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Last Update on June 25, 2024

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Cocaine and panic attacks are two serious issues that can have a profound impact on an individual’s mental and physical well-being. It’s essential to understand the connection between cocaine use and the occurrence of panic attacks; this can help people make informed decisions about their health and seek appropriate support when needed.

Cocaine's Effects on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and Anxiety

Cocaine is a stimulant that strongly affects the central nervous system (CNS). By increasing the levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, it raises energy levels and increases feelings of anxiety1. Here’s how it impacts the body:

  • Elevated Heart Rate and Blood Pressure: Cocaine can cause a rapid heartbeat and higher blood pressure, mimicking panic attack symptoms 1. This heightened physiological response can be frightening and contribute to the development of anxiety and panic disorders.
  • Hyperactivity and Restlessness: Cocaine stimulates intense energy, making people overly alert and uneasy. This hyperactivity can make it difficult for individuals to relax or feel calm, further exacerbating anxiety symptoms and the occurrence of panic attacks.
  • Heightened Anxiety: This excess stimulation often brings on a rush of anxious thoughts, which can increase the chances of having a panic attack. The combination of physical and mental arousal can be overwhelming, leading to intense feelings of fear and discomfort.


These effects can be particularly overwhelming for people already struggling with anxiety, emphasizing the importance of understanding the relationship between cocaine use and panic attacks.1 Recognizing the impact of cocaine on the CNS is an essential step in addressing the link between substance abuse and panic disorders.

The Impact of Cocaine Use on Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks: Cocaine’s stimulant properties can trigger panic attacks shortly after use, as the drug’s effects on the central nervous system can mimic the symptoms of a panic attack, such as rapid heartbeat and increased blood pressure.
Heightened Defensiveness: Intravenous cocaine use, in particular, can cause an immediate fight-or-flight response and increased defensiveness, which may contribute to the occurrence of panic attacks.2

Immediate and Long-Term Treatments

Panic attacks caused by cocaine use can be intense and frightening, requiring both immediate intervention and long-term treatment strategies. Addressing the symptoms of a panic attack is important for helping individuals find relief and stability. At the same time, comprehensive treatment plans are essential for tackling the underlying substance abuse issue and preventing future occurrences of panic attacks. Short-term and long-term treatments:

  • Reassurance: Providing a calm, supportive environment and offering comforting words can help reduce the intensity of a panic attack. Reassuring the individual that they are safe and the symptoms will pass can be incredibly helpful.
  • Low-Dose Desipramine: Studies have shown that administering low doses of desipramine, an antidepressant, can effectively resolve panic attacks related to cocaine use 4. This medication can help alleviate the acute symptoms of a panic attack and provide short-term relief.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a highly effective treatment approach for both substance abuse and anxiety disorders. By helping individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors, CBT can reduce the frequency and severity of panic attacks and promote long-term recovery from cocaine addiction.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): MAT involves the use of medications, such as buprenorphine or methadone, in combination with behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders. These medications can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for individuals to focus on their recovery and manage their anxiety.
  • Support Groups: Participating in support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Cocaine Anonymous (CA), can provide individuals with a sense of community and encouragement as they navigate the challenges of recovery. Sharing experiences and coping strategies with others who have faced similar struggles can be incredibly empowering and help reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety.

Developing a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses both the immediate symptoms of panic attacks and the underlying substance abuse issue is essential for long-term success. By combining short-term measures with evidence-based, long-term treatment strategies, individuals struggling with cocaine-induced panic attacks can find the support and resources they need to achieve lasting recovery and improved mental health.

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How Cocaine Causes Panic Attacks

Cocaine is known for its potent stimulant effects, which can quickly overwhelm the body’s systems and lead to panic attack symptoms. The drug’s impact on the central nervous system and its ability to heighten anxiety levels play a significant role in the occurrence of panic attacks among cocaine users. The physiological effects of cocaine can look like this:

  • Rapid Heart Rate and High Blood Pressure: Cocaine use can cause a sudden increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which can either resemble or directly trigger the physical symptoms of a panic attack 1. This intense physiological response can be frightening and contribute to the onset of panic attacks.
  • Hyperactivity and Restlessness: The stimulant properties of cocaine can lead to hyperactivity and restlessness, making it difficult for users to feel calm or relaxed. This heightened state of arousal can exacerbate anxiety symptoms and increase the likelihood of experiencing a panic attack.
  • Increased Overall Anxiety Levels: Cocaine use can significantly elevate overall anxiety levels, creating a sense of unease and apprehension that can persist even after the initial effects of the drug have worn off. This heightened state of anxiety raises the likelihood of panic attacks occurring 4.
  • Psychological Distress: The psychological impact of cocaine use, including feelings of paranoia, irritability, and emotional instability, can contribute to the development of panic attacks. The combined effects of the drug’s physiological and psychological consequences can create a perfect storm for the onset of panic attacks.

Understanding these direct and indirect ways that cocaine triggers panic attacks is truly important for recognizing the risks associated with its use and for providing proper support to those affected. By acknowledging the link between cocaine use and the occurrence of panic attacks, healthcare professionals and support networks can better address the needs of individuals struggling with substance abuse and anxiety disorders.

Quick Tip

Does cocaine cause anxiety?

Yes, cocaine use can significantly increase anxiety levels due to its impact on neurotransmitters, leading to heightened nervousness and potential panic attacks.

Panic Disorder and Its Connection to Cocaine Use

Panic disorder is a mental health condition characterized by frequent, unexpected panic attacks that can significantly impact an individual’s daily life. These panic attacks are often accompanied by intense physical and psychological symptoms that can be highly distressing and debilitating. Common symptoms of panic attacks can look like:

  • Palpitations: Individuals may experience a rapid or irregular heartbeat during a panic attack, which can be frightening and contribute to a sense of losing control.
  • Sweating: Excessive perspiration, even without physical exertion, is a common symptom of panic attacks. This can lead to feelings of discomfort and self-consciousness.
  • Trembling: Shaking or trembling, particularly in the hands, is another physical manifestation of panic attacks. This symptom can make it difficult for individuals to perform everyday tasks and may heighten feelings of anxiety.
  • Feelings of Impending Doom: Panic attacks are often accompanied by an overwhelming sense that something terrible is about to happen. This intense fear can be paralyzing and may cause individuals to avoid situations or places that they associate with panic attacks.

Cocaine use can significantly worsen existing panic disorders or even contribute to their development by increasing activity in the central nervous system 5. The drug’s stimulant properties can intensify the physical and psychological symptoms of panic attacks, making them more frequent and severe. The relationship between cocaine use and panic disorders highlights the importance of addressing substance abuse issues when treating anxiety disorders. Identifying the role that cocaine plays in the occurrence of panic attacks and the development of panic disorders is important for providing effective treatment and support. By understanding this connection, healthcare professionals can develop comprehensive treatment plans that address both the substance abuse problem and the underlying anxiety disorder, ultimately promoting long-term recovery and improved mental health outcomes for those affected.

Cocaine’s stimulant effects on the central nervous system can trigger panic attacks by causing rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and intense anxiety.
Cocaine withdrawals can be severe, causing intense anxiety, depression, and even panic attacks as the body adjusts to the absence of the drug.
Chronic cocaine abuse can rewire the brain, leading to lasting anxiety and panic disorders that may persist even after quitting the drug.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse refers to the harmful or excessive use of psychoactive substances, such as cocaine, which can have severe consequences for an individual’s mental and physical health. When substance abuse intersects with anxiety disorders, the effects can be particularly devastating, leading to an increased occurrence of panic attacks and a more challenging recovery process. Harmful use of cocaine and the dangers of polydrug use look like:

  • Health Issues: The use of cocaine becomes problematic when it leads to significant health problems, such as cardiovascular issues, respiratory problems, and neurological disorders. These health concerns can exacerbate the physical symptoms of panic attacks and contribute to a heightened sense of anxiety.
  • Relationship Problems: Substance abuse can strain personal relationships, causing conflicts with family members, friends, and romantic partners. The stress and emotional turmoil resulting from these relationship issues can trigger panic attacks and make it more difficult for individuals to cope with their anxiety.
  • Interference with Daily Life: When cocaine use begins to interfere with an individual’s ability to fulfill their responsibilities at work, school, or home, it can create a sense of instability and uncertainty. This disruption to daily life can increase stress levels and make individuals more susceptible to experiencing panic attacks.
  • Increased Risk of Panic Attacks: Combining cocaine with other substances, known as polydrug use, can significantly increase the risk of panic attacks. The unpredictable interactions between different drugs can lead to intense physiological and psychological symptoms that can quickly escalate into a full-blown panic attack 6.
  • Heightened Anxiety Levels: Polydrug use can also contribute to overall heightened anxiety levels, creating a persistent sense of unease and apprehension. This chronic state of anxiety can make individuals more vulnerable to experiencing panic attacks, even in situations that may not have previously triggered such a response.

Addressing substance abuse and understanding the potential dangers of cocaine use is truly important for preventing panic attacks and promoting better mental health outcomes. By recognizing the harmful consequences of cocaine abuse and the risks associated with polydrug use, individuals can take essential steps toward seeking help and developing effective coping strategies for managing their anxiety.

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Cocaine Abuse

Chronic cocaine use can quickly lead to dependency, with significant impacts on an individual’s mental health and overall well-being. As cocaine abuse progresses, the potential for developing anxiety disorders and experiencing panic attacks increases, highlighting the importance of early intervention and comprehensive treatment. This is what dependency, withdrawal, panic attacks, and anxiety disorders characterize as:

  • Physical and Psychological Dependency: Regular cocaine use often leads to both physical and psychological dependency, as the body and mind become accustomed to the presence of the drug. This dependency can make it extremely difficult for individuals to quit using cocaine, even when faced with negative consequences.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: When an individual attempts to stop using cocaine after a period of consistent use, they may experience a range of withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, fatigue, depression, and intense cravings. These symptoms can be highly distressing and may contribute to the occurrence of panic attacks during the withdrawal process.
  • Increased Occurrence of Panic Attacks: Consistent cocaine use is strongly associated with the occurrence of panic attacks due to its stimulant effects on the central nervous system 1. The drug’s ability to cause rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and hyperactivity can trigger panic attacks or worsen pre-existing anxiety symptoms.
  • Development of Anxiety and Panic Disorders: Cocaine abuse is a significant risk factor for the development of anxiety and panic disorders, as it can lead to long-term changes in brain chemistry and function 4. Chronic cocaine use may heighten overall anxiety levels, making individuals more susceptible to experiencing panic attacks and developing full-blown anxiety disorders.

Recognizing the risks associated with cocaine abuse is really important for understanding the direct link between substance use and mental health complications, such as panic attacks and anxiety disorders. By acknowledging the potential for dependency, withdrawal symptoms, and the increased occurrence of panic attacks, individuals can take proactive steps toward seeking help and addressing their substance abuse issues. Healthcare professionals and support networks must be aware of the strong connection between cocaine abuse and the development of anxiety and panic disorders. By providing comprehensive, evidence-based treatment that addresses both the substance abuse problem and the underlying mental health concerns, we can help individuals achieve lasting recovery and improved quality of life.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders encompass a range of mental health conditions that cause excessive worry, fear, and apprehension. These disorders can significantly impact an individual’s daily life, making engaging in social situations, work, or other activities difficult. When combined with cocaine use, the risk of developing or exacerbating anxiety disorders increases substantially. Common types of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): GAD is characterized by persistent and uncontrollable worry about various aspects of life, such as work, relationships, or health. Individuals with GAD may experience restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and sleep disturbances.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: Also known as social phobia, this disorder involves intense fear or avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, or fear of being judged negatively by others. People with social anxiety disorder may have difficulty engaging in conversations, public speaking, or attending social events.
  • Panic Disorder: Panic disorder is characterized by unexpected, recurrent panic attacks that can be highly debilitating. These attacks often involve intense physical symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, and trembling, as well as psychological symptoms, such as feelings of impending doom or loss of control.

Regular cocaine use can lead to stimulant-induced anxiety, significantly increasing the risk of developing chronic anxiety issues, such as GAD and panic disorder. The drug’s impact on neurotransmitter levels, particularly dopamine and norepinephrine, can significantly elevate anxiety levels in individuals who use cocaine frequently 7. The use of cocaine can exacerbate pre-existing anxiety disorders, making symptoms more severe and difficult to manage. The unpredictable nature of panic attacks and the heightened anxiety levels associated with cocaine use can create a vicious cycle, where individuals may turn to the drug to cope with their anxiety, only to find that it worsens their condition in the long run. Understanding the link between cocaine use and anxiety disorders is essential for preventing the development of long-term mental health issues among users. 

Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a chronic condition characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the presence of negative consequences. When an individual becomes addicted to cocaine, they may find it extremely difficult to stop using the drug, even when faced with severe health problems, strained relationships, or difficulties in daily life. Here is a look at the compulsive use of cocaine and the link between cocaine addiction and panic attacks:

  • Continued Use Despite Consequences: Addiction drives people to continue using cocaine, even when they are aware of the harmful effects on their physical and mental health, relationships, and overall well-being. This compulsive use can be fueled by the drug’s powerful effects on the brain’s reward system, making it increasingly difficult to resist the urge to use.
  • Prioritizing Drug Use: As addiction progresses, individuals may begin to prioritize cocaine use over other essential aspects of their lives, such as work, family, or personal responsibilities. This shift in priorities can lead to various negative consequences, including job loss, financial instability, and damaged relationships.
  • Increased Arousal and Anxiety: Cocaine addiction can significantly increase the occurrence of panic attacks due to the drug’s stimulant effects on the central nervous system. The heightened arousal and anxiety associated with chronic cocaine use can make individuals more susceptible to experiencing panic attacks, even in situations that may not have previously triggered such a response.8
  • Withdrawal Symptoms and Panic Attacks: When an individual addicted to cocaine attempts to stop using the drug, they may experience intense withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, irritability, and depression. These withdrawal symptoms can be highly distressing and may contribute to the occurrence of panic attacks during the detoxification process.

Addressing cocaine addiction is important because the ongoing cycle of use and withdrawal can have severe consequences for an individual’s mental and physical health. The increased risk of experiencing panic attacks and the development of anxiety disorders underscores the importance of seeking effective treatment and support for those struggling with cocaine addiction. The comprehensive addiction treatment programs that combine medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapies, and support groups can help individuals overcome their cocaine addiction and develop effective coping strategies for managing anxiety and preventing panic attacks. By prioritizing addiction treatment and addressing the underlying mental health concerns, individuals can work towards achieving lasting recovery and improved quality of life.

Key Takeaways

Treatment Options

When an individual is struggling with cocaine-induced panic attacks and related disorders, seeking appropriate treatment is essential for achieving lasting recovery and improving overall mental health. Several effective treatment options are available, each designed to address the individual’s unique needs and provide the necessary support for long-term success. Here are therapy options as well as rehab programs:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a highly effective form of therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with their substance use and anxiety. By developing new coping strategies and challenging irrational beliefs, individuals can learn to manage their triggers and reduce the occurrence of panic attacks.
  • Other Forms of Counseling: In addition to CBT, different forms of counseling, such as motivational interviewing and contingency management, can be beneficial in addressing cocaine addiction and related anxiety disorders. These therapies focus on enhancing motivation for change, promoting positive behaviors, and building a solid therapeutic alliance between the individual and their healthcare provider.
  • Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment: Rehabilitation programs, both inpatient and outpatient, offer comprehensive treatment for individuals struggling with cocaine addiction and related panic disorders. These programs typically combine medical supervision, therapy, and skill-building activities to address the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction and mental health.
  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment: For individuals with a dual diagnosis, meaning they are dealing with both addiction and an anxiety disorder, specialized treatment programs are available. These programs are designed to address the complex interplay between substance abuse and mental health, ensuring that all aspects of an individual’s well-being are considered in the treatment plan9.

