How Cocaine Abuse Complicates Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues are often caused by complicated combinations of circumstances, genetic factors and chemical imbalances in the brain. With the proper treatment, these issues can often be managed, but many individuals unconsciously self-medicate with drugs like cocaine. While cocaine may be able to provide short-term relief for certain mental health issues, it can eventually make those same issues worse.

Mental Health Issues and Cocaine Use

Cocaine is a highly processed stimulant that results in a variety of different effects, depending on the dosage and method of use. Highly refined cocaine is the most expensive version and is often taken by snorting. It can give users a boost of energy and confidence and it may intensify emotional responses to different experiences. This type of effect can be attractive to individuals with a number of mental health issues, including the following:

  • Depression
  • Self-esteem deficiencies
  • Eating disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder

Those who suffer from diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome and narcolepsy may also turn to stimulants like cocaine to self-medicate.

Unrefined cocaine may be chemically treated and sold as a less expensive version of crack cocaine. It can give users a more intense, but more temporary burst of euphoria. Smoking crack may provide users with momentary release from a variety of psychological and sociological stressors, including the following:

  • Poverty
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Feelings of hopelessness, fear or desperation

When first used, cocaine is felt to block negative emotions. The user may quickly develop a tolerance to the drug. This means that he will require larger and more frequent doses in order to feel the desired effects. However, the human brain can only handle so much of the drug and overdose commonly follows a cocaine tolerance.

Consequences of Cocaine Use for Users with Mental Health Issues

Those struggling with mental issues ranging from mild depression to schizophrenia may become addicted to cocaine after just one use. The drug can mask underlying psychological symptoms and the brain may begin to crave that relief in ways that are much more powerful than rational thought or will. Cocaine does not often create the powerful physical addiction that is common with opiates, but its psychological power can be significant. If left untreated, the user’s escalating tolerance levels can drive him to use increasing amounts of cocaine for relief. This can result in a number of consequences, including the following:

  • Death, coma or seizures due to overdose
  • Brain damage
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Intensification of the mental health symptoms
  • Psychosis

Finding Treatment for Mental Health Issues and Cocaine Dependency

Rehab programs are not all the same. Many will treat symptoms of the addiction without taking the necessary time to identify and treat the underlying mental health issue that may be driving it.
If you are wrestling with mental health issues and have been tempted to use recreational drugs or if you have already become psychologically dependent on cocaine, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about cocaine abuse and mental health. We can help you find the best recovery program for your particular needs. Please call now.

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