We all do our best to educate our friends and family about the threat of drugs. Yet sometimes, choices are made, and mistakes happen. When they do, all we can do is try our best to support our loved ones on their path to recovery. All the same, as an onlooker, it’s often frustrating and emotionally exhausting trying to understand what’s going on in an individual’s head and why they fell to the allure of hard drugs. It’s especially confusing when you factor the impacts of mental health on cocaine addiction into the picture.
Correlations Between Mental Health and Drug Abuse
While abusing a substance does not equate to mental illness and vice versa, the two are closely connected. Struggling with mental illness has several emotional and behavioral side effects that make resisting temptations more difficult, especially when drugs often seem to provide a temporary release from the endless drain of depression, anxiety, and similar struggles.
Furthermore, the matter is only further complicated by the fact that cocaine was originally used as a common treatment for these and many other physical and mental ailments. While cocaine’s addictive nature is better understood today, it’s of little surprise that mental illness could result in cocaine abuse or that using cocaine often has mental and emotional repercussions.
How Mental Health Impacts Impulsiveness
The impacts of mental health on cocaine addiction become very clear when we observe the tendency of people to willingly suffer without treatment. While mental illness is a broad umbrella term for many issues, certain traits are often observed across the spectrum. Namely, mental illness often attacks a person’s ability to reason at the same level as when they’re otherwise at their best. Problems may feel meaningless and decisions inconsequential.
Typically, this is a side effect of a lowered sense of self-worth or an abstraction of personal identity through the distorted filter of mental illness. Most of all, suffering from severe illnesses such as depression and anxiety dramatically lowers a person’s resilience against surprise events and spontaneity. In normal situations, someone might always say no to a drug being offered. While in a heavily depressed state, however, the reasons not to say yes aren’t always so clear.
How Cocaine Use Impacts Mental Health
Using cocaine isn’t without its own psychological impacts, either. While addiction is typically associated with physical ramifications such as heart and lung disease, it also has extreme temperamental side effects. While using cocaine, individuals commonly experience difficult mood swings that are deeply uncharacteristic of their sober selves. Irritability and paranoia are two of the most common emotional side effects.
Besides this, excessive use chemically alters the brain’s tolerance against dopamine, literally sapping a person’s ability to be happy about anything other than the drug. In short, intermittent abuse both contributes to and potentially stems from underlying mental illness. To solve either problem, you must address the issue with care on an individual basis.