- Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms & Timeline
- Article at a Glance:
- Withdrawal Timeline & Factors
- Remedies for Withdrawal Symptoms
- Our Detox Process
- What is Cocaine?
- Can You Quit Cocaine Cold Turkey?
- Cocaine Withdrawal Signs And Symptoms
- Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
- Developing Tolerance To Cocaine
- How Cocaine Withdrawal Affects The Brain
- Risks Of Cocaine Abuse
- Physical Effects Of Cocaine Addiction
- Effects Of Cocaine Abuse In Pregnant Women
- Treatment For Withdrawal and Addiction
- What Cocaine Withdrawal Feels
- How Cocaine Affects You And For How Long
- Cocaine Offers A False Reward
- Going Through Cocaine Withdrawal
- Cocaine “Crash”
- Cocaine Withdrawal
- The End Of Withdrawal
- Vertava Will Focus Your Strength To Recover
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment
- Physical Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
- Psychological Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
- What is Cocaine Withdrawal ?
- Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline
- Cocaine Withdrawal Tips
- How to Quit Cocaine
- Detoxing from Cocaine: What Is Withdrawal ?
- Why Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms Happen
- Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
- Is Medical Supervision Necessary for Cocaine Detox?
- What Is Medically Supervised Detox ?
- Can Medicine Help with Cocaine Withdrawal?
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms & Timeline
Stopping cocaine can cause withdrawal symptoms fatigue, sleep disturbances and agitation. Cocaine withdrawal is one of the primary reasons people have trouble quitting the drug. People often report that cravings to use cocaine are strong during the detox process. Cravings can quickly hijack the recovery process, resulting in a relapse.
Many people who use cocaine are unable to stop when trying to do it alone. The side effects and cravings caused by withdrawal are more uncomfortable than many people realize. With physician-assisted detox and close supervision, patients can safely flush the drugs from their system and prepare their body and mind for the recovery process.
Article at a Glance:
- The symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are most intense right after the last usage of the drug.
- Cocaine withdrawal symptoms usually last a few days but may extend for multiple weeks for heavy users.
- A person’s level of use, quality of cocaine used, other substance abuse and overall health will affect withdrawal symptoms.
- The body needs time to readjust to life without cocaine and adopting healthy lifestyle habits can help.
- The recovery process from cocaine addition involves medical detox, treatment and aftercare.
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are most intense immediately after the last usage of the drug.
After chronic use or a heavy binge, symptoms may start as soon as a few hours after the last dose.
Withdrawal symptoms will start after the initial symptoms of the crash. Withdrawal symptoms include both physical and psychological side effects.
Related: Cocaine side effects
Cocaine withdrawal typically lasts only a few days, but people who have used cocaine heavily may have symptoms for many weeks. Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:
Withdrawal Timeline & Factors
Different factors affect the timeline and severity of withdrawal symptoms. In general, most people follow a similar progression of events.
- Week 1:During this time, a person experiences mood symptoms, cravings, irritability, trouble sleeping, and intense cravings. Relapse is common during this phase because of the intensity of symptoms.
- Weeks 1-10:Symptoms intensity dampens at this time, but cravings continue. A person may still have trouble with concentration and mood.
- Week 10+:Symptoms dissipate completely after 10 weeks, but a person may experience intermittent cravings external cues.
Each person’s cocaine withdrawal symptoms will be different. Exactly what types of symptoms, and how severe they are, will depend on the environment (school, home, work and others), history of traumatic events, other substance use or duration of cocaine abuse, peer pressure, and physical and mental health.
The safest course of action for anyone working through the cocaine withdrawal process is to enlist the help of rehab specialists and participate in medical detox.
Remedies for Withdrawal Symptoms
The only guaranteed way to treat cocaine withdrawal is time. The body must readjust to normal levels of neurotransmitters and their matching receptors. The adjustment process is what causes the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, so it cannot be avoided.
To help weather withdrawal symptoms, a person should take steps to heal and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It may not sound glamorous, but the first steps of recovery are simply developing healthy habits.
