Living with an anxiety disorder can make a person feel like they are perpetually drowning. Every day, ordinary situations and scenarios can trigger an unexpected anxiety attack, forcing a person to withdraw themselves from healthy interactions to hide their apprehension and anxiousness.
Individual anxiety triggers typically vary from person to person, but the overwhelming majority of people struggling with excessive anxiety identify their experience as unexpected and debilitating. That’s because anxiety attacks when you least expect it, forcing you to question your sanity and leaving you feeling lost and confused.
For your addicted loved one, having to deal with an anxiety disorder on top of their substance use disorder is similar to trying to swim while wearing a weighted vest. No matter how strong they are, at some point the weight will become too much and they’ll find themselves struggling to keep their head above water.
That’s why it’s important for them to understand how their cocaine use impacts their anxiety. This understanding will help them see how achieving sobriety can not only improve their physical health, but also their overall mental health and stability.
Does Cocaine Cause Anxiety?
Cocaine is classified as a stimulant, which means it causes the functionality of the brain and body to work overtime once it is consumed. It directly impacts the central nervous system and causes a person to feel a surge of energy when they are on the drug, which quickly gives way to feelings of paranoia, restlessness and irritability.
For someone living with an anxiety disorder, cocaine will not only intensify their feelings of anxiousness, but it also has the potential of inducing sever mood swings – shifting their feelings of anxiety to feelings of depression and hopelessness once the effects of the drug wear off.
Simply put, cocaine increases feelings of anxiety and it routinely makes those feelings more severe within someone ingesting any amount of cocaine.
Cocaine and Anxiety Create a Co-Occurring Disorder
There are a number of individuals living with an anxiety disorder who use drugs to self-medicate with the hopes of lessening the severity of their mental health issues.
This co-occurring disorder, both a mental health issue and a substance addiction, forces the individual to fluctuate between the symptoms associated with their mental illness and the symptoms caused by the cocaine addiction.
Trying to understand which came first is a fool’s errand. That’s why treating both of the disorders simultaneously is imperative to achieving any amount of success and avoiding unforeseen setbacks throughout the recovery journey.
Some of the more common symptoms of anxiety – including insomnia, racing thoughts, feelings of nausea and restlessness and feeling keyed up – are some of the exact symptoms associated with cocaine addiction.
For a person struggling with both, trying to improve or avoid feelings of anxiety by ingesting a stimulant is like pouring gasoline on a fire. It amplifies all the negative emotions associated with an anxiety disorder and alters the manner in which the brain deals with both positive and negative experiences.
Then, as cocaine’s effects begin to fade, your loved one will experience worsened anxiety symptoms that regularly result in waves of anxiousness and all out panic.
How You Can Help Your Loved One Address Their Anxiety and Cocaine Abuse
First and foremost, it is important to approach your loved one with a nonjudgmental and empathetic perspective when addressing their substance use disorder and mental health issues. Making an honest effort to avoid verbal conflict and accusatory statements allows your loved one to enter into the conversation with an open-minded perspective and a willingness to engage.
From there, you can work with them to identify how their addiction is hurting them and the importance of enrolling in a clinically sound treatment facility to begin their recovery journey. Finding an addiction treatment center that specializes in co-occurring disorders and dual diagnosis treatment is essential to helping your loved one receive the appropriate level of care for both their mental health issue and substance addiction.
In facilities that emphasize treatment for co-occurring disorders, staff members have specialized training and qualifications. These addiction specialists understand that clients with co-occurring disorders face certain challenges because of their mental illness and need to receive comprehensive therapy aimed at improving their physical and mental health.
Helping your loved one find the right facility is the best thing you can do to support their sobriety and ensure they begin their rehab in the best clinical environment available.
Holistic Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery
The self-perpetuating cycle your loved one is caught up in doesn’t have to rule their life forever. They can face their co-occurring hurdles head-on with professional help and individualized support at Ranch Creek Recovery.