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The Connection Between Anxiety Disorder and Cocaine Addiction

jrtempleton - April 26, 2018

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Cocaine addiction and anxiety go hand-in-hand, and many 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 an anxiety disorder, but conversely, anxiety can lead to self-medicating through cocaine.

These two problems, known as co-occurring conditions, are often so interwoven that by the time an individual reaches a treatment program, it’s hard to even tell which came first.

Scenario 1: Using Cocaine to Self-Medicate for Anxiety

Someone dealing with anxiety might turn to drugs as a way of self-medicating. In this scenario, the cocaine did not cause the anxiety disorder, 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 individual begins to turn to cocaine when any tiny amount of stress shows up in their life. This process deepens both the addiction and the symptoms of anxiety disorder.

Scenario 2: Anxiety Disorder Developing from Cocaine Abuse

In this second scenario, the anxiety disorder develops because of the cocaine addiction. There are several reasons why cocaine-induced anxiety can occur:

  1. Cocaine is a stimulant. Stimulants speed up the neurotransmitters in the brain, which can cause feelings of anxiety.
  2. Anxiety can also occur during cocaine withdrawal. When coming down from stimulants, the brain’s neurotransmitters can drop dramatically. This leads to feelings of depression and anxiety as the brain is trying to normalize.
  3. Some side effects of cocaine use can evolve into anxiety. For example, insomnia is a common side effect of cocaine addiction, and not getting enough sleep can lead to even worse feelings of stress, and anxiousness.
  4. Physical stress on the body can lead to mental stress and eventually, anxiety.

The Cycle of Stress, Anxiety, and Addiction

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

How Dual Diagnosis Rehab Helps Treat Cocaine And Anxiety

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 like cocaine and anxiety.

Call Footprints Beachside Recovery at 877-954-3908 today.

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