Our Detox Process
The recovery process is broken down into a few steps: medical detox, treatment and aftercare. Not everyone needs medical detox, but it may be a critical step in the treatment of moderate to severe cases of cocaine addiction. Those who are still using cocaine when they enter treatment will usually start with medical detox.
Detox is when the body metabolizes cocaine and removes it from the body. Since cocaine metabolizes quickly, it leaves the body in approximately 8 hours, the half-life of the drug.
People often detox from cocaine at home because it does not take long. They can fully detox in a day or two, with some symptoms lingering for the next few weeks. In contrast, medical detox is a supervised version of detox where a medical team oversees the process. Medical detox includes support to ease a person through withdrawal symptoms as well as medical support.
Typically, detox happens in a hospital or inpatient rehab center. People with life-threatening problems will detox in a hospital, while those who are medically stable will do so in a rehab facility.
During medical detox, a person will experience some or many of the withdrawal symptoms for cocaine. Cocaine detox is not long but can be uncomfortable for some people.
Those in detox can expect medical, nutritional and addiction support. Treatment centers may take the opportunity to screen for and treat infectious diseases. Detox is also an opportunity for physicians to diagnose and treat chronic diseases, since it may be the first time someone with SUD is seeing a doctor in years.
In medical detox, diets are designed and administered by the treatment team. An individual will have more time to focus on their recovery and will be better equipped to maintain a healthy diet once they leave.
After medical detox is complete, patients will be screened for entry into substance use disorder treatment. Treatment plans may continue in an inpatient (in the facility) or outpatient (live at home and commute to the facility) manner. Those who are ready for continued care can be admitted into a program at this time.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant used by people around the world. People can become addicted quickly because of how it impacts brain cells (neurons).
Cocaine works by increasing dopamine, a chemical that passes messages between neurons. Dopamine typically helps to reinforce and signal when behavior is “good” or “helpful for survival.
” Prolonged use of cocaine will lead to dependence, which is a state where the body needs the drug to function normally.
If someone is dependent, they will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking cocaine.
Can You Quit Cocaine Cold Turkey?
Because of its short half-life, cocaine is one of the few drugs that someone can quit “cold turkey,” but doing it alone may not be the safest option.
The half-life of cocaine is about 1.5 hours, so the entire dose leaves the body in 7.5 hours. Therefore, there is no taper strategy for cocaine, whether by using the drug itself or a replacement substance. Cocaine is metabolized from the body too quickly for a taper to be necessary.
Therefore, the only way to detox from cocaine is “cold turkey.” A person has the option to do this by themselves or with the help of a drug rehab facility.
Cocaine causes intense cravings during withdrawal, and this is one of the main barriers to long-term recovery for many people. A person detoxing alone will usually have more difficulty managing these cravings.
Medical detox provides support for cravings and other symptoms of withdrawal. Since a person will undergo detox in a treatment facility, they will not have access to cocaine, which enables them to focus on healing.
If you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine abuse, The Recovery Village can help. While detox at home is possible, it is not usually the safest option. Medical detox helps to ensure the process is safe and healthy.
Inpatient and outpatient treatment programs can help provide tools and life skills necessary for long-term recovery.
Call The Recovery Village today to learn more about a continuum of care that can springboard a lifetime of healing.
- SourcesAustralian Government Department of Health. “The Cocaine Withdrawal Syndrome.” Australian Government Department of Health, April 2004. Accessed September 30, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their related outcomes.
We publish material that is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.
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Cocaine Withdrawal Signs And Symptoms
Cocaine withdrawal happens when someone who has chronically abused cocaine suddenly cuts down on, or stops using the drug. It is possible for withdrawal symptoms to occur even if someone has not completely stopped using cocaine and still has some of the drug left in their system.
Often, cocaine withdrawal has no visible physical symptoms, vomiting and shaking that accompany opioid or alcohol withdrawal. It is more common for cocaine withdrawal symptoms to be psychological and the opposite of the psychological effects of the drug.
Possible cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:
- agitation and restless behavior
- depressed mood
- general feelings of discomfort
- increased appetite
- vivid and unpleasant dreams
- slowing of activity
Cravings for the drug and certain psychological symptoms can last for months after stopping long-term, heavy use. Cocaine withdrawal may also result in suicidal thoughts in some individuals.
