Skip to main content

Cocaine and Anxiety: Can Cocaine Cause an Anxiety Disorder?

Written on October 20, 2023
Cocaine and Anxiety: Can Cocaine Cause an Anxiety Disorder?

It’s no secret that cocaine is a sought-after recreational drug prevalent nationwide. Despite being an illegal stimulant, thousands of Americans still use the drug for various reasons. Besides being highly addictive, cocaine use can trigger various physical and mental problems. Those who use cocaine may discover that it worsens an ongoing anxiety problem. Conversely, cocaine may bring on clinical anxiety that wasn’t a problem before.

For some, the primary motivator is the intense euphoria and mood enhancement they get from cocaine, as it stimulates the brain’s dopamine receptors, creating a pleasurable and energizing high. 

Others may use cocaine to escape stress, boredom, and everyday challenges. Some people use cocaine to boost their self-esteem, thinking it will make them more popular or outgoing or help them fit in with a particular crowd. 

Does Cocaine Cause Anxiety?

Cocaine and anxiety often go hand in hand. 

Since cocaine is a stimulant, it speeds up the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain, causing thoughts to race, subsequently intensifying anxiety in many people.

Furthermore, while cocaine initially produces feelings of euphoria and confidence, it is often followed by a “crash” when the effects wear off. 

When a crash occurs, those on cocaine may experience heightened anxiety, irritability, restlessness, and other adverse effects as their dopamine levels plummet.  

It’s common for a cocaine user to feel out of control, panicky, or paranoid as the effects of cocaine wane. Other cocaine crash withdrawal symptoms include cravings, anger, depression, and lethargy. 

Additionally, cocaine can alter appetite and sleep patterns, exacerbating physical and mental health problems

Can Cocaine Use Cause A New Anxiety Disorder? 

Someone who has never suffered from anxiety before may develop clinical anxiety, especially during cocaine withdrawal.

Once a dependency has set in, cocaine users may feel constantly anxious until they use cocaine again or while using it. They will likely feel anxious coming down from the drug as their brain attempts to recalibrate. 

Furthermore, chronic cocaine use has long-term consequences. For example, prolonged exposure to the drug leads to changes in the brain’s neural pathways and tolerance development. 

While chasing that elusive cocaine high, users may experience severe anxiety, paranoia, and even hallucinations. Over time, chronic anxiety will affect everyday lives, interfering with work, relationships, and the overall quality of life.

Ultimately, cocaine and anxiety will create many uncomfortable side effects and a cycle of addiction that’s difficult to break. 

Is Treatment For Both Cocaine Addiction and Anxiety Possible?

That’s a resounding “yes.” Nearly all cases of substance addiction exist with an underlying mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Cocaine and anxiety are not different.

It’s called dual-diagnosis treatment when treating a mental health condition and substance abuse disorder in unison. Therefore, not only is treatment for cocaine addiction and anxiety possible, but it is also necessary for long-term recovery. 

Cocaine abuse (or other substance abuse disorder) is an attempt to manage or escape life’s stressors. At this point, it’s time to get professional help to identify the root causes of addiction and commit to a recovery plan. 

Find Support For Cocaine and Anxiety

Flatirons Recovery in Colorado treats cocaine abuse and anxiety holistically. Here are some of the ways you or a loved one will benefit from our cocaine and anxiety (dual-diagnosis) treatments: 

  • Developing skills such as mindfulness to increase anxiety tolerance so cravings are lessened
  • Addressing underlying trauma that may be causing both anxiety and addiction with evidence-based treatment such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
  • Nutritional counseling to help clients maintain a dietary plan that supports recovery from cocaine addiction and anxiety
  • Experimental modalities that decrease anxiety include yoga, hiking, art, and equine therapy
  • Managing medication to help ease underlying anxiety.
  • Receive care in an uplifting, calming environment for recovery
  • Community involvement between our programs and the greater Boulder, Colorado area so clients can have a positive social experience—all while being supported by staff and peers

Addiction is an ongoing process with various stages, including detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare. At Flatirons Recovery, we’ll walk you through each stage with care and compassion. You’re never alone. 

Reach Out Today

It’s beneficial when cocaine and anxiety treatment is tailored to each individual’s needs, considering the circumstances and severity of each addiction. Flatirons Recovery offers personalized therapy and holistic treatments for the mind, body, and spirit just for you. You’ll feel at home in our uplifting, calming environment filled with natural light and clean, soothing Colorado-style decor. 

Plus, surrounded by 80 acres of open space, our sober living facility features a breathtaking view of open space and wild horses from every bedroom window.

Here in Colorado, we have over 300 days of sunshine. We take full advantage of the power of nature to help ease your anxiety with time spent in the Rocky Mountains, especially the spectacular Boulder Flatirons. 

What are you waiting for? Take that first step on the road to recovery today. You deserve a life of health and happiness, free of addiction and anxiety. A member of our team is waiting to help you get started. Contact our admissions department today.