How Can I Withdraw from Cocaine?

Can Cocaine withdrawal be safe and effective? Yes, it can be. While it’s true that Cocaine withdrawal can have intense psychological effects, it is a necessary part of treating the addiction.

Cocaine withdrawal occurs when the effects of the drug wear off. This can happen even after the first use because Cocaine use produces a stimulation effect in the brain by releasing more dopamine. Dopamine causes joy or happiness, and more dopamine causes more of those sensations. Once the drug wears off, the crash that follows is awful, leading to feelings of fatigue and discontentment. If the individual has been using Cocaine for a longer period of time and has developed a tolerance or dependence on it, then their withdrawal symptoms can be more intense.


Timeline for Cocaine Withdrawal

How long does it take to withdraw from Cocaine? Cocaine provides a short, very intense high, and certain withdrawal symptoms can occur within an hour of last use. The first symptoms come in the form of intense cravings. Then the individual will experience a crash, which is the body returning to its functioning without the drug. These are the immediate effects of withdrawal.

Aside from the above, an individual may continue to feel symptoms that last for weeks or even longer. These could be cravings and depression, which tend to last for months. In this case it is important for the individual to seek behavioral therapy treatment to address the psychological symptoms of the withdrawal.

A general withdrawal timeline can look like this:

24 to 72 Hours

This is when the individual can expect to start to crash and be overcome with feelings of remorse and depression.  The individual’s brain will be sleep deprived during this period and they may feel extreme fatigue.

Week 1

In this period the individual starts to feel a lot better. Cravings for Cocaine appear to be manageable and the effects of the drug will seem to be wearing off. The individual will start to regain confidence in their ability to handle their addiction. Symptoms at this time are usually agitation, an increase in appetite and unpleasant dreams.

Week 2

This is generally when the cravings start to return, and the individual feels hungry, angry and depressed. They may have vivid dreams and start thinking about using again.

Weeks 3 to 4

A few weeks in, the individual can begin experiencing mood swings. They may still have trouble sleeping and be suffering from depression.

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms of Cocaine withdrawal differ a little bit from those of alcohol or other drugs because there typically aren’t any physical signs of withdrawal like nausea. Common Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Dissatisfaction with life
  • Fatigue
  • Generalized malaise
  • Increase in appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Vivid and unpleasant dreams

Severe cravings for more Cocaine are one of the most difficult symptoms of withdrawal. The individual who wants to withdraw from Cocaine must be prepared to face and deal with extreme cravings.

How Long do Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Safe Cocaine WithdrawalAs mentioned previously, Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can last a long time, more specifically from six months to two years. How long the symptoms last depends on the length of drug use and the amount of the doses, which determines the severity and length of the withdrawal period. If an individual has been a heavy user then the symptoms could last for years.

Individuals who have used Cocaine for extended periods of time may also experience Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS). These symptoms generally appear three to six months after the individual ceases Cocaine use, and occurs when the brain requires additional time to restore its normal functions after a long period of dependence on drugs.

Safe Withdrawal from Cocaine

Due to the lack of physical symptoms, Cocaine withdrawal is not as unstable as that from alcohol and other drugs. There is no need to monitor the individual’s physical withdrawal. The danger of Cocaine withdrawal lies in the severity of the psychological symptoms like depression and cravings. The safest way to withdraw from Cocaine is under the supervision of trained counselors, or in a treatment center, where the individual can be monitored for severe depression or suicidal thoughts.

It is not recommended to withdraw from Cocaine at home, because the individual will definitely need outside resources to help address the psychological symptoms that follow. It is best to avoid self medicating with other addictive substances in order to ease the symptoms.

The best way to withdraw is total abstinence. No medications exist to make Cocaine withdrawal any easier, therefore doing so under the guidance of medical professionals is imperative, as they will be able to treat any psychological symptoms and keep the individual on their path to recovery.

Are you or a loved one facing Cocaine withdrawal? At The Villa, we can answer your questions and help you find the right treatment for your recovery.