During the withdrawal process, individuals can experience powerful and intense cravings for cocaine.
Even if during their long-term abuse, when some individuals become sensitized (reverse tolerance) to cocaine, there can still be intense cravings for the drug.
Someone who abused cocaine intravenously (IV), or by injection, is more ly to experience psychiatric withdrawal symptoms compared to those who abuse it by snorting or smoking.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
Cocaine withdrawal can last for several days to a few weeks and, in some cases, for months after the last use. However, the general timeline for cocaine withdrawal lasts about a month. The initial month of cocaine withdrawal can consist of unpredictable and alternating states from low to high drug cravings, anxiety, paranoia and long periods of sleep.
The following are general symptoms that may or may not be experienced by someone going through the process of withdrawing from cocaine.
Symptoms felt 24-72 hours after the last dose may include:
- confusion, depression and disorientation
- intense cocaine cravings
- irritability, restlessness and remorse
Possible symptoms four to seven days after the last dose include: anxiety, apathy, depression, decreased cocaine cravings, dysphoria (general dissatisfaction with life,) irritability and paranoia.
Symptoms that may occur a week after the last dose include: agitation, further decreased cocaine cravings, increase in appetite and vivid and unpleasant dreams.
Two weeks after the last dose, possible withdrawal symptoms may include: anger, the return of cocaine cravings, further depression and vivid dreams.
Three to four weeks after the last dose, people may experience increased depression, mood swings, trouble falling and staying asleep, increased stress and anxiety.
It is also possible for those who have abused cocaine for a long-time to experience post acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS). These symptoms may occur three to six months after quitting cocaine and can include: anxiety, agitation, cravings, depression and mood swings.
Prolonged cocaine withdrawal can last between six months up to two years. The length of the withdrawal process will depend on the amount of time someone abused cocaine, the severity of their addiction and the purity of the cocaine abused.
It is recommended to seek professional, medical supervision during the withdrawal process in order to receive the proper emotional and psychological support, and prevent addiction relapse.
Developing Tolerance To Cocaine
Each person who abuses cocaine will develop tolerance at a different rate. Some people may build up a classic tolerance to the drug, where they will require larger and more frequent doses in order to achieve the same high a smaller dose once produced.
Other people abusing cocaine may instead become more sensitive to the drug. This is a type of ‘reverse tolerance,’ also known as sensitization.
When this happens, individuals may have more intense reactions to cocaine.
Cocaine sensitization may also lead to negative and possibly life-threatening side effects including: cardiac arrest, cocaine overdose from very small doses of cocaine and respiratory failure.
The main symptom of cocaine tolerance is intense cravings for the drug. Once this occurs, many people will go on cocaine binges where they continually take the drug and remain in a ‘perminate high.’
Eventually, some people may experience a ceiling effect where, no matter how much cocaine they take, they are not capable of getting high because their system has been completely wiped of dopamine.
How Cocaine Withdrawal Affects The Brain
Cocaine increases the levels of a naturally occuring chemical messenger, dopamine. Dopamine is involved in controlling pleasure and movement. Typically, the average brain releases dopamine within the brain circuits in response to potential rewards, the smell of good food.
It then recycles back into the cell that released it, which turns off the signal between the nerve cells. When cocaine is introduced, is prevents dopamine from recycling which causes an excessive amount of dopamine to build up between the nerve cells. This disruption in the normal brain communication is what causes the high cocaine produces.
Risks Of Cocaine Abuse
Health risks associated with cocaine abuse may include increased stress on the heart and cardiovascular system. When someone abuses cocaine over a long-time period, (three or more weeks) they may also become malnourished or develop a movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease later on in life.
Cocaine also holds a very high potential for addiction. This is due to the positive reinforcement caused by the flood of dopamine to the brain during use. This effect makes the brain believe that the body is doing something good and will trick the individual into wanting to repeat the process.
Polydrug use, or using more than one drug at a time, while using cocaine also increases the risk of overdosing. Some people report becoming highly irritable and restless when they go on a cocaine binge. Other individuals may experience severe paranoia, where they become detached from reality and have auditory hallucinations (hear things that are not real).
