According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over five million people in the U.S. used cocaine in 2020. Taking it regularly causes physical and psychological dependence, so once someone cuts down or quits using this drug, they will have to combat various cocaine withdrawal symptoms. Want to learn more about these symptoms, the timeline, and detox treatment to help a friend or loved one recover? Check out the article below.
Mental and physical withdrawal symptoms result from cocaine detox, but the former is usually more difficult to beat. Every user may also experience different symptoms, depending on several factors like age, sex, medical history, and individual use of cocaine. However, being aware of the following signs and symptoms will help one know how to help a cocaine-dependent person.
Failing to eat properly while under the influence of cocaine may have worsened this problem. Thus, it is essential to supplement one’s cocaine detox process with a healthy diet. Eating smaller portions is also recommended for a smoother transition.
Strong Cocaine Cravings
If someone’s experiencing cocaine withdrawal, they are anticipated to crave cocaine more. While these individuals want to mitigate the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, they may also feel that urge to feel that sense of euphoria from taking cocaine. Such cravings for cocaine may also be felt an hour and a half after the last dose, especially for those people highly dependent on the drug.
Another common symptom of cocaine withdrawal is constant tiredness or weakness. Apart from the stimulating effects of the drug, sleep deprivation and different activities from being high on cocaine also make one more exhausted.
Cocaine withdrawal comes with sleeping problems too. Although the person feels extreme tiredness, they will still have trouble sleeping. If they’re able to fall asleep, they tend to have vivid unpleasant dreams. Others suffer from insomnia or hypersomnia, which means having too much sleep.
Cocaine helps one feel that sense of pleasure because of increased levels of dopamine. However, when the brain no longer gets such amounts of dopamine after cutting down on cocaine, the person then experiences depression.
Suicidal Thoughts and Actions
Following depression, cocaine withdrawal may also cause someone to be suicidal. This is especially the case when a cocaine-dependent individual abruptly stops using the drug. Feelings of worthlessness prevail when they no longer experience that “high” feeling from cocaine. That’s why intervention is crucial in helping these individuals manage the cocaine withdrawal symptoms.
Some users may experience anhedonia, where they can’t feel pleasure. Others don’t feel sexual arousal either. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms also include paranoia, slowed thinking, concentration struggles, mood changes, and irritability. Meanwhile, other physical symptoms include nerve pain, muscle aches, and chills.
While symptoms of cocaine withdrawal may be addressed after 10 days or less, the recovery period might last longer and even occur again after being sober for several years.
During the first one to three hours, symptoms will surface immediately after one tries to quit taking the drug. The individual will then begin to feel restless, irritable, and anxious. They will also have an increased appetite and cocaine cravings.
Then, in the first week, cocaine cravings grow. They will have difficulty sleeping and even have vivid, awful dreams. Sudden mood changes and depressive states are also common. In weeks two to four, the individuals will continue to feel depression and an increased desire to take cocaine. They will also have trouble focusing on certain things.
In the fifth week, cocaine withdrawal symptoms decrease, and the person’s mind and body start to recover. However, feelings of anxiety and cocaine cravings may still resurface 10 or more weeks after. The differences in cocaine withdrawal timeline are caused by different elements. These include the following:
Some people would use cocaine to escape or cope with a high-stress environment. Thus, if they feel stressed again, they may crave more cocaine. This means that school and work-related problems, relationship struggles, unhealthy family environment, and other similar factors may be a catalyst for stronger cocaine cravings. In turn, the psychological withdrawal symptoms might worsen.
If an individual has been dependent on cocaine for several years, the withdrawal symptoms might last for weeks, months, or even years. This is partly because of the cocaine’s buildup on one’s body. Meanwhile, if the person only used cocaine for a relatively short period, the symptoms of withdrawal may also be addressed earlier.
Dosage and frequency contribute largely to the extent of withdrawal symptoms. If the person has used relatively bigger amounts of cocaine at more frequent intervals, they will likely deal with more extreme symptoms of withdrawal compared to the one taking less.
If a family member, friend, or colleague uses cocaine and has a preexisting condition, the withdrawal detox may prove a little bit harder. These health issues include personality disorders, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and cardiovascular diseases.
If an individual has a history of dependence on at least two substances, they will have to deal with the withdrawal symptoms that come with those drugs. Thus, the withdrawal process becomes more complicated.
Cocaine does not have medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that are meant for cocaine withdrawal treatment. However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), they support the development of medications for this drug. Several studies also show the potential effects of specific medications for cocaine withdrawal.
For instance, a 2013 study published in Science Translational Medicine highlighted that a combination of naltrexone and buprenorphine may be beneficial to people experiencing cocaine withdrawal.
In another study that explored new medications for cocaine dependence, propranolol was shown helpful in facilitating stable abstinence from cocaine use. As a beta-blocker, propanol is used to treat hypertension and angina or chest pain that results from lower blood flow to the heart.
It helps manage agitation and anxiety too. Thus, propranolol may also relieve anxiety caused by cocaine withdrawal and other related symptoms, like depression and suicidal thoughts. Given that feelings of anxiety and restlessness may be mitigated, the whole withdrawal process will also be more manageable.
Specific symptoms of cocaine withdrawal may be addressed through medications like trazodone or Benadryl for insomnia. Other medications could help regulate one’s mood and manage depression. Healthcare professionals, however, need to assess each case thoroughly while considering the side effects, including psychological and addictive behaviors.
Cocaine detox programs aim to help overcome withdrawal symptoms, offer education on substance use, provide the necessary support, prevent relapse, and address other current psychological conditions. While cocaine detox may be possible in an outpatient setting, it’s not always safe.
Also, specific circumstances require an inpatient procedure also called medical detoxification. This applies to family members who have been reliant on cocaine and have an existing mental health condition.
By simply searching for a “cocaine detox center near me,” one can get a medical detox complete with thorough addiction treatment in an inpatient setting. As a result, both the mental health issues and the cocaine withdrawal symptoms will be managed.
At NorthStar, medical doctors who are also substance-use disorder specialists will develop a detoxification plan based on the individual’s condition and needs. Thus, a safe, effective, and comprehensive detoxification process is guaranteed.
Moreover, medical detoxification is beneficial for people experiencing relapse after trying cocaine withdrawal. The experienced medical team at NorthStar works is available 24/7 to make sure that the entire cocaine detox process remains safe and smooth-sailing.
The detox process can last from five to seven days, and the staff and doctor will be there from start to finish. Thus, the patient and the family can expect to get the right amount of help in overcoming both the physical and psychological effects of detoxification. With sufficient support, patients can then focus on faster healing.
Cocaine withdrawal can be tough and painful, given the different symptoms like increased appetite, fatigue, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Also, the cocaine withdrawal timeline may vary depending on several factors. While patients can have cocaine detox at home, it’s best to prioritize safety. Looking for trusted “cocaine detox center near me” options that will address you or your family’s needs? Contact NorthStar today!