Amphetamine Addiction & Depression: Treatment Options

Amphetamine addictions can produce some of the most damaging, debilitating effects to the brain and body with depression ranking at the top of the list. Whether using amphetamines on a regular basis or recovering from addiction, many experience bouts of depression on an ongoing basis.

For people struggling with amphetamine addiction, depression episodes can make it especially difficult to cut back or stop drug use. Likewise, persistent feelings of depression in recovery can challenge even the most determined of individuals. While some degree of depression should be expected within the recovery process, it’s important to take advantage of any available, suitable treatment options in order to lower the risk of relapse.

Amphetamine Addiction Aftereffects

Whether a person uses ecstasy or Ritalin, amphetamine effects on the brain remain the same. According to the University of Maryland, amphetamines stimulate and speed up chemical processes throughout the brain and central nervous system. In effect, each drug dose forces dopamine and norepinephrine-producing brain cells to produce massive amounts of chemicals. Amphetamines also block the brain’s natural chemical reuptake or recycling processes.

Over time, amphetamine effects leave a lasting imprint on the brain’s chemical system. In addition, these changes all but “reconfigure” the brain’s reward system and center a person’s thinking, emotions and behaviors on getting and using drugs. Consequently, persistent feelings of depression develop out of these conditions.

Depression & Relapse Risks

For former chronic amphetamine users, some of the withdrawal symptoms experienced in detox can persist well into the recovery process. Also known as stimulant withdrawal syndrome, according to the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, people recovering from amphetamine addiction may exhibit any one of the following physical and behavioral signs:

  • Lethargy
  • Isolating from others
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Fatigue

Under these conditions, the potential for relapse runs incredibly high if only for the purpose of gaining relief from emotional turmoil. Not surprisingly, a person can easily develop a full-blown depression disorder on top of his or her addiction problem, which only increases the likelihood of relapse in recovery.

Treatment Options

Medication Therapies

In cases where amphetamine addiction and psychological disorder co-occur, a dual diagnosis condition exists. Dual diagnosis conditions can be especially difficult to manage in recovery as the two disorders (addiction and depression) tend to feed off one another.

When depression symptoms reach a point where a person has difficulty managing the affairs of everyday life, medication treatment may be needed to help stabilize the brain’s chemical system. In turn, many people recovering from amphetamine addiction require some form of antidepressant medication treatment to remain engaged in the recovery process and maintain abstinence on an ongoing basis.

Behavioral-Based Treatment


Psychotherapy can help with both depression and amphetamine addiction.

Behavioral-based treatment interventions address the faulty thinking and behavior-based aftereffects of the addiction mindset. These interventions also address the negative belief systems associated with depression disorder. Amphetamine addiction treatment programs commonly use one or more of the following approaches:

  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Support groups
  • Group therapy
  • Drug education and counseling


For people recovering from amphetamine addiction, severe depression can greatly compromise any efforts made in recovery and leave the door wide open for relapse to occur. For these reasons, getting needed treatment help for depression as well as amphetamine addiction can make all the difference in the world.

If you or someone you know struggles with depression in recovery, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-816-1059(Who Answers?) for information on addiction and depression treatment options.