Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders people face.  People living with anxiety experience rumination, which is the continued overthinking of the same thoughts or concerns that is often not backed up by logic or evidence. Likewise, anxiety caused by rumination cannot simply be diffused with reasoning.

Despite cocaine being illegal, the drug is extremely popular and often abused to reduce negative feelings. For this reason, cocaine and anxiety are linked. While people may attempt to raise their self-esteem with cocaine, anxiety can worsen from abusing the drug.

Cocaine and Anxiety | Does Cocaine Cause Anxiety?
Cocaine is a stimulant which increases brain activity and produces certain chemicals that can improve a person’s self-esteem and energy level. People who are under the effects of cocaine are often more comfortable interacting with other people and less worried about how they are perceived. While these effects are temporary, they can provide short-term relief from specific anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety or generalized anxiety.

Most medical experts recommend that people struggling with anxiety use anti-anxiety or anti-depression medications. However, some people may turn to cocaine for immediate relief from their stress or rumination.

Cocaine speeds up the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. This interaction physically and mentally energizes people. Due to the increased brain activity, people may experience racing, uncontrollable thoughts, some of which could be paranoid or negative.

Using cocaine consistently can cause someone to become reliant on the drug to avoid anxious thoughts. When a person becomes dependent on cocaine they are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms if they go an extended period without the drug. Anxiety is one of the most common withdrawal symptoms of cocaine addiction.

Other anxiety symptoms that are recognizable and may hint at cocaine abuse include:

  • Being stressed by the opinions of peers
  • The inability to sleep
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling nauseous or dizzy
  • Overthinking or worrying about upcoming events or past situations
For some people, using cocaine causes anxiety. The anxious feelings can materialize from the mental effects of the drug or when that person experiences cocaine withdrawal. If someone abuses cocaine, anxiety attacks may occur.
How long a cocaine high lasts varies based on the method of which a person uses the drug. Inhaling the drug or injecting it through the skin usually results in an immediate high that lasts for a short time. Snorting cocaine or ingesting it through the mouth usually causes delayed effects but ones that last for a longer amount of time.

When the effects of cocaine wear off, people often experience negative feelings or thoughts. Regardless of how a person uses the drug, they can still experience a coke comedown. Anxiety is common as the cocaine high dissipates.

While cocaine use can cause anxiety, treatment options are available and can help people who struggle with an addiction to the stimulant drug. Like any two co-occurring disorders, when someone struggles with cocaine dependence and anxiety together, they should seek treatment for both conditions.

Since anxiety can lead people to use cocaine, not addressing the mental illness while undergoing rehab from cocaine addiction can result in future setbacks. Medical professionals at reputable rehab facilities will design treatment plans to address both the addiction and mental illness. Addressing both disorders involves learning coping strategies to manage feelings of anxiety healthily rather than relying on mind-altering substances.

If you or a loved one believe you have a cocaine use disorder, take The Recovery Village Assessment. Knowledge of the condition is the first step to recovery.

If you or someone you know struggles with anxiety, there are important factors to consider before using cocaine to cope with anxiety or for recreational purposes:

  • Cocaine is a stimulant drug that speeds up brain activity, which can worsen anxiety
  • When the effects of cocaine wear off, people routinely experience anxiety as part of the withdrawal from the drug
  • If someone has a cocaine addiction along with an anxiety disorder, they should seek treatment for both conditions at the same time since addiction and mental illness often affect one another

If you are seeking a rehabilitation program for yourself or a loved one, The Recovery Village has facilities in each region of the United States mainland. During rehab, patients can learn coping strategies to manage their cocaine addiction and prevent their anxiety disorder from causing harmful behaviors. If you or someone you know needs help with their co-occurring addiction and mental illness, call The Recovery Village and speak to a representative today.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.