Fighting off Depression After MDMA & Methamphetamine
MDMA, also called Molly and Ecstasy, is a drug that achieves its psychedelic and stimulating effects by increasing the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain—including Dopamine and Serotonin. Dopamine and Serotonin are two neurotransmitters that play critical roles in regulating mood and emotions. When a person ingests MDMA, the increase in these neurotransmitters causes the initial “high.” However, as the drug wears off, the activity of the neurotransmitters decreases, and the deficit results in a “low,” often resulting in depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and irritability. Extended use of MDMA can cause the brain to adapt to the increased activity of these neurotransmitters, causing the subsequent “low” to become more significant given the brain’s desensitization to the brain’s naturally occurring Dopamine and Serotonin.
Methamphetamines also achieve their effects by increasing Dopamine levels in the brain. Continued methamphetamine abuse can cause users to have difficulty feeling pleasure other than what is provided by the drug. Like chronic MDMA use, the brain’s ability to produce appropriate Dopamine levels is compromised by the artificial presence of the neurotransmitter created by ingesting Methamphetamine. Withdrawal symptoms can include depression, anxiety, and fatigue as the brain’s dopamine levels are depleted by the withdrawal of the artificial catalyst to Dopamine production and the brain’s reduced ability to produce enough Dopamine to match the deficit.
Neuroimaging studies have shown that there are alterations in the activity of the Serotonin and Dopamine systems because of long-term stimulant use, which can account for the emotional problems observed among those who use methamphetamine.
Drug Usage and Depression
Depression can arise from several sources, including an imbalance of chemicals that regulate mood and energy levels. Individuals suffering from depression often have lower levels or reduced activity of Serotonin and Dopamine neurotransmitters, resulting in their mood experience. Antidepressant medications are formulated to increase the levels of Serotonin and Dopamine in their brain to provide relief from their symptoms as their brain’s levels of Serotonin and Dopamine increase. For individuals that struggle with MDMA or Methamphetamine abuse, depression can be triggered by the altered brain chemistry resulting from prolonged drug usage.
Many individuals struggling with substance use have co-occurring mental health diagnoses, as many of these individuals use substances to self-medicate their experience of negative and often debilitating symptoms. An individual suffering from depression who abuses stimulants will most likely experience even more significant depressive symptoms as they experience the withdrawal that results from the decrease in the activity of Serotonin and Dopamine following an episode of use.
If addiction and depression are present, they are considered co-occurring disorders. Depression is not something someone can “snap out of,” and understanding the biological processes behind someone’s experience of depression can assist in identifying appropriate medications and treatments to prevent continued and ongoing suffering.
A dual diagnosis program can help you focus on the underlying causes of addiction and the issues surrounding dependency. You will have a chance to learn about depression and how you can manage it, how medications work to provide relief, and how your substance use impacted your ability to manage your symptoms. By enrolling in a dual diagnosis program, you can learn how using medications can improve your experience of symptoms while also recovering from drug use or addiction.
The best remedy to fight off depression after drug usage is identifying the underlying causes of your substance use and achieving balance through sobriety, therapy, and medication. The next step is making the difficult but important decision to seek help from a qualified dual diagnosis facility. Destination Hope, based in South Florida, has successfully treated thousands of clients with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health conditions since its inception.