Physical Effects Of Cocaine Addiction
Some short-term physical effects of cocaine abuse may include:
- extreme boosts in energy and positive feelings
- increased mental alertness
- hypersensitivity to sights, sounds and touch
- extreme mood swings including increased irritability
- paranoia or extreme distrust of others
Although some people find that cocaine helps them perform simple physical and mental tasks more quickly than normal, others may experience the opposite effect. Effects of cocaine are felt almost immediately and may last for a few minutes to an hour.
Injecting or smoking cocaine produces a quicker and stronger, but shorter-lasting high than snorting the drug. The high from smoking cocaine may last five to 10 minutes. Some other physical effects of cocaine abuse include:
- constricted blood vessels
- dilated pupils
- raised blood pressure and body temperature
- increased heartbeat
- tremors and muscle twitches
Studies have shown that abusing cocaine can speed up HIV infection. Cocaine impairs immune cell function and promotes reproduction of the HIV virus. Research also indicates that individuals with HIV may have an increased risk for co-occurring infections, by contracting hepatitis C (a virus that affects liver function), even if they don’t inject the drug.
Effects Of Cocaine Abuse In Pregnant Women
Most women who suffer from cocaine addiction are of childbearing age. About five percent of pregnant women use one or more addictive substances, including cocaine. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are around 750,000 cocaine-exposed pregnancies every year.
Abusing cocaine during pregnancy can cause maternal migraines and seizures, premature membrane rupture and separation of the placental lining from the uterus before delivery. Pregnancy is associated with normal cardiovascular changes and cocaine can exacerbate these changes, causing serious problems with high blood pressure, spontaneous miscarriage, preterm labor and difficult delivery.
Treatment For Withdrawal and Addiction
Treatment for cocaine addiction is typically addressed with behavioral therapies, which can help people deal with the psychological symptoms of withdrawal. Currently, there are no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications for treating the negative side effects of cocaine withdrawal.
In order to ensure the best care and comfort during the withdrawal process, it is best to enroll in an inpatient detox and/or treatment program. Doing so can provide the necessary support individuals need during the difficult withdrawal process and help to prevent relapse.
If you need more information on cocaine withdrawal and treatment, contact a specialist today.
What Cocaine Withdrawal Feels
I knew I was going to end up feeling bad. Things had gotten way hand in my life and it took some scary stuff to make me realize how much trouble I was really in. I was addicted to cocaine—I knew it and yet I couldn’t say it out loud. The thought was even so scary I would argue with myself some days.
“You’re addicted,” I’d think, then a second or two later, “No you’re not, calm down. It’s fine.” But that first thought would scare me and it would stay in the back of my mind. Then one day I decided I wasn’t going to do any cocaine; I had it all planned out.
That was the first day I thought I probably needed help. I ended up buying some and doing it all. I wish I could say I asked for help that day, but it took a lot more energy, a lot more trying, and a lot more failing before I made it happen.
Actually, when I say I knew I was going to feel “bad,” that’s not true. I was scared of feeling horrible when I detoxed, of feeling you see in movies or hear about in stories. It scared me enough that it stopped me from asking for help some days.
Without knowing what would actually happen I was stuck imagining or looking things up where I could. I wanted someone to tell me what it was going to be . People sometimes don’t realize how scary that is.
One thing I kept thinking over and over was, “Am I in too far?” And that just meant, am I even capable of being okay? It was hard to get past that. When I finally felt prepared though, when someone helped me get ready, I knew I was going to get sober.
If you’re struggling with cocaine addiction and are wondering what will happen when you don’t have cocaine, you’re not alone.
How is that going to feel?
How Cocaine Affects You And For How Long
Cocaine is a drug that can leave your system relatively quickly, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not detectable by certain tests for longer periods of time. Scientists know the “half-life” for cocaine—which is the amount of time it takes for half of the drug to leave your system—is only 90 minutes.
