Cocaine has a reputation as a party drug. People in the entertainment industry have spoken publicly about the rampant use of the drug behind the scenes in the 1980s—even going so far as to allege that movie budgets included cocaine expenses. Dave Chappelle and Charlie Murphy turned musician Rick James famous (or infamous) behavior under the influence of the drug into a punchline in one of the most quoted sketch comedy bits of all time.
However, the good times don’t last, and users often find themselves suffering from numerous mental and physical health issues including anxiety. For some who are self-medicating for anxiety issues with cocaine, this feels like a return to the status quo, but is it possible for cocaine to cause anxiety in individuals who previously had no history of the condition?
The Correlation Between Addiction and Anxiety
Many people battling drug or alcohol addiction will experience anxiety at some point. Strained relationships at home and work certainly don’t help put anyone at ease. You might engage in dangerous activities to get your hands on more cocaine, and your ability to make safe, responsible decisions is impaired when you’re using. This can lead to consequences that also increase your levels of stress and anxiety.
The rushes and crashes take a toll on your mental and physical health, and cocaine use can lead to difficulty sleeping which is another contributing factor in developing anxiety. However, these circumstances are not unique to cocaine users.
What is Cocaine-Induced Anxiety Disorder?
Cocaine changes the way your brain works. The communication systems work faster, and these disruptions can cause feelings of anxiousness. Likewise, when you come down from the high, your mind will struggle to find equilibrium which may leave you feeling sluggish, anxious and depressed.
Those suffering from cocaine-induced anxiety disorder might experience:
- Panic attacks consisting of increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, shaking, sweating and other
- Unshakable thoughts or emotions that cause discomfort
- Compulsive behavior—typically repeating the same unnecessary tasks in a loop
Cocaine Addiction and Anxiety as Co-Occurring Disorders
We mentioned in the beginning that some people turn to cocaine use as a way to temporarily shake their persistent feelings of anxiety or other difficult feelings. The problem with self-medicating in this manner is that you never address the underlying causes for your anxiety. Instead, you end up with a self-perpetuating cycle where your anxiety fuels more cocaine use, and using cocaine amplifies your feelings of anxiousness when you crash.
When seeking help, it’s important to look for a program that offers dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder treatment. This approach addresses both conditions simultaneously. Focusing on only one at a time increases the likelihood of relapse.
Comprehensive Treatment for Anxiety and Cocaine Addiction
At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we realize every addiction is different. That’s why we work with each client to develop an individualized treatment plan to meet his or her needs.
Are you struggling with cocaine addiction? We can help. Take the first step in regaining control of your life and talk to one of our recovery specialists today.