One study found that the use of stimulants, like meth or cocaine, is much higher in men and women who also suffer from depression. When taken, stimulants increase the speed at which signals are transmitted through the brain. This can lead to increased feelings of euphoria, increased alertness or talkativeness, higher heart rate and blood pressure, and heightened sensations of overall wellbeing. So, because of these side effects, individuals who struggle with depression may seek the increase in serotonin that comes with using these drugs.
Among college students, it was found that approximately 17% of individuals misused stimulants. Of this 17%, a high proportion also admitted to dealing with psychological side effects such as increased depression. We see this specifically through the misuse of medications commonly prescribed to treat ADHD, like Adderall. Many students resort to unprescribed Adderall use as a way to increase focus or to cram for an upcoming exam. When misused, however, this stimulant can pose a threat to the user and can actually become extremely addictive. Side effects of Adderall addiction include increased anxiety, depression when the drug is not present within the user’s system, increased sociability, sleeping difficulties, and more.