Feb 23rd 2023
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can lead to or worsen many mental health disorders if you use it frequently. Commonly co-occurring disorders with cocaine addiction include depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, and schizophrenia. Treatment of co-occurring disorders with cocaine addiction will depend on your individual needs, but can include therapies and medication.
Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant that has many short and long term effects on your brain.
Over time cocaine use will cause changes in the way your brain works. Neurons in your brain adapt to your use of the drug which makes you more dependent on it to function. Additionally, it can change the way your stress receptors work, meaning you are more likely to seek cocaine when stressed or anxious. 
People with pre-existing disorders may have their symptoms worsened by using cocaine and the effects that it has on their brain. 
A co-occuring disorder or dual diagnosis, is when a person suffering from addiction or a substance use disorder also has a mental health condition, or vise versa. Common examples include having bipolar disorder and an alcohol use disorder. It is often the case that people with a mental health disorder will abuse substances to feel normal, and people with addictions will often develop a mental disorder as a result.
Having a co-occuring mental health disorder along with a cocaine use-disorder can make it difficult to provide effective treatment, as comorbid disorders require tailored treatment plans.
Research has shown that people with a substance use disorder are more likely to have major depressive disorder than those who don’t.  Whilst it may seem to relieve symptoms of depression, it does more damage over time.
The symptoms of depression can make you more likely to look to use cocaine. Changes in the way the brain works in people with depression can make you more susceptible to addiction.
Alternatively the symptoms of cocaine use disorder can lead to the development of depression. Withdrawal symptoms, relationship problems, and other problems caused by the addiction can lead to low mood and depression if left untreated.
Cocaine is sometimes used by people with anxiety disorders (including generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic disorder) due to the temporary increase in self-esteem. Under the effects of cocaine people with anxiety disorders may experience fewer symptoms for a short period of time.
However cocaine use over time can also lead to anxiety and make anxiety symptoms worse. Anxiety is a very common withdrawal symptom if you take cocaine for an extended period of time. The changes in your brain caused by cocaine commonly leads to stress and anxiety if you do not continue to take it. 
People with ADHD have been found to be up to 23% more likely to develop a substance-use disorder than those without . This risk increases when ADHD symptoms have not been diagnosed in childhood. Effective and early treatment for ADHD in childhood may prevent addictive behaviours from developing through medication and interventions .
The co-occurrence of ADHD and cocaine abuse disorder is often made worse by other disorders strongly associated with ADHD. People with ADHD are at a higher risk of developing depressive and anxiety disorders which can make addiction and substance abuse more likely to deal with these symptoms .
Up to 42% of those living with schizophrenia are thought to have a substance abuse disorder.
Cocaine use does not cause schizophrenia, instead people with schizophrenia are thought to be more likely to develop a substance use disorder. They think it may help to alleviate some of their symptoms and can give them a sense of belonging with others that do it, something people with schizophrenia do not usually get to experience. 
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