Cocaine and Withdrawals
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that ups your levels of alertness, attention, and energy. It is a stimulant that causes your nervous system to move quicker and be more sensitive to stimulation. Cocaine can be snorted as a powder, smoked, or in some cases, it can be injected.
You may have strong cravings for the drug and the high it brings. But the more you use cocaine, the more your brain will adapt to it. You’ll need a stronger dose to feel the same high. This can lead to a dangerous addiction or overdose.
“In 2013, cocaine accounted for almost 6 percent of all admissions to drug abuse treatment programs. The majority of individuals (68 percent in 2013) who seek treatment for cocaine use smoke crack and are likely to be polydrug users, meaning they use more than one substance.”
Being addicted to cocaine means that when you stop, you face the possibility of withdrawal. Withdrawal is your body’s reaction to trying to get back to normal without the drugs in your system.
Detox programs for cocaine use
A detox program is designed to help you get through that first period of recovery: the withdrawals. For some, the withdrawals are the worst part and are often cited as a reason people keep using. They are so bad sometimes, that people would rather use, and damage their bodies more through cocaine use that deals with withdrawal symptoms.
Detox units have specialized staff and treatment protocols to help you get through the worst of it. There is often medical staff on hand to help manage the worst of the symptoms and monitor your health.
Their goal would be to get you through the detox process safely and to encourage and aid you in getting further treatment for cocaine addiction. They are there to help with the withdrawals alone and support you through that.
How long do withdrawals from cocaine last?
Cocaine has a very short half-life. The half-life of a drug means how long does it stay in your body. Cocaine will start to leave your system within hours of taking it, although its effects may last for much longer than that.
There are several factors that go into determining how long withdrawal from cocaine or any drug will last. These include:
- How long have you been using
- How much you have been using
- The type and purity of drug used
- Any medical or mental health problems you may already have
On average, cocaine detox will take about a week for it to leave your system and the worst of the withdrawal symptoms to be over. You will leave detox healthier and medically stable.
The goal will be for you to reach a place where you can be an active participant in treatment. Detox will treat only the withdrawal symptoms, not the addiction that caused them.
Stages for cocaine withdrawal
Withdrawal from any drug can differ based on individual circumstances. Not everyone is going to recognize the various phases of withdrawal. However, typically the withdrawal process from cocaine can be divided into three phases: the crash phase, the craving phase, and the extinction phase.
- The crash. This occurs within 24 hours after a binge, or sustained period of high-intensity use, ends. Someone in the midst of a cocaine crash may experience:
- Lack of energy and motivation.
- Increased hunger.
- Extreme depression.
Withdrawal. The second phase will begin within a week of last use and can last for a total of 10 weeks. Symptoms include:
- Trouble concentrating.
- Low energy.
- Changing moods.
- Dysphoria (general feeling of dissatisfaction with life).
Extinction. This final stage can continue for 6 months. It will show a decrease in most symptoms. The symptoms of this phase include
- Low mood
- Some cravings
Symptoms seen in detox
Detox will usually only last 7-10 days, so there will be some serious symptoms seen in detox. They will not experience all the withdrawal symptoms, since they will last for weeks beyond the last time you used.
What detox staff report they see most often is:
- Confusion, depression and disorientation
- Intense cocaine cravings
- Irritability, restlessness and remorse
Can detoxing from cocaine kill you?
This question gets asked often since people detoxing from cocaine feel miserable.
People have died in the past from detoxing from cocaine, but they often were long-time users and had done a great deal of damage to their bodies from using, or had underlying health problems that were untreated.
With a medical detox unit, medical staff is on hand 24/7 so there is an extra level of care for anyone worried about their health and well-being.
What is detox for cocaine addiction like?
Getting off cocaine may seem scary to some, and going to a detox unit may agitate them more. Detox is a very supportive environment, whose only focus is to keep you healthy.
One of the first things to expect when you go to detox at a rehab unit is that they will begin asking you questions about your history, your use, and trying to understand you and your situation.
You can also expect the detox staff, especially in a medical detox unit, to take a health and wellness history, and take your vitals. This is for your safety. The more they know about your health, the more they can help you through the withdrawals.
Some detox units will have shared rooms, others may offer private rooms, as you will be staying all day for the length of time you are there. This may take between 7-10 days for cocaine addiction. The length of time is determined mainly by how you are doing.
What helps cocaine withdrawals
Most of what detox can provide for cocaine withdrawals is support and monitoring, You will know people care and are looking out for you.
While there are unfortunately no medications that can make the withdrawals go away completely, you may be given medication to help with the symptoms of withdrawals. These include: anti-anxiety
medication, sleep medications, medications for digestive problems, and over-the-counter pain relievers. Taking medication as prescribed is important.
