Cocaine addiction and anxiety go hand-in-hand and people often wonder if cocaine use causes anxiety. These two issues have a very interesting relationship because their connection can go both directions. Cocaine abuse can lead to anxiety, but conversely anxiety can lead to self-medicating through cocaine. These two problems are so interwoven that by the time a sufferer reaches a treatment program, it’s hard to even tell which came first.
Using Cocaine to Self-Medicate
Someone dealing with anxiety might turn to drugs as a way of self-medicating. In this scenario, the cocaine did not cause the anxiety, but it may heighten the symptoms and will eventually make it worse. Once this pattern begins, the brain forgets how to cope without the use of cocaine. This leads to a cycle of addiction as the sufferer turns to cocaine when any tiny amount of stress shows up in their life. This process deepens both the addiction and the symptoms of anxiety.
Cycle Leads to More Stress
To make matters worse, this process of a deepening addiction puts people in situations that cause even more stress and adds to their anxiety. These include:
– Buying drugs on the street
– Having trouble keeping a job
– Doing things that their sober self would not do
– Difficulties with relationships
Anxiety Develops from Cocaine Use
In this second scenario, the anxiety develops because of the cocaine addiction. There are several reasons that can cause cocaine-induced anxiety:
- Cocaine is a stimulant and speeds up the neurotransmitters of the brain. This process causes anxiety.
- Anxiety can happen during withdrawal. When coming off of cocaine, the neurotransmitters can drop dramatically. This leads to depression and anxiety as the brain is trying to normalize.
- Some side effects of cocaine use can evolve into anxiety. For example, insomnia is a side effect of addiction, and not getting enough sleep leads to anxiety.
- Physical stress on the body can lead to mental stress and eventually, anxiety.
Treating Both Problems
Since either one can cause the other, both issues need to be treated simultaneously in a dual diagnosis treatment facility. If an anxiety disorder is not treated during a drug rehab program, it is more difficult to be successful. Down the road, untreated anxiety could lead right back to a relapse. Because of this, it’s important to choose a drug treatment facility than can craft an individual treatment plan based on both substance abuse and mental health. Contact us today to get help for co-occurring disorders.