Depression - Project Neon


Does crystal cause depression? Using crystal causes ups and downs in the levels of serotonin (your happy mood chemical) in your brain. You have lots of serotonin when you're high, but much less when you're crashing. So feeling "depressed" during the crash and between highs is typical for people who use crystal regularly. This temporary change in mood is a short-lived, mild form of depression. Over time and with regular or increased crystal use, your serotonin levels can become seriously depleted. This may result in a drug-caused depression that lasts longer but often improves once you stop using. The brain's ability to rebuild its own chemistry and to recover from depression varies greatly from person to person. Some people will rebound quickly. Others will take much longer and may even require medication.

When we think of depression, we often think of a long-term condition that requires medication or therapy to treat. There are many types and causes of depression and many levels of severity. Crystal use can certainly contribute to depression, but not all users will develop symptoms that require serious treatment.

How can I tell if I have "real" depression or it's just the speed?

In general, symptoms of depression include:
  • feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • lack of energy, motivation or pleasure
  • inability to concentrate
  • changes in sleeping or eating (either too little or too much)

Sounds just like crashing, doesn't it?

If these symptoms go away in a few days (or a few weeks depending on how often you get high), it's probably just "drug-caused" depression. But if you had these symptoms before you started using or they continue long after you stop using, you may have some type of depression.

What are the most common types of depression (not drug related)?

  • Temporary depression simply refers to those times when "life's got ya down" (often because of problems with work, relationships, illness, death, etc.). This depression is common and normal and will usually go away once the "problem" has been dealt with. Everyone has these experiences.
  • "Clinical" depression is a more serious form of depression that lasts longer. There can be many causes and there are usually more symptoms than just temporary depression. Without treatment, people with clinical depression may struggle with symptoms all the time, no matter how "good" life is. This kind of depression must be diagnosed by a physician or mental health specialist. Most often the symptoms can be managed with medications, therapy, or both.
  • Bi-polar disorder appears as extreme swings in mood from depression to anxiety, euphoria or physical activity ("mania"). This cycle can be frequent and usually follows a certain pattern. Because regular crystal use also looks and feels like this, some crystal users can be mis-diagnosed as "being bi-polar" if their health care provider doesn't know about the drug use. On the other hand, many users who actually do have bi-polar disorder often find crystal can take the extremes out of the highs and lows. This is only temporary, however, and may make the problem worse in the long run.