That might seem relatively fast, but put that into context by thinking about how long the “high” of using cocaine lasts. There are three ways people are usually doing cocaine: what’s called “intranasal,” which is snorting it; “intravenously,” which is injecting it; and smoking it.
Each method has different lengths of effect which is also determined by how much cocaine is being consumed, and how often.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, a Canadian mental health education hospital, lists the different methods and their general length of effectiveness as:
- Snorting can produce an effect in you for between 15 and 30 minutes
- Injecting it typically brings along a short period of euphoria, or a “rush,” within 30 seconds and can last as long as 20 minutes or as short as 10
- Smoking has nearly immediate effect on someone and will last somewhere between five and 10 minutes
All of these methods are also affected by the amount of cocaine being consumed as well as differences in physiology. In general, each of our bodies can tolerate different levels of nearly any substance due to how we have developed throughout life.
How cocaine works in our brains, however, is due to one thing we all have in common.
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Cocaine Offers A False Reward
Your brain naturally produces a substance called dopamine which you might hear people refer to as the “reward” or “pleasure” chemical. It’s one of the ways your body will signal to itself, and you, that you are feeling good.
One study found that meditation is a way to naturally release dopamine into your system.The most commonly referenced natural and healthy activity that can lead to dopamine release is exercise. It’s been studied in both animals and humans and leads to quite a few positive effects, not only in brain chemistry but in overall health.
Cocaine essentially short circuits your brain and causes dopamine to act in a way it normally wouldn’t. Specifically, according to the National Institutes of Health, cocaine prevents dopamine from being absorbed it would naturally.
This leads to dopamine building up in your system and giving you a much bigger “pleasure” response than you’d regularly experience from, say, exercising. This means cocaine is basically set up to do one thing: make you want to do more cocaine.
Since we know the “high” you experience from cocaine is going to last anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes, we can assume that eventually your brain will want to feel what it perceived as “pleasure” again.
It’s not hard to see how this could quickly lead to dependence and/or addiction that requires cocaine rehab.
Going Through Cocaine Withdrawal
You could begin experiencing cocaine withdrawal quickly, maybe even on a regular basis. That’s because the euphoria it creates from overloading your brain on dopamine is an incredibly temporary feeling.
Part of being a human is discovering the things that feel good to us and seeking them out again. It’s a function deep within our DNA. We needed it to survive when we had to find food in the wilderness.
“Oh, that plant tastes good, I’ll eat it again,” or “Whoa, that plant tastes horrible, I won’t eat that again.” Our brains use their natural chemicals to reinforce both of these experiences. A strawberry may taste amazing and thus release dopamine (along with other chemicals) but the peel of a banana doesn’t.
Cocaine breaks this process by supplying your brain with an unhealthy amount of dopamine overall, but also in an incredibly short amount of time. Your body will know soon after your cocaine “high” ends that it’s not feeling it did.
The Australian Department of Health lists three stages of cocaine withdrawal.
First, you experience what’s called the “crash.” Rapidly stopping cocaine use, especially heavy cocaine use, will bring this stage around quickly. It depends on how much cocaine someone is using, obviously.
If a person is snorting cocaine and experiencing a “high” of 30 minutes they may begin doing cocaine shortly after this. Reports show the “crash” can happen somewhere within an hour or a few days of stopping cocaine use.
A “crash” happens when the body has no cocaine and is, essentially, reacting to the brain trying to return to normal levels of dopamine.
Those normal levels don’t feel normal, though, due to the constant cocaine use. The “crash” brings with it several side effects including:
- feeling exhausted and tired in general
- hunger and an increased appetite in general
- occasionally depression or a general lack of motivation
One of the more confusing aspects of the “crash” is it can produce a lack of desire for cocaine. Because this can happen within hours or the first few days after using, it may feel no more than an alcohol hangover at first.
The next stage will feel much worse, which is the full withdrawal phase.
This stage can last for 10 weeks. That’s a little longer than two months. The Australian Department of Health says the symptoms can include:
- disturbed sleep patterns and trouble sleeping in general
- decreased levels of concentration
- exhaustion and low energy levels in general
- the strong urge to consume more cocaine
Another study, this one by the U.S. National Libraries of Medicine, found significant effects on brain function during cocaine withdrawal. Specifically, the study found people had a hard time focusing and with memory.