Who needs cocaine addiction treatment?
Cocaine as a drug of abuse is slowly starting to rise in popularity again. It is unfortunate to see that overdose deaths due to cocaine use are on the rise again, and over half a million people end up in an emergency room every year due to cocaine abuse and overdose.
Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that can cause multiple short and long-term health issues. The risk for overdose is high as people feel the high and invulnerable effects of the drug. This is a serious problem that needs treatment.
Now, obviously, everyone that tries cocaine once is not an addict, but many who try it say they were addicted from the first hit. Many people will benefit greatly and have their lives saved, by some type of treatment for cocaine abuse.
People who benefit most from cocaine addiction treatment typically will meet some of the symptoms of substance use disorder or cocaine addiction:
- Consuming more cocaine than originally planned
- Worrying about stopping or consistently failed efforts to control one’s use
- Spending a large amount of time using cocaine, or doing whatever is needed to obtain them
- Use of the substance results in failure to perform at normal places such as at home, work, or school.
- Craving cocaine
- Continuing the use of cocaine despite health problems caused or worsened by it. This can be in the domain of mental health or physical health.
- Continuing the use of a cocaine despite its having negative effects on relationships with others
- Repeated use of the substance in a dangerous situation, like driving or operating heavy machinery under the influence
- Giving up or reducing activities in a person’s life because of cocaine use
- Building up a tolerance to cocaine. Tolerance is defined by the DSM-5 as “either needing to use noticeably larger amounts over time to get the desired effect or noticing less of an effect over time after repeated use of the same amount.”
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after stopping use.
If you are experiencing more than one of these symptoms, it is likely you would benefit from a cocaine treatment center.
Most patients who come to a cocaine treatment center may also struggle with a co-occurring mental health condition, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, and that needs to be addressed during addiction treatment.
Another factor to consider in choosing between levels of care for rehab options is whether you have a healthy and supportive home environment where your recovery will be a priority.
Drug treatment centers have options for people addicted to cocaine. There may be differences in the levels of care they offer, but all will work towards the patient’s sobriety and recovery.
Understanding the differences between the different types of treatments offered by treatment facilities is crucial in the addiction recovery process. Patients should get a good idea of what to expect.
Treatment options for cocaine use include:
- Detox programs
- Inpatient treatment
- Partial hospitalization programs
- Intensive outpatient
- Outpatient programs
Cocaine treatment methods
Cocaine treatment will take many different forms to meet your particular needs. This is called person-centered treatment and is among the best cocaine treatment practices. The goal is to understand you, what your goals for recovery are, and come up with a clear plan on how to get there.
Treatment and prevention planning for cocaine addiction will take place in either individual or group therapy.
Group therapy gives the advantage of being able to hear others’ stories to learn from, bounce ideas back and forth, and to practice social skills in a practical and real way.
Individual therapy gives you the privacy to talk about sensitive matters, attention to your own particular needs, and feedback from a therapist.
Cocaine treatment planning
One of the best treatment practices for cocaine dependence includes the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT is a form of talk therapy frequently used in cocaine treatment centers that looks at how you think and appraise situations, and how that relates to the emotions that arise from those appraisals.
Here’s an example:
You’re sitting by yourself at a table in a coffee shop. Someone walking by dumps their coffee on you. That’s all the information you get, although let’s assume it was cool so you are not scalded.
What is your reaction? Are your scared for fear of what this maniac will do next? Are you angry and standing up to fight this idiot? Are you in tears because it’s been a miserable day and this just tops it off? Or something else entirely?
Whatever your reaction, it happened in under a second. But what causes this reaction? Well according to cognitive theory, there is a thought that happens in the blink of an eye that evaluates the event, or just the world around you, and causes a reaction, which is whatever your feeling is. Your emotions are just reactions to how you perceive the world around you.
The therapist’s job in addictions treatment would be to first work with you to help you understand the rules you have, and how you evaluate events in life. This will be important because you need to know what is wrong in order to fix it.
After talking it out and trying to figure out what these thoughts are, the job of the therapist would be to look at them with you to decide which ones are still working for you, and which ones are unhelpful.
The final step in the process would be working to replace those thoughts with routines that are more helpful and truer to who you are now. This may sound difficult and maybe scary, but it really is just a matter of practicing new behaviors and re-evaluating situations from a different point of view.
Cocaine treatment and medication
Unfortunately, there is no medication to treat addiction yet. That will come in the future. What the doctors and psychiatrists at the cocaine treatment centers near you can do is prescribe medication to help with the symptoms, and treat any underlying conditions you may have.
Going through withdrawal from cocaine addiction can be difficult. There is often a great deal of agitation, anxiety, sleep disturbances, paranoia, depression, nausea, or other gastrointestinal problems.
Medication can be and often is provided to help treat these symptoms, like anti-anxiety medication, or medication to help someone sleep.
Cocaine treatment for depression or other underlying causes is also a priority. There is a high correlation between people who abuse drugs and those with a mental health condition, so expect to be screened and treated for that, as part of the experience.
If you have questions or feel like cocaine treatment is right for you, please call us at 1-888-447-7724 or click here to reach out to us. Help and hope are here for you.
Signs of cocaine withdrawal can begin to kick within a day or two after you’ve started to quit. The drug can remain in your body for up to a day after its consumed, but its metabolites can last for up to a week. When withdrawing, you’ll experience a vast array of withdrawal symptoms, like cravings for cocaine. Both of the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms can be fairly intense, much like with any other type of alcohol and drug withdrawal. The psychological symptoms can linger around for quite some time in some users. This is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).
Depending on the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms, you may feel as if you need help from a drug and alcohol treatment center. Regardless of whether you decide to seek inpatient or outpatient rehab, here are 3 ways that you can ease the symptoms for a more comfortable and successful recovery.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse
Much like with any type of substance abuse, addicts will experience withdrawal symptoms when quitting cocaine. The symptoms are due to the fact that the body is dependent on the drug. Cocaine use has a significant effect on the brain’s mesolimbic system. It creates a massive influx of dopamine to rush into the brain. The dopamine causes addicts to enjoy intense euphoric feelings or a short-term high. The high usually lasts anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes depending on the method of cocaine use.
When quitting cocaine, addicts will begin to crash, both physically and mentally. Cocaine cravings and other withdrawal symptoms begin to appear within a day after the last use. Common symptoms of this type of drug abuse include:
- Anxiety, agitation and irritability
- Depression accompanied by suicidal thoughts
- Increased appetite leading to weight gain
- Paranoia or extreme suspicion
- Restless behavior
- Sleepiness, exhaustion and fatigue
- Vivid and unpleasant dreams
Cocaine withdrawals tend to be more psychological than physical. Cocaine addicts experience general feelings of unease and discomfort. They often never experience visible physical symptoms that often come with withdrawing from alcohol and drugs. For example, those withdrawing from alcohol addiction are at risk for seizures and delirium tremens. It’s hard not to notice when someone is trying to quit their drinking habit. When withdrawing from cocaine, the results are much more different. It can be difficult to notice that someone is having difficulties with this drug.
#1. Sign Up for Cocaine Detox
You don’t necessarily have to sign up for a complete inpatient treatment program to receive cocaine detox. It’s possible to receive the medications and attention you need from just about any outpatient detox center. Those who require more attention may benefit from a partial hospitalization program (PHP). This allows patients to do whatever they want during the day and receive treatment at a hospital at night. Both of these options offer more flexibility than an inpatient treatment program. What’ll work best for you will depend on the severity of your addiction. It may also depend on the length of the cocaine abuse.
Detox will ease withdrawal symptoms and lessen the intensity of the effects of cocaine. It will help rebalance the brain and cleanse the body. This type of substance abuse treatment is one of the best ways of easing cocaine withdrawal symptoms, especially the psychological symptoms. Detox will also take care of a dual diagnosis. You’ll receive medications that treat both substance abuse and mental health disorders.
At this current moment, the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved any prescriptions drugs for cocaine detox. To detox from cocaine, you’ll be prescribed drugs that treat the specific symptoms you have. For example, if you are having difficulties sleeping, the recovery center may prescribe you sleeping pills. If you’re feeling drowsy and exhausted, modafinil may help.
Cocaine detox will usually only last about a week or two. This is how long the cocaine withdrawal timeline typically lasts. The dose and type of medications prescribed will depend solely on the symptoms you experience.
#2. Keep Yourself Busy Throughout the Day to Forget About the Cravings
Cocaine cravings can be quite intolerable and unpleasant. They often come in waves. They’ll usually start off fairly mild, but will slowly build up. The cravings will then peak before subsiding. At its peak, many drug addicts find it difficult to concentrate on anything other than cocaine. It’ll be on their mind 24/7, and it’ll feel like there’s an itch that can’t be scratched. Many cocaine users will relapse during this time. Relapse among cocaine users is actually pretty high since the drug will change the brain in a significant way.
“We discovered that one single shot of cocaine can completely change the brain architecture and “set up” an addict for stress induced relapse.”
University of East Anglia researcher Peter McCormick
The important thing is to realize that cravings do not last forever. If you can ride out the wave, they will eventually pass. The best way to forget about the cravings is to keep yourself busy throughout the day. You want to keep your mind occupied on something else. Your brain will start to obsess over the drug the moment that it has time to itself.
There are many different ways that you can keep yourself. Different tactics will be more effective in different individuals. Some popular ideas include:
- Art therapy. Pick up a paintbrush or a crayon and add some color to your world.
- Exercising. When exercising, the body releases endorphins, which will help you feel healthier.
- Reading. It doesn’t matter whether you pick up a self-help book or a tale of fiction. Anything will work.
- Watching a movie. Choose a genre or a captivating title that will keep you entertained for hours.
- Working. Surprisingly, some addicts get the most joy out of going back to work.
Drug addicts that joined a recovery program should use this time and opportunity to learn a hobby. Continue the hobby even upon completing the program. A good hobby will help you keep your mind off of your substance use disorder. As time passes, you’ll forget about the abuse and begin to lead a healthier and more fulfilling life.
#3. Do Things that Make You Happy to Ease Depression
One of the primary withdrawal symptoms of cocaine use is depression. This is actually one of the hardest symptoms to kick. It’s one of the main reasons why many drug addicts need abuse treatment from a recovery center. Cocaine use causes tremendous changes to the neurochemical levels of the brain.
“Among currently abstinent patients, those with low depression scores had an 80 percent chance of remaining abstinent at the next interview, whereas those with high depression scores had less than a 60 percent chance of remaining cocaine free.”
National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)Once a person develops cocaine dependence, it takes a while for the brain to rewire itself. There’s a deficiency in neurotransmitters that allows a person to experience happiness. The intensity of the depression will vary from person to person. Some people may have tolerable symptoms whereas others may need to be checked into a treatment facility.
Those who are depressed will often experience suicidal thoughts. Depression can become so bad that it’s defined as a mental illness. To determine the severity of the depression, patients will receive a mental health assessment when getting admitted. It’s important to remember that depression will pass once the neurochemical levels in the brain are restored. This, however, can take some time.
The withdrawal timeline for depression will vary. Most drug addicts can expect the depression to last a week. There are many different ways to combat depression. Some non-narcotic options include:
- Going to a comedy show
- Watching a movie
- Practicing self-care
- Getting a massage
- Going to the spa
- Playing with a pet
- Eating properly
- Getting enough sleep
- Hanging out with family and friends
Before you quit cocaine use, figure out a plan first. Determine what you can do to keep yourself happy during withdrawal from cocaine. Speak to loved ones to let them know what they can expect. They definitely should keep an eye out for suicidal behaviors. If you’re having difficulties dealing with depression, speak with a behavioral health specialist.
Get Support by Attending Narcotics Anonymous Meetings
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. The structure of the meetings is basically the same. The only difference lies in the fact that drugs are discussed at the meetings instead of alcohol. Many cocaine users underestimate the benefits that they can get from attending NA meetings.
One of the main benefits that NA meetings can provide is social support. At NA meetings, you can meet other people who are in similar situations as yourself. You can choose to keep in contact with other members, and even go out with them. Create your own hockey team or find a pal to watch a movie with.
Another benefit is being able to share your personal experiences and grievances. Surprisingly, this can do wonders for your mental health. Not only will you benefit from knowing that you’re not alone, but you’ll also be much more likely to succeed if you have a group of people rooting for you. You’ll also be less likely to fall into a depression if you have others to share your worries and fears with. Many cocaine addicts find it easiest to open up with one another.
NA meetings can have a similar effect to therapy. The best part of it is that you can enjoy this type of community without having to pay a dime. Many treatment programs recommend that patients find and choose an NA meeting to join before or upon leaving their facility.
Rely on Cocaine Addiction Treatment to Get Sober
When dealing with cocaine withdrawal symptoms, addicts will find that they’ll have a much easier time if they receive professional help. Choose from either an inpatient rehab center or an outpatient treatment program for cocaine addiction treatment. Both are equally as effective. The type of rehab that’s best for you will depend on the severity of your addiction. Our medical staff will need to assess your condition before making any recommendations. Our residential treatment is ideal for those with a severe addiction. It’s also highly recommended for first-time offenders.
Cocaine addiction treatment provides addicts with a safe and comfortable way of getting sober. Addicts learn helpful skills that will keep them on the straight and narrow. They’ll also be more educated about their situation and make better decisions after completing the treatment. Check out our page for more information. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. Our staff works around the clock, so we’ll always be here to answer your call. Quitting cocaine has never been easier.