Is Depression an Amphetamine Related Disorder?
Amphetamine drugs cover a wide spectrum of substances, both legal and illegal. While different in chemical makeup, drugs like Adderall, crystal meth and Ritalin all produce similar effects in spite of their varied purposes.
Unless used as intended, prescription-based amphetamines carry the same potential for abuse and addiction as illegal amphetamines. The risk of developing amphetamine related disorders becomes an issue when drug abuse practices begin.
Amphetamine related disorders can take any number of forms, one of which is depression. If you or someone you know abuses amphetamines on a regular basis, understanding how depression can develop out of ongoing drug use can help you take steps to reduce or eliminate drug-using practices.
If you’re considering drug rehab treatment, call our toll-free helpline at 800-768-8728 to ask about available treatment options.
Amphetamine Related Disorders
According to Medscape, most all amphetamine related disorders closely resemble psychological disorders, such as bipolar, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Unlike full-blown psychological conditions, symptoms of amphetamine related disorder only last for two weeks or less.
As as drug group, amphetamines produce powerful effects, altering the brain’s natural chemical processes in drastic ways. Since the brain’s chemicals (also known as neurotransmitters) regulate most all of the body’s major systems, it’s no wonder amphetamine abuse can cause psychological dysfunction to develop.
Amphetamine-Induced Depressive Disorder
Amphetamine-induced depressive disorder is the official diagnosis given in cases where amphetamine abuse leads to noticeable depression symptoms. Symptoms to watch out for include:
- Ongoing feelings of sadness or “emptiness”
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once enjoyed
- Feelings of helplessness, guilt or worthlessness
Risk Factors for Developing Amphetamine Related Depression
Severe Withdrawal Episodes
Anyone who’s abused amphetamines on an ongoing basis has likely experienced withdrawal episodes. According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, withdrawal episodes result from the damaging effects of the drug on the brain’s ability to work normally.
Over time, withdrawal episodes become increasingly severe due to the ongoing damage had on brain functioning. With depression being one of the more distressing withdrawal symptoms, depression severity also increases over time.
These conditions set the stage for amphetamine related disorder symptoms to develop.
Chronic or Long-Term Amphetamine Abuse
Chronic or long-term amphetamine abuse essentially changes:
- The brain’s overall chemical system
- The brain’s structural makeup
- How the brain works
In effect, these developments turn the brain into an unstable chemical environment. These conditions open the door for pronounced psychological dysfunction to develop.
More often than not, chronic or long-term amphetamine abuse will produce states of severe depression for prolonged periods of time.
Vulnerability to Depression
While ongoing amphetamine abuse is more than capable of causing amphetamine related disorders, someone who’s already vulnerable to developing a depression disorder faces an even higher risk. Factors that increase this risk include:
- A prior history of depression
- Family history of mental illness
- Chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease
- A prior history of mental illness in general
Ultimately, amphetamine abuse causes actual brain damage over time. This means a temporary amphetamine related disorder can eventually evolve into a permanent condition, such as clinical depression or even bipolar disorder.