The scientists also describe someone in cocaine withdrawal struggling with “verbal fluency” and “verbal memory.” This means someone struggling through cocaine withdrawal had difficulties with things correctly saying the names of colors, animals, and remembering certain words for other objects.
The End Of Withdrawal
Sometimes called “extinction,” this is the last stage of cocaine withdrawal. It’s another daunting amount of time.
The last phase can last up to 28 weeks. That’s potentially around seven months of feeling occasional cravings to consume cocaine again. It can also come with a lack of motivation or slight depression.
It can be incredibly challenging for someone to move past cocaine withdrawal. If someone has become addicted to cocaine, stops consuming it, and has to go through potentially seven months of feeling the urge to use it again, they will be presented with a lot of challenges.
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One of the challenges to staying sober is external influence.
That’s a big part of what will influence the urges during the final stages of cocaine withdrawal and it’s a tough one. Maybe an object reminds you of cocaine, or even an emotion you had. Trying to move past these cues, to reframe your life in a way that cocaine isn’t featured, can be stressful, discouraging, and feel impossible.
So, how do people do it? How do they get past all those roadblocks and start moving freely again? Asking these questions is a big part of it. Another way is to possess the strength for change.
You have the strength. We know you do. If you’re in need of cocaine rehab, we have help.
Vertava Will Focus Your Strength To Recover
Your strength is one of our secret ingredients. It’s the thing you bring with you wherever you go. Sometimes you might have a hard time locating it, but we know it’s there. It helps you, and us, through detox and inpatient treatment, and is especially helpful with dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) one of our core treatment methods.
We’re here for you and we know you can make the hard decisions. You are resilient. Give us a call at (844) 551-7335 and we can chat about how your strength will power your recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Until Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms Show?
Withdrawal symptoms can begin within hours or days of stopping cocaine use. It depends on how often and how much cocaine someone has been using.
How Long Do Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
Symptoms can last for a long time. Specifically, once active withdrawal starts—”stage two,” after the initial stage, sometimes called the “crash”—can last as long as 10 weeks, which is slightly longer than two months.
The third stage, sometimes called “extinction,” where your body is moving toward fully recovering from cocaine, can last as long as 28 weeks. Overall this means your cocaine withdrawal symptoms could last as long as 38 weeks.
There are 52 weeks in a year, so half of the year could potentially be spent with cocaine withdrawal.
What Signs and Symptoms Indicate Cocaine Withdrawal?
Early withdrawal signs can include irritability or grouchiness, increased and abnormal anxiety, a heightened appetite, and confusingly, a decreased urge to use cocaine. After that depression, strong urges to use cocaine, trouble sleeping, the inability to concentrate and/or remember things, and general disinterest in life may develop.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment
Cocaine use affects people of all ages, including tweens, high schoolers, and adults. According to a 2018 survey of cocaine usage trends, cocaine is most prevalent among these age groups:
- 14.7% of kids as young as 12 years old;
- 11.4% of people aged 18-25 years;
- 16.8% of people aged 26 years or older.
Additionally, in 2019, an estimated 5.5 million people were cocaine users, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The prevalence of this drug shows its addictiveness.
In fact, cocaine is generally considered one of the most addictive drugs in wide circulation and usage.
When someone uses cocaine for an extended period of time and then stops, they could experience withdrawal symptoms, sometimes immediately.
Cocaine withdrawal can be physical or psychological, as the drug floods the brain with unnatural amounts of serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline. If you think someone you know is developing a cocaine addiction, it can be helpful to know what the withdrawal process is as you seek help for them.
Physical Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
As a person withdraws from cocaine, they experience physical symptoms such as:
- Lack of pleasure;
- Increased appetite;
- Chills and tremors;
- Muscle aches;
- Nerve pain.
Physical cocaine withdrawal symptoms may be less noticeable than withdrawals from other substances, alcohol. Additionally, the symptoms and their severity depend upon the length of the cocaine addiction. For example, someone who used cocaine one time will experience significantly less-pronounced withdrawal symptoms than a person who uses cocaine regularly.
Although cocaine does not typically produce life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, there are some serious withdrawal symptoms that people should be aware of, including:
- Heart attacks;
- Grand mal seizures;
- Heart palpitations.
Psychological Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
People can also experience psychological withdrawals from cocaine use. The symptoms include:
- Suspicion or paranoia;
- Suicidal thoughts;
- Increased cravings;
- Difficulty concentrating;
Psychological withdrawal symptoms can be more severe than physical symptoms because they are less noticeable. Additionally, many people who use drugs also have an underlying mental health issue and use cocaine or other substances to self-medicate. Withdrawal symptoms can exacerbate mental health issues, thus creating a larger problem.
What is Cocaine Withdrawal ?
Cocaine increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. Naturally, dopamine is recycled back into the brain; however, cocaine stops this process. Instead, the brain starts to depend on cocaine to increase dopamine levels, and when a person stops using it, they can start to feel the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. The process is as follows:
- The crash: People typically experience this first phase quickly after stopping cocaine use. In this phase, people can feel irritable, anxious, exhausted, and may experience dysphoric feelings. Cravings may have decreased.
- The withdrawal: In this phase, people may experience increased cravings, poor concentration, and lethargy. This phase may last longer than other phases and is associated with a high chance of relapse.
- The extinction: This phase consists of sporadic cravings. People are more aware of their external triggers and can use coping skills to control them.
It’s important to note that the withdrawal process will be different for everyone. Factors that affect the withdrawal process include:
- How long you’ve been taking the drug;
- Your metabolism;
- Your age;
- Other drug use;
- How you ingested cocaine;
- Your genetics.
Additionally, the potential for relapse can be higher during the stages of withdrawal. Inpatient treatment and outpatient rehab treatment can help people through their withdrawal symptoms, increasing the lihood of success.
Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline
Depending on the extent of the cocaine use, the withdrawal process can last from as little as a few days to as long as a few months. While the duration of use and other factors can affect the length of the withdrawal process, each phase typically goes as follows:
- The “crash phase” can last one to three days and effects similar to the flu.
- The “withdrawal phase” can last up to four weeks, and can vary from person to person.
- The “extinction phase” also typically lasts up to four weeks, but can last longer for those who are severely addicted.
Cocaine withdrawal can be highly unpleasant, so it’s a good idea to ask for some time off work and to avoid large crowds and high-stress situations.
Cocaine Withdrawal Tips
Withdrawal symptoms can seem overwhelming; however, there are ways to manage them. Detoxing should never be done alone – it should always be done under the supervision of a medical professional. When going through detox, there are things that can help make withdrawal symptoms more tolerable, including:
- Exercising regularly;
- Eating nutritious meals;
- Staying hydrated;
- Getting enough sleep;
- Joining a support group.
How to Quit Cocaine
Quitting cocaine is hard and should not be done alone. There are many treatments that can help people quit cocaine and put them on the right track to recovery:
These types of treatments can help people more effectively than quitting cold turkey. Doctors can help patients taper off their addictions, and can assist them through the more tough symptoms of withdrawal. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that withdrawal is not easy; but with the right support, it is more manageable.
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can feel overwhelming and may lead to relapse. The best way to overcome an addiction is with the right support network, understanding withdrawal symptoms, and receiving the right treatment can help facilitate a successful recovery. You’ll get all this and more with Recovery Centers of America.
Detoxing from Cocaine: What Is Withdrawal ?
Cocaine is a powerful and dangerous stimulant that derives from coca plant leaves. It changes brain communication by releasing dopamine. This flood of dopamine is associated with the euphoric high cocaine provides.
Cocaine is fairly common in the United States. In 2014, 1.5 million people over the age of 11 reported using it in the past year. But, in some states, cocaine use levels are as high as 1 in 10 adults.
Chronic cocaine use can cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drug. Understanding what it’s to detox from cocaine is important for both you and your loved ones, so they know what to expect. While it can feel scary, it’s short-lived, and treatment can help reduce any discomfort you feel.
