How Cocaine Use Can Affect Emotional Health

Cocaine affects users in every area of their life. There are physical, social, financial and often legal ramifications, and there are significant emotional effects that can be caused either directly by cocaine’s actions on neurotransmitters and receptors and indirectly through reaction to its other effects.

People generally begin using cocaine, because it gives them a sense of well-being. It is a stimulant drug which tends to provide energy and feelings of euphoria. As people continue to consume the drug, they develop tolerance and must take larger and larger doses to achieve any positive effects. They also experience negative side effects including emotional symptoms. Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health notes that the mental health effects of continual cocaine use include anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia, delusions, nervousness and agitation.

How Cocaine Causes Depression

Cocaine use can lead to depression and anhedonia, or an inability to feel pleasure from normal activities. A 2003 article published in the American Journal of Psychiatry reported that researchers who examined the brains of cocaine users found that they had lower levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine and an associated protein than non-users. When cocaine users suffering from depression were compared to other users, even lower levels were found. Because dopamine is involved with feelings of reward and pleasure, low levels caused by chronic cocaine use are thought to provoke depressed moods.

Cocaine and Anxiety

A 2007 study in the journal Biological Psychiatry identified certain receptors involved in cocaine use and anxiety. A 2002 report published in Behavioral Pharmacology noted that both cocaine consumption and withdrawal increase anxiety, and they tested a number of medications for effectiveness in treating anxiety of both types.

Indirect Emotional Effects of Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine can affect emotional health indirectly. Because cocaine is illegal, users can feel anxiety about the possibility of getting caught and about associated legal ramifications. The challenges associated with procuring the drug can also cause anxiety, as people worry about their supply drying up.

Cocaine use can easily become cocaine addiction. When people are addicted, the drug becomes more important than almost anything else, and as a result relationships suffer. Broken relationships can contribute to feelings of depression. Users’ emotional health can be affected by the financial strain of a cocaine habit and by the unstable living situation that cocaine creates.

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You can leave cocaine use and anxiety behind. Our toll-free helpline is available 24 hours a day, and our counselors are always ready to answer your questions and help you understand your options. Take back your life and your emotional health. Call today.

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