Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that can be snorted, inhaled, or injected. It has been a favorite drug for years for professionals and partygoers alike. When cocaine is ingested, users will feel an overwhelming sensation of euphoria and alertness, typically within seconds to minutes. They also will be energetic and experience feelings of competence and sexuality. The sensation should last anywhere from 30 minutes to more than an hour, depending on the individual and how they used the drug.

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Cocaine is known for producing a short high followed by an immediate desire to do more to make the euphoric sensation last. It is a highly addictive substance no matter what the preferred method of use is, although those who abuse the drug via injection seem to develop a dependence sooner.

Cocaine has no real medical uses in modern medicine. In the past, it was used as a numbing agent to treat depression and fatigue. It wasn’t until several decades later that doctors recognized the highly addictive nature of cocaine. Cocaine also used to be one of the main ingredients in the popular drink Coca Cola until 1903. Before its removal, however, a fairly significant amount was used in the drink: 5-ounce per gallon of syrup.

Today, cocaine is primarily just for recreational purposes. The statistics are startling. About 35.3 million Americans have reported using cocaine, with 6.9 percent of those aged 18 to 25 stating they had used the drug within the past year. Cocaine abuse is clearly a large problem in the United States, as is getting off the drug.

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What Are the Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms?

Cocaine withdrawal is when the cessation of regular cocaine use causes physical symptoms to appear. Over time, as a result of using cocaine, the body develops a dependence on the drug and the brain’s chemical makeup ultimately becomes altered.

Using cocaine disrupts the natural flow of neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers, within the brain, and the brain becomes reliant upon the presence of cocaine to function “properly.”

When the supply of cocaine is abruptly stopped, the brain recoils and subsequently withdrawal symptoms will appear. Cocaine, unlike alcohol and some other illicit substances, does not have any outward physical withdrawal symptoms such as nausea or shaking, but rather more mood-related symptoms. Some of these cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Agitation and restless behavior
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression, dysphoria
  • Increased appetite
  • Slowing of activity, low energy
  • General feeling of discomfort
  • Nightmares
  • Severe cravings for cocaine
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Paranoia

What Are the Stages of the Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline?

When someone addicted to cocaine decides to stop using, typically the initial throes of the withdrawal symptoms are felt within 24 hours after the final use of the drug. This stage is known as the “crash.” This is where the initial withdrawal symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, depression, low energy, motivation, and irritability can be experienced.

The next stage involves full withdrawals. This stage can occur for up to 10 weeks after cocaine use is stopped of cocaine use. During this part of the withdrawal process, symptoms such as dysphoria, depression, paranoia, anxiety, low energy, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, and cravings occur.

Lastly, the user experiences the extinction phase. This period of withdrawal symptoms can be experienced for up to six months after the last dose of cocaine. The symptoms will decrease throughout this time and include low mood and cravings.

Essentially, the timeline for cocaine withdrawals is 24 hours to six months for symptoms to begin and end. Of course, this timeline is contingent on the remained cessation of cocaine use. Continued use will start the cycle over again from Day 1.

Why Should I Detox?

Although the withdrawals from cocaine are not necessarily directly life-threatening, an individual looking to stop using the drug completely should definitely go through a medical detox program. The withdrawal symptoms themselves are not fatal. However, the severe mental and emotional withdrawal symptoms can be potentially harmful by inciting suicidal thoughts or tendencies.

The ability to stay stopped and resist the intense cravings can prove to be too much for the individual as well. Perpetual relapse may be a hurdle. If the individual cannot remain stopped, then they will never successfully complete the withdrawal process and remain in the cycle of addiction.

By going to a medical detox facility, you also will be provided a far more comfortable detox process, full-time medical supervision, and therapeutic support. Being in a comfortable and safe space increases the likelihood of a full and complete successful detox.

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

Often, detox is not enough to successfully treat cocaine addiction. While detox can assist in providing a great starting point for treatment, detox does not go deep therapeutically into addressing the underlying causes of cocaine addiction.

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Without intense therapy and different treatment methods offered by attending a residential program, relapse may be imminent for a person addicted to cocaine. Resisting the intense cravings may be next to impossible without learning new coping mechanisms and relapse prevention techniques offered by inpatient treatment.

Following the inpatient treatment, it is also crucial to have a plan for aftercare. Many people struggle with the transition from an inpatient facility back into everyday life. Attending an intensive outpatient (IOP) or routine outpatient program can help provide a buffer between the client and returning to their everyday lives where temptation lurks around every corner.

It provides continued therapeutic support as well as accountability for the client by typically requiring the completion of frequent drug tests. Formulating and completing an entire treatment plan is crucial to success in leaving cocaine behind once and for all.

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When you contact us, you will be connected with an addiction specialist who can work with you to help you find the right program for your needs. Call us now and start your journey to recovery today.

If you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine addiction, Ocean Breeze Recovery can help. You can call us 24/7 at 844-554-9279 or reach us online