Why Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms Happen
Persistent cocaine use can lead to cocaine dependence. Dependence means you need to take more of the drug to achieve the high you’re used to. This can lead people to binge on cocaine. During a cocaine binge, people use as much of the drug as possible until running out. They may stay awake for several days.
Cocaine dependence can result in cocaine withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal happens once you stop using cocaine, but when the symptoms begin varies from person to person. You may experience them anywhere from a few hours to several days after last use. People often call this period “the crash,” and it can last up to one week. Other withdrawal symptoms may persist for several weeks or months.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
The common cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Increased cravings for cocaine, stimulants, or other mood-altering substances
- Fatigue and excess sleep
- Increased appetite
- Memory problems
- Poor concentration and focus
- Paranoid thinking
- Vivid/disturbing dreams
- Slowed movements
The severity of symptoms depends on various factors, including:
- How often and for how long you used cocaine
- The presence of other mood-altering substances— alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines—in your system
- Any medical conditions
- Your age
- Previous histories of detox and withdrawal
- Presence of medications
Is Medical Supervision Necessary for Cocaine Detox?
Cocaine withdrawal itself is rarely life-threatening, but detox can cause psychiatric and medical complications.
First, relapse is a common risk. Cocaine withdrawal often results in cravings. These cravings can be extremely intense, tempting even the most determined people. What’s worse, during this period of abstinence, your tolerance for cocaine decreases. As a result, if you go back to using cocaine, you’re more susceptible to a drug overdose.
Additionally, co-occurring disorders are common: 7.7 million American adults have both a substance use disorder and mental illness. Cocaine withdrawal can trigger mental health symptoms related to depression and anxiety. In extreme cases, it can trigger suicidal ideation.
Medical supervision ensures a safe detox. Trained medical staff watch your symptoms to assess the type of care you need. If you experience complications, they can provide immediate medical support. Treatment specialists are also expert at providing psychological care. You’ll take part in group and one-on-one counseling.
After medical detox, they can help you transition into partial care or an outpatient program, so you can continue your recovery.
What Is Medically Supervised Detox ?
You may arrive to medical detox under the influence or while you’re crashing. That’s okay. You’ll be supported and supervised until you feel better.
Once you do, you’ll speark with one of our admissions counselors for a full medical and psychiatric assessment. You’ll discuss your:
- Medical history
- Substance use
- Other relevant issues
This information will help your team establish a treatment plan that’s right for you.
All detox programs are different. Usually, you’re assigned to a case manager and a therapist. These professionals offer support and guidance. They will also teach you coping tools to manage your cocaine withdrawal symptoms.
Many detox programs also offer clinical groups. Groups may focus on:
- Relapse prevention
- Stress management
- Coping skills
- Co-occurring disorders
- Emotional regulation
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
The length of detox varies. You may be in detox anywhere from 2 to 10 days, and when you’re ready to move on depends on both your physical and mental health.
Detox alone isn’t a complete treatment for cocaine use. Most people need long-term structured support. Your detox team will help you understand the type of treatment that will give you a life free from the burden of cocaine addiction.
Can Medicine Help with Cocaine Withdrawal?
Currently, the FDA has not approved any medications specifically for cocaine withdrawal. But some people do benefit from medications that help with other symptoms:
Antidepressants (SSRIs): SSRIs can help people struggling with depression or anxiety by releasing serotonin, a natural mood stabilizer.
Baclofen: Baclofen is a muscle relaxer that reduces the amount of released dopamine. It may help reduce cocaine cravings.
Modafinil: Modafinil increases glutamate-neurotransmission, which prevents the euphoria associated with cocaine.
Disulfiram: Disulfiram is typically used to treat alcohol dependence. When the user drinks alcohol on this medication, they experience a distressing reaction. Research shows this substance can also stop euphoria.
Sleep Medication: Rest is an important part of detox, but withdrawal can cause sleep problems, nightmares or insomnia, for some people. Sleep medication can help with reducing the intensity of these symptoms.
Cocaine is a serious and life-threatening drug. If you’re struggling with your addiction, medical detox can help. We’re here to support and guide you on your journey towards recovery. Contact us today to learn more.