What to Expect When Detoxing and Withdrawing from Cocaine
Cocaine is an infamously addictive stimulant drug, with long-term use linked to a loss of smell, respiratory problems, bowel decay, a higher risk for HIV, malnourishment, and movement disorders. Cocaine users are also at risk for life-threatening overdose. The period of 2015 to 2016 saw a 52% increase in cocaine overdose deaths. Fortunately, with a medically-supervised cocaine detox, addicts can get well from cocaine safely.
Cocaine is dangerous enough on its own but, more frequently, individuals are finding their cocaine has been cut with fentanyl, an incredibly potent opioid that has taken many lives. With no way of knowing if this already incredibly dangerous substance has been laced with something even worse, abusing cocaine is riskier and deadlier than ever. It is imperative that individuals using cocaine seek professional medical treatment to avoid disaster.
How to Detox from Cocaine
The first step in treating cocaine use is to discontinue use and eliminate the drug from one’s system, known as detoxing. This can be undertaken in outpatient or inpatient settings under the supervision and guidance of medical professionals. Individuals with severe cases of cocaine abuse should strongly consider an inpatient cocaine detox setting for its safe environment and access to immediate care. During detox, one is highly likely to experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms.
Common Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
MedlinePlus explains that cocaine withdrawal differs from withdrawal from other substances in that there may not be visible physical symptoms that can be observed by others. However, cocaine withdrawal can still include numerous uncomfortable symptoms that require care:
- sleep issues
- transient craving
- cognitive impairment
- increased appetite
- suicidal ideation
The Course of Cocaine Withdrawal
The authors of “Models of Intervention and Care for Psychostimulant Users” write that the course of cocaine withdrawal differs among individuals to the point where its structure is debated by researchers. One phase-based model of cocaine withdrawal separates the process into a “crash” accompanied by dysphoria, irritability, anxiety, and severe tiredness; a “withdrawal” phase of increased cravings and lethargy; and an “extinction” phase where the individual occasionally experiences cravings, but is improved overall. The authors describe other research that has found different results among cocaine-dependent patients where these phases were not present, instead noting a simpler decrease in symptoms over time.
Regardless, most descriptions of cocaine withdrawal agree on the presence of such symptoms, their gradual decrease over a period of about a week to 10 days, and the possibility of continued symptoms remaining past the “acute” period of withdrawal. These may include an inability to feel pleasure, as well as feelings of paranoia, aggression, lