The Connection Between Cocaine and Depression

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that can be very addictive. Cocaine may also impact depression symptoms. Learn more here.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a very powerful stimulant drug. Cocaine and depression is extracted from coca leaves and often comes in a white powder form. It is most commonly sniffed, which makes the powder absorb into the bloodstream through the nasal tissues.1

It is also abused by rubbing it into the gums, injecting it, or inhaling it as smoke or vapor. Cocaine is a highly addictive substance that can have a major psychological impact on someone.2


Can Cocaine Cause Depression?

It is often difficult to tell whether a cocaine addiction or depression comes first. Depression is a widespread mental health condition that affects millions of Americans every year. It is often seen that drug abuse and mental health issues do have an overlap, as many who struggle with mental health problems may look to self-medicate through drug use.

It is also important to keep in mind that cocaine does alter brain chemistry and pleasure centers. It’s difficult to tell, but this could have an impact on someone’s mental health and possibly develop or contribute to depressive symptoms.

Why Might a Person Turn to Cocaine When Depressed?

Cocaine affects pleasure centers in the brain which may make someone feel as though it’s a mood booster, especially if they are depressed. People who are depressed may find that stimulants, such as cocaine, make people feel their depression initially improves or they feel better when they first start using the drug. However, cocaine is highly addictive, and self-medicating is this way is very dangerous.

Using a drug such as cocaine can easily lead to both physical and psychological dependence and should be avoided. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression you should talk to a medical professional about treatment options, as there are many safe and well-tested treatments available.

Can you Become Addicted to Cocaine?

Cocaine can be both physically and psychologically addicting. It has euphoric and seemingly pleasurable effects that can draw someone into wanting to use it, which makes it very dangerous and can easily lead to addiction.

Some people may try cocaine recreationally at a party or with friends but it can be a slippery slope if use is continued. If you feel as though you are struggling with an addiction, help is available to get the help that you need.

Types of Cocaine

What is Liquid Cocaine?

Liquid cocaine is a form of cocaine that is often used by drug smugglers to transport the drug. Liquid cocaine has gained popularity in recent years but transporting it this way actually began in the 1980s and early ‘90s. This method was originally created by Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

When this method initially began, they would soak shipments of denim in liquid cocaine and use a special solution to extract it and dry it out once it reached the destination. People trying to transport cocaine have also been known to swallow packets of liquid cocaine, which makes it very difficult to detect. However, this method is extremely dangerous if the packets were to open up in the transporter’s body.

Crack vs. Cocaine

The term cocaine generally refers to the drug in a powder form. Crack is created by combining the powder with water and usually baking soda. After the ingredients are combined, they are boiled, cooled, and then broken into smaller pieces known as crack. The name crack refers to the crackling sound that happens when the drug is heated and then smoked. Crack is highly concentrated and is therefore very addictive.3

The main difference between crack and cocaine is the way they are usually taken. Cocaine is usually snorted, and crack is usually smoked. Smoking crack results in a high that takes effect very quickly but doesn’t last as long as the high from snorting cocaine.

What Treatments are Available for Cocaine Addiction?

Many behavioral treatments have proven very effective for cocaine addiction. Inpatient and outpatient settings options are available for addiction treatment. During your stay at an inpatient treatment center, there is a drug-free environment away from temptations. Outpatient treatment would involve going to a treatment center, but you would be able to continue living at home and see your family every day. You should speak to a medical professional about what resources are available in your area and which option would be best suited for your needs.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is often effective in battling addictions as it can help redirect thought patterns and teach skills to cope with the stresses of everyday life. A behavioral therapist will work with you to set goals, encourage progress, and help you see that you don’t have to go through this alone.

12-Step Programs

Attending a twelve-step program may also be a good idea. Twelve-step programs, such as narcotics anonymous (NA), will give you a support system with a group of people who care about you and relate to what you’re going through. Having a support system and a structure to follow is often beneficial for continued sobriety.

If you’re looking for treatment options and you aren’t sure where to start you can speak to a health professional about recovery resources available in your area or use the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator that is provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).4


Cocaine is a highly addictive substance. It is very interconnected with depression as many individuals who are depressed may try to self-medicate by abusing cocaine. Cocaine is a stimulant that creates euphoric and seemingly pleasurable effects by altering the pleasure centers in the brain. Cocaine is very psychologically addictive because of these effects. Cocaine also has physically addictive properties which makes it even easier to become reliant on the drug.

If you are struggling with depression, an addiction, or both, help is available for you. Reach out to a trusted family member, friend, or go to a medical professional if you are struggling. Everyone deserves to get the help that they need and you don’t have to do this alone.

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