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A Look at Cocaine & Anxiety

A Look at Cocaine & Anxiety

Cocaine is a powerful drug that was used for many years for its stimulant effects and as a treatment for various ailments.

Since this time, cocaine has been found to be highly addictive and leads to serious consequences for a person’s health with frequent use. The drug is now illegal in the United States.

Anxiety is a reaction to stress or an event that leads to heightened feelings of worry, fear, or uneasiness. Anxiety disorders are mental health disorders that involve prolonged or excessive feelings of worry, fear, and uneasiness that interfere with a person’s life.

While cocaine and anxiety may not seem to have a lot in common from a first glance, the two are often more related than many people realize.

The Relationship Between Cocaine and Anxiety

In general, substance abuse problems and mental health disorders can often become intertwined, and the connection between cocaine and anxiety is no exception. Many regular cocaine users will struggle with co-occurring mental health problems, including anxiety. The cocaine anxiety symptoms can vary drastically from user to user and often depend on a variety of factors including the severity of the addiction, frequency of abuse, the mental health of the user, and the potency of the cocaine. For example, users of crack, a most concentrated form of cocaine, have been found to have higher levels of anxiety than normal cocaine users.1 This connection may occur for several reasons. In some cases, cocaine causes anxiety while in other cases, anxiety leads to cocaine use.

While many people start taking cocaine for its euphoric effects, its addictive qualities can get them hooked. Frequent and prolonged use can change the effects and lead to episodes of anxiety or anxiety attacks instead of the normal euphoria. This type of reaction may be the result of an underlying anxiety disorder problem that the substance abuse brings to the surface. In other cases, people who have become highly dependent on this drug will start to experience anxiety after cocaine use stops as the body starts to go through withdrawal. To combat this anxiety as well as the other withdrawal symptoms, many users will take another dose of cocaine. Those who go through a cocaine detox may require other medications to help with anxiety if the symptoms become severe.

Cocaine and anxiety attacks can also be connected in the other direction. Many people who suffer from anxiety are looking for ways to manage these symptoms. In order to cope with their anxiety, these people may turn to drugs like cocaine that provide an initial euphoric rush that helps them forget about their anxious feelings. When this type of coping becomes routine, the users will likely become addicted to cocaine and become dependent on using it to relieve their anxiety. Unfortunately, while cocaine may provide some initial relief, prolonged abuse can actually make their anxiety worse overall.

How to Treat Cocaine Abuse & Anxiety

If someone is abusing cocaine and also experiencing anxiety attacks or regular anxiety, there is hope. The first step to get help is getting cocaine abuse treatment. These programs can help the person stop their use of cocaine for good. After the initial withdrawal symptoms start to fade, the individual may find that their anxiety symptoms also start to decline or fade away. If this is the case, it is likely that their cocaine use was causing the anxiety and continued abstinence from this substance will help to improve their symptoms. Drug addiction therapies during treatment can help with the lingering feelings of anxiety and also work to improve the patient’s overall health.

If cocaine use stops but the anxiety does not, or the anxiety was a leading factor in the onset of the substance abuse problem, the individual will likely need to find treatment for their anxiety as well as their addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment programs are designed to help people with both substance abuse problems and mental health disorders at the same time. Only when both issues are addressed can the individual expect to find long-term success and happiness in their recovery journey.

Substance abuse problems and mental health disorders can severely interfere with a person’s life and lead to lasting problems, but there is hope. At Banyan Heartland, we help people overcome their addictions and start working toward happier and healthier life.

To get more information for yourself or a loved one, call us now at 888-280-4763.


  1. NCBI - Relationship between cocaine use and mental health problems in a sample of European cocaine powder or crack users
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
A Look at Cocaine & Anxiety
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