The co-existence of an addiction and a mental illness is considered to be a much severe condition compared to the either of the two conditions in isolation. Such a condition is referred to as dual diagnosis – a common occurrence among Americans. Cocaine addiction along with anxiety disorders is one of the most common co-existing conditions seen in the United States.
Researches have found that cocaine addiction often leads to mental illness, especially anxiety. The illicit drug aggravates anxiety in those who are already suffering from it and leads to the mental condition who do not have the disorder. As a stimulant, cocaine exacerbates the anxiety levels. In other words, anxiety is a common side effect of cocaine use and the condition worsens for an individual if he is already suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Various ways cocaine leads to anxiety
It is well-known that cocaine causes anxiety. However, in many cases people turn to cocaine to deal with their anxiety. Here is how cocaine use and anxiety are related:
As a stimulant: Cocaine tends to trigger and excite the neurotransmitters in the brain which further leads to anxiety. Here it is important to note that anxiety is caused due to both low levels and high levels of neurotransmitters.
Withdrawal from cocaine: When an individual tries to overcome the cocaine addiction and in the pursuit cuts down the cocaine intake, the neurotransmitters drop dramatically. The brain struggles to accept the recovering changes further making the individual susceptible to anxiety and depression.
Cocaine behaviors: Cocaine addiction often leads to discomfort and complications. Severe insomnia is one of the common complications that cocaine addicts struggle with. Insomnia increases the risk of developing anxiety. Further, people also tend to feel anxious when achieved high after cocaine consumption.
Physical distress: Studies have found that constant physical discomfort can also lead to anxiety. Excessive cocaine use triggers the nerves and causes body itching, which further makes the condition favorable for development of anxiety in the addict. Additionally, cocaine also causes severe dehydration, pain, psychomotor agitation, nausea, increased heart rate and all these contribute to development of anxiety.
Affected lifestyle: Ingestion of cocaine carries a lot of risk and pressure and aspects such as legal. Its effects and addictive property contribute to the development of anxiety. Cocaine is expensive and people tend to spend a fortune on the drug and end up being in a financial crisis. Such stressful conditions coupled with other side effects caused by cocaine use can lead to development of anxiety in an individual.
Psychological dependence: The excessive use of cocaine makes an individual psychologically dependent on the drug. As a result, he tends to believe that the drug enhances thinking ability and helps him in taking decisions. Consequently, the individual loses the mental ability to cope with anxiety naturally.
Treating co-occurring disorders
Besides cocaine addiction and anxiety, there are several co-occurring disorders that are prevalent in the society. Other commonly seen co-occurring disorders are marijuana addiction and schizophrenia, depression and alcohol, and opioid addiction and PTSD.
In case of dual diagnosis, it is important to treat both the disorders simultaneously. However, due to lack of awareness and knowledge, many screening tests and diagnosis fail to detect the existence of the other disorder. As a result, only one of the disorders is treated. In other cases, clinicians treat only addiction or the mental disorder in isolation with a belief that the other co-occurring problem will get treated automatically. But in case of dual diagnosis, it is important to address both the problems together to ensure a complete recovery.
If you or your loved one is seeking treatment for co-occurring disorders, it is imperative to take the necessary medical help before matters go out of control. If you would like to know more about dual diagnosis treatment programs in California, you may contact the California Dual Diagnosis Helpline. Call us at our 24/7 helpline 855-980-1736 or chat online with our certified representatives who can provide you with information on dual diagnosis treatment centers in California and help you find the best dual diagnosis rehab in California.
Read the first article of the series – Common co-occurring disorders: Marijuana addiction and schizophrenia