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Cocaine withdrawal is something that occurs when someone cuts down their usage or completely stops.

Cocaine is a white powdery substance made from the coco plant from South America. According to the Foundation for a Drug Free World, this drug is the second most trafficked substance of illegal drugs globally. Cocaine reacts with the body’s nervous system by creating states of euphoria and bursts of energy. It is a central nervous system stimulant and works by stimulating dopamine production in the brain. Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain which is associated with pleasure and reward.

Cocaine is often snorted but can be smoked, known as “freebasing,” or injected directly into the bloodstream. When cocaine is heated and processed, it becomes crack cocaine, which is often smoked. It is a highly addictive substance with a relatively short “high” life span, typically lasting from 15 to 30 minutes. Even so, nearly 1,800 Americans experiment with this drug daily.

One of the most significant signs of addiction to this highly addictive drug is a person who is ignoring the consequences that follow frequent use due. These may be financial or work-related, legal troubles and troubles with family and other relationships. This drug is addictive not only physically but psychologically, which can be addressed in detox and treatment to begin to recover.

Cocaine Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

Cocaine withdrawal occurs when someone cuts down their usage or completely stops. The effects are not so much physical as they are psychological and come with their own set of challenges. Physical symptoms can include chills, tremors, muscle aches, and nerve pain. Other cocaine withdrawal signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Agitation or restless behavior
  • Depression
  • Inability to feel pleasure, also known as Anhedonia
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Slowed activity
  • General discomfort
  • Increased appetite
  • Vivid nightmares and unpleasant dreams
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Cocaine cravings
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline

The cocaine withdrawal timeline varies from person to person and depends on several factors. In acute cases, and because cocaine is a very short half-life drug, withdrawal symptoms can start as soon as 90 minutes after the last dosage and last anywhere from 7-10 days. However, this largely depends on the length of use, the size of the dose, any other co-occurring mental health or medical issues, and whether a person is using other drugs or alcohol.

Here is a breakdown of a three-phase detox:

  • The Crash: after an individual has been using quite heavily, a sudden onset of extreme fatigue, increased appetite, and a mixture of depression, anxiety, irritation appears, also referred to as “the crash.” This can last just a few days.
  • Withdrawal: following the crash comes the withdrawal phase, which can last roughly ten days. Symptoms during this stage can include mood swings, increased appetite, lethargy, and low concentration. During this phase, cocaine cravings will increase.
  • Extinction: during the final stage, which can last up to 6 months, an individual will experience some cravings and low mood.

Cocaine detox can be accomplished through outpatient means; however, medical detox may be necessary. Suppose there are any co-occurring mental health or medical issues present. In that case, medical detox can provide a comprehensive inpatient addiction treatment plan that would address withdrawal management and mental health needs.

Are you or a loved one struggling with cocaine addiction? You are not alone. We are here for you, and we are here to help.