help our staff formulate an individualized treatment plan for you and your specific needs! No one needs to struggle with a comorbid disorder alone, call 844-318-7500 or contact us online anytime and start your journey to recovery now!