Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Treatment
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that many people misuse for its euphoric and energetic effects. While this drug can make you feel extremely happy and increase your energy, it is also known to cause feelings of anxiety and paranoia. Additionally, the more often you abuse cocaine, the higher your likelihood of becoming addicted.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse states, “Among people aged 12 or older in 2021, 1.7% (or about 4.8 million people) reported using cocaine in the past 12 months.”
Once you become addicted to cocaine, your brain grows accustomed to the presence of the substance. This is what causes withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop taking it. Cocaine withdrawal should always be treated by a medical detox program so severe symptoms can be prevented.
What are the Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal?
When you stop using cocaine after becoming addicted to it, you will experience withdrawal. However, almost immediately after you stop binging on the substance you will experience a crash. This “crash” can cause you to feel extremely depressed and have uncontrollable urges to abuse more cocaine.
The crash is followed by withdrawal. Often, the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are psychological rather than physical, making it difficult for people on the outside to tell that you are experiencing withdrawal.
Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:
- Feelings of discomfort
- Increased appetite
- Vivid nightmares
- Slowed activity
- Cravings for cocaine
While these symptoms are usually not life-threatening, they can be difficult to cope with. The most dangerous part of cocaine withdrawal is the risk of relapse that comes without professional help. If you relapse on cocaine after a period of abstinence, you are at an increased risk of overdose.
The Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline
The timeline of cocaine withdrawal can vary from person to person depending on a variety of factors. For example, someone who was abusing the substance for years might deal with withdrawal symptoms that are more severe and longer lasting than an individual who was addicted to the substance for a couple of months.
However, most people follow this general timeline when it comes to cocaine withdrawal:
1 to 3 Days: The Crash
Between 1 to 3 days after your last dose of cocaine, you will begin experiencing what people refer to as “the crash”. During this time, you will experience irritability, anxiety, fatigue, and dysphoria. It is common to feel like you are coming down with the flu.
Day 4 to 14: Withdrawal
After the crash, you will enter a full-blown withdrawal. Your cravings for cocaine will become more severe, along with psychological symptoms like depression and lethargy. Cocaine withdrawal can last anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks depending on a variety of personal factors.
2 Weeks and More: Cravings
After the withdrawal has subsided, you might still experience sporadic cravings. A cocaine rehab program that can teach you how to cope with triggers and cravings healthily.
How is Cocaine Withdrawal Treated?
Cocaine withdrawal must be treated in the safety of a medical detox program. These programs will provide you with 24/7 supervision and medical monitoring to ensure that you are safe and healthy throughout the withdrawal process. Having access to emotional support can help alleviate the psychological symptoms you experience.
While other withdrawal symptoms from drugs like opioids and benzodiazepines are treated through a tapering medication, cocaine withdrawal is addressed a little bit differently. Because there is no specific medication that you can use to taper off cocaine, you will be given symptom-targeted medications. For example, if you are struggling with insomnia and depression, you will be given a sleep aid and an antidepressant medication.
In addition to symptom-specific medications, cocaine detox programs may offer group and individual therapies that teach you how to cope with cravings effectively. The most common types of therapies used for cocaine withdrawal are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM) or motivational interviewing (MI). These therapies can help you learn how to use positive coping mechanisms to overcome cravings after you experience a trigger.
After you are successfully detoxed, you will transition into further treatment. Depending on your needs, you will go to an inpatient or outpatient rehab program. These programs will teach you how to overcome the causes of your addiction while you learn how to maintain sobriety outside of a facility.
Finding Help for Cocaine Withdrawal
If you or a loved one suffer from cocaine addiction, it’s time to consider attending detox. Cocaine withdrawal can be incredibly difficult to cope with, putting you at risk of experiencing a relapse. At Mandala Healing Center, we can provide you with all of the tools and support you need to overcome withdrawal and maintain long-term sobriety.
To learn more about our cocaine addiction treatment program, contact Mandala Healing Center today.
- The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA): What is Cocaine, Retrieved June 2023 From https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-cocaine
- The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA): What is the Scope of Cocaine Use in the United States, Retrieved June 2023 From https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-scope-cocaine-use-in-united-states
- Medline Plus: Cocaine Withdrawal, Retrieved June 2023 From https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000947.htm