A personalized approach to treatment is truly important, as each individual’s experience with cocaine use, panic attacks, and related disorders is unique. By working closely with healthcare professionals and addiction specialists, individuals can develop a tailored treatment plan that addresses their specific needs and goals, ultimately leading to better recovery outcomes and improved quality of life.

Stimulant Drugs

Stimulant drugs, including cocaine, are known for their ability to elevate brain activity and stimulate the central nervous system (CNS). These substances can produce various effects, from increased energy and alertness to euphoria and heightened sensory experiences. However, the exact mechanisms that lead to these desired effects can also contribute to the occurrence of panic attacks and other anxiety-related symptoms. With cocaine use, the brain has increased activity and risk of panic attacks:

  • Rapid Increase in Neurotransmitters: Stimulant drugs like cocaine cause a rapid increase in the levels of neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine, in the brain. This sudden surge in neurotransmitter activity leads to heightened alertness, energy, and focus, which can initially be perceived as positive effects by the user.
  • Overstimulation of the CNS: While the initial effects of stimulants may be pleasurable, the rapid increase in brain activity can quickly become overwhelming. The overstimulation of the central nervous system can lead to feelings of restlessness, agitation, and anxiety, setting the stage for the occurrence of panic attacks.
  • Overwhelming Anxiety: The sudden boost in brain activity caused by stimulant drugs can overwhelm the CNS, leading to intense feelings of anxiety and fear. This heightened state of arousal can be particularly problematic for individuals who are already prone to anxiety or have a history of panic attacks 1.
  • Physical and Psychological Symptoms: During a stimulant-induced panic attack, individuals may experience a range of physical and psychological symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, and feelings of impending doom. These symptoms can be highly distressing and may further contribute to the sense of panic and loss of control.

Understanding the stimulating effects of cocaine and similar drugs is important for recognizing how they can lead to overwhelming anxiety and panic. By educating individuals about the potential risks associated with stimulant use, including the increased likelihood of experiencing panic attacks, we can help prevent the development of substance abuse disorders and promote better mental health outcomes. Healthcare professionals and addiction specialists must be aware of the link between stimulant use and panic attacks to provide appropriate screening, assessment, and treatment for individuals who may be struggling with these issues. By addressing both the substance abuse problem and the underlying anxiety symptoms, we can help individuals achieve lasting recovery and improve their overall quality of life.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Cocaine withdrawal can be a challenging and distressing experience, often involving intense psychological symptoms that can greatly impact an individual’s mental health and well-being. As the body and mind adjust to the absence of the stimulant, individuals may face a range of withdrawal effects that can contribute to the occurrence of panic attacks and heightened anxiety levels. Withdrawal symptoms of cocaine can look like:

  • Sudden Drop in Dopamine Levels: Abruptly stopping cocaine use can cause a significant decrease in dopamine levels, leading to extreme anxiety and emotional distress. This sudden shift in neurotransmitter activity can be overwhelming and may intensify pre-existing anxiety symptoms or contribute to the development of new anxiety disorders.
  • Psychological Distress: During cocaine withdrawal, individuals may experience a range of psychological symptoms, such as irritability, depression, and mood swings. These symptoms can further exacerbate anxiety levels and make it more difficult for individuals to cope with the challenges of the withdrawal process.
  • Struggling to Adjust: As the body and mind struggle to adjust to the absence of the stimulant, individuals may be more susceptible to experiencing panic attacks 3. The intense physical and psychological symptoms associated with withdrawal, combined with heightened anxiety levels, can create a perfect storm for the occurrence of panic attacks.
  • Increased Sensitivity to Stress: During the withdrawal process, individuals may find that they are more sensitive to stress and other triggers that can precipitate panic attacks. This increased sensitivity can make it more difficult for individuals to navigate daily life and may require additional support and coping strategies to manage their symptoms effectively.

Medical supervision and therapy are truly important during the cocaine withdrawal process. A comprehensive and supportive treatment plan can help individuals manage their anxiety and panic attacks while providing guidance and resources throughout the withdrawal process. By combining medical supervision, therapy, and a supportive treatment plan, individuals can successfully navigate the challenges of cocaine withdrawal and work towards achieving lasting recovery. Addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of withdrawal is essential for promoting better mental health outcomes and reducing the risk of relapse.

Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis, also known as co-occurring disorders, refers to the presence of both a substance use disorder, such as cocaine addiction, and a mental health condition, like an anxiety disorder, in the same individual. When a person struggles with both cocaine use and an anxiety disorder, the complex interplay between these conditions can significantly impact their overall well-being and make the path to recovery more challenging.

  • Cocaine Use and Anxiety Disorders: Individuals with a dual diagnosis may struggle with both cocaine use and an anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or panic disorder. The stimulant effects of cocaine can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. In contrast, the presence of an anxiety disorder can make it more difficult for individuals to resist the urge to use cocaine as a coping mechanism.
  • Bidirectional Relationship: The relationship between cocaine use and anxiety disorders is often bidirectional, meaning that each condition can influence and worsen the other. For example, the anxiety and panic attacks associated with cocaine use may lead individuals to use more of the substance to alleviate their symptoms, ultimately leading to a vicious cycle of addiction and mental health problems.
  • Comprehensive Treatment Plan: Managing co-occurring cocaine use and anxiety disorders requires a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the root causes and interactions between the two issues 9. An integrated approach to treatment involves treating both conditions simultaneously rather than addressing them separately or sequentially.
  • Addressing Underlying Issues: Integrated treatment plans often incorporate a combination of evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT), to address the underlying issues that contribute to both cocaine use and anxiety disorders. By targeting the root causes of these conditions, individuals can develop healthier coping strategies and work towards sustainable recovery.
  • Collaboration Among Healthcare Professionals: Effective integrated treatment requires close collaboration among healthcare professionals, including addiction specialists, mental health providers, and primary care physicians. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that all aspects of an individual’s health and well-being are considered in the treatment plan, leading to better outcomes and a reduced risk of relapse.

Integrated treatment is essential for individuals with a dual diagnosis of cocaine use and an anxiety disorder. By addressing both conditions simultaneously and providing a comprehensive treatment plan, individuals can work towards achieving long-term recovery and improved mental health. By promoting a greater understanding of the relationship between substance use disorders and mental health conditions, we can create a more supportive and effective treatment landscape for those struggling with these complex issues.

How Cornerstone Healing Can help

Understanding the complex relationship between cocaine use and panic attacks is crucial for providing practical support and treatment to individuals struggling with these challenges. By recognizing the physiological and psychological impact of cocaine on the body and mind, we can better appreciate the risks associated with substance abuse and the development of anxiety disorders.
Seeking professional help is essential for individuals dealing with cocaine-induced panic attacks or co-occurring substance use and anxiety disorders.

At Cornerstone Healing Center, we offer comprehensive, evidence-based treatment programs that address the unique needs of each individual. Our experienced team of healthcare professionals, including addiction specialists and mental health providers, work collaboratively to develop personalized treatment plans that encompass therapy, counseling, and medication-assisted treatment when appropriate. We understand that the path to recovery can be challenging, but with the proper support and resources, it is possible to overcome cocaine addiction and manage panic attacks effectively. Our goal is to empower individuals to develop the skills and strategies necessary for maintaining long-term recovery and improving their overall quality of life. If you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine use and panic attacks, know that you are not alone. Reach out to Cornerstone Healing Center today to learn more about our services and take the first step towards a healthier, more fulfilling future.

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Author & Reviewers

bliss lavelle addiction, mental health, and recovery writer
RECOVERY WRITER & ADVOCATE

Bliss Lavelle, an aspiring writer, draws inspiration from her mother’s journey with addiction, mental health, and recovery to support and educate others, especially young adults, about the dangers of substance abuse, the importance of mental health awareness, and getting help through evidence-based treatment. 

CLINICAL DIRECTOR & REVIEWER

Lionel is the Clinical Director of Cornerstone’s Scottsdale treatment facilities. He has had over 4 years at Cornerstone. He is personally in recovery and passionate about helping others overcome substance abuse and mental health challenges; he is trained as an EMDR, adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues.

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