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People struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) often struggle with a mental health disorder, too. These are referred to as co-occurring disorders, and though they can make the healing journey more complex, recovery is possible. Similarly, untreated mental illness can lead to SUD. That includes a cocaine addiction. Thankfully, seeking treatment can help individuals recover and heal the underlying root of the problem.

West Coast Recovery Centers can help treat your cocaine addiction and teach coping skills to manage your co-occurring disorders. Individual and group therapy and a number of other clinical interventions can allow you to get to the root cause of your SUD. That makes living a life of long-term recovery possible. Continue reading to learn more about how untreated mental health disorders can lead to a cocaine addiction and how West Coast Recovery Centers can help you recover. 

What Does a Cocaine Addiction Look Like?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describes cocaine as a “powerfully addictive stimulant drug,” which is made from the leaves of the coca plant. Recreational cocaine use has become increasingly popular over the years, and nowadays, people mix it with many other substances. That includes other dangerous drugs like fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, which the NIDA claims have contributed to increasing overdose deaths.  

Cocaine is addictive because of the way it stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain. This causes the release of dopamine, causing people to experience an intense sense of euphoria. The more someone uses it, the more tolerance increases. That means people must use more to get the same effect. People begin craving more, become dependent, and struggle to break the habit, especially without professional treatment services. 

How Does Cocaine Affect People?

As mentioned, cocaine stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain and releases dopamine. However, many other short and long-term effects of cocaine addiction may cause additional adverse results. Some short-term health effects include: 

  • Increased blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate 
  • Constricted blood vessels 
  • Restlessness, tremors, and muscle spasms 
  • Problems sleeping, such as insomnia and other sleep disorders 
  • Increased risk of heart attack, stroke, respiratory failure, or sudden death 

Some of the long-term effects to consider are: 

  • Permanent heart or brain damage 
  • The development of chronic physical conditions 
  • Damage to vital organs throughout the body 
  • Disorientation and hallucinations 
  • Adverse consequences depending on usage — snorting, smoking, injection, or oral consumption 

Unfortunately, preventing these effects is only possible if you first recognize the warning signs of cocaine addiction. 

What Are the Warning Signs of a Cocaine Addiction?

The first step toward treating any addiction is being able to acknowledge the problem and seek the appropriate services. Unfortunately, many individuals with SUD are unable to recognize the warning signs within. Often, friends, family, and loved ones must recognize the signs and encourage them to seek treatment, sometimes through an intervention. But you can begin recognizing the signs of a cocaine addiction within yourself and become open-minded to the possibility of treatment. 

Some of these warning signs include: 

  • The inability to stop or reduce cocaine use 
  • Experiencing withdrawals when trying to stop using cocaine
  • Reckless and risky behavior 
  • Reduced cognitive function 
  • Poor decision-making 
  • Weight loss and malnutrition 
  • Experiencing psychosis, paranoia, or mood swings 
  • Continued use despite problems in your personal or professional life 
  • Neglecting responsibilities to engage in substance use 
  • Need for a higher dose to experience the same effect 

Upon recognizing the signs, you can seek the necessary treatment to recover. But why might your mental health play a part in your development of SUD? 

How Might a Mental Health Disorder Lead to a Cocaine Addiction?

In general, research indicates that co-occurring disorders can contribute to the development of SUD. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) indicates that individuals with a mental health disorder “may use drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication.” 

Especially when individuals have untreated trauma and were never taught coping skills to handle emotional distress, the development of SUD can become a greater risk. For example, individuals with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may not know how to manage their condition, especially if undiagnosed. Instead of seeking professional help, they use substances to numb the pain. But the effects are only temporary. Eventually, they struggle to manage their symptoms again, perpetuating the addiction cycle.  

While discussing mental health used to be much more taboo, nowadays, people are coming forward to discuss it openly in the hopes that others will seek necessary help. However, many stigmas and stereotypes surrounding mental health disorders and addiction still exist. So, while mental health disorders can lead to cocaine addiction, individuals may not seek treatment for either out of fear of these stereotypes. Spreading awareness about the importance of treating mental health disorders is invaluable to preventing individuals from developing SUD — like cocaine addiction — and learning to manage their condition regularly. 

If you are struggling with your mental health and cocaine addiction, call West Coast Recovery Centers. Our programs and clinical approaches can effectively help you treat these struggles and help you embark on a new journey toward recovery today. 

Millions struggle with their mental health day-to-day, but not everyone realizes how untreated mental health can lead to the development of substance use disorder (SUD). Untreated mental health disorders can lead to a cocaine addiction if someone does not know how to cope healthily. Many turn to substance use as a way to self-medicate. However, cocaine is an addictive stimulant that the body craves more over time. Unfortunately, this can ultimately cause a person’s mental health to worsen and cause a number of physical conditions to develop as well. Treatment for both substance use and mental health disorders becomes necessary. Luckily, West Coast Recovery Centers can help. Call (760) 492-6509 to learn how today.