Cocaine Withdrawal

Getting clean from cocaine isn’t easy. When you stop using cocaine at your usual dose and rate, your body is likely to start experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. On this page, you’ll learn how cocaine addiction occurs, what cocaine withdrawal is like, and how you can get professional help for yourself or a loved one.

Cocaine Addiction:
How It Happens and What It Can Do

Cocaine, also known as “coke,” is a highly addictive, powdered stimulant drug that can be snorted, smoked, injected, or taken orally to achieve an intense, joyful high. It hijacks the brain’s natural reward system, which means that even those who use cocaine for a relatively short time are at serious risk of developing a chemical dependence.

Physically, cocaine use increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as a breakdown of the blood/brain barrier, which protects the brain from bacteria and other pathogens in the bloodstream. When this membrane is damaged by heavy cocaine use, the brain can develop a life-threatening blood-borne infection.

The effects of cocaine are not restricted to physical damage. As a person’s addiction to cocaine advances in severity, using the drug and avoiding withdrawal sickness becomes the most important thing in life. Relationships with friends and family begin to suffer, it becomes difficult to keep a job, and the overall structure of the person’s life begins to crumble.

Physical and Mental Coke Withdrawal Symptoms

The human body is always working to process and filter whatever is ingested into its system. Even drugs like cocaine are subject to the function of the liver and kidneys, and the toxic chemicals are eventually broken down and expelled as waste. When an addicted person is unable to replace what’s expelled with more of the drug, his cocaine-dependent body goes into a state of shock known medically as withdrawal.

The following are just some of the potential symptoms of cocaine withdrawal:

  • Fatigue
  • Agitation, irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoid thoughts and behaviors
  • Inability to feel pleasure/enjoyment
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Intense cravings
  • Extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and/or touch

Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline

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Cocaine withdrawals can take days, weeks, or even months to resolve. The duration of withdrawals and the severity of symptoms will vary, from case to case, but the approximate timeline is similar for most addicts. The process of coke withdrawal typically progresses through the following three stages:

  1. Depending upon the severity of the addiction, the first signs of cocaine withdrawal will begin somewhere between a few hours and a few days from the last use of cocaine. Withdrawals usually begin with mild symptoms like confusion and fatigue, slowly ramping up to include depression, irritability, and paranoia.
  2. After a few days or so, the body enters the main period of withdrawal. This is the stage in which the body will face the greatest onslaught, with symptoms ranging from lethargy and insomnia to agonizing cravings, vivid nightmares, and depressive thoughts. Some symptoms can last as long as 10 weeks in some cases.
  3. After several days or weeks (again, depending on the person), the “extinction” period begins. Bodily systems start to function normally again and the symptoms continue to decline in severity until they are almost unnoticeable. Individuals may still have occasional cravings or feel uneasy for up to 28 weeks.

Medications and Treatment for Cocaine Withdrawal

The best way to deal with cocaine withdrawal is to go through it in a safe, supervised environment like a rehab center or hospital. During this time, doctors may choose to prescribe certain medications to ease discomfort and/or prevent life-threatening complications. After any remaining cocaine has left the body and withdrawal symptoms have ceased, further cocaine addiction treatment can begin.

Should You Seek Professional Treatment?

When you’re dealing with a drug addiction, it can be difficult to know whether you’re making the right decisions. If you’re not sure whether you should enroll in a professional cocaine addiction treatment program, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you need to use cocaine at regular intervals to keep from feeling sick?
  • Have you had to increase the dosage and frequency of cocaine use over time?
  • When you are no longer able to get high or prevent withdrawal sickness at your current level of use, will you be pushed to start using more?
  • Have you lost jobs or had problems in your relationships with loved ones as a result of your cocaine use?
  • Are you struggling to meet financial obligations (e.g., rent, bills) because you have to spend most of your money on cocaine?
  • Do you find yourself daydreaming about how good life could be if you could just erase cocaine from your life?

If your answer to even one of these questions is “yes,” you may have a problem that requires professional treatment to overcome. Don’t struggle with cocaine addiction on your own; there’s no shame in asking for help.

Detox from Your Cocaine Addiction Safely at Yellowstone Recovery

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If you or loved ones are battling an ongoing addiction to cocaine, you deserve to get the professional help you need to break free. If you’re concerned about the symptoms of withdrawal, a professional rehab can arrange for safe medical detox. At Yellowstone Recovery, our inpatient program clients have the opportunity to detox from cocaine under the care and supervision of experienced medical professionals.

Once you have completed detox, you’ll be able to start recovery work with facility staff and certified addiction treatment counselors. The bulk of your program will be focused on helping you work through the issues underlying your addiction and develop healthy new coping mechanisms and life skills. Before you leave Yellowstone, we’ll prepare you for re-entry into society and the workforce by providing support and information about housing and career opportunities.

With the right help, you can successfully overcome your cocaine dependency and live a long, healthy, and sober new life. If you’re ready to take back control of your life, call Yellowstone Recovery today at (888) 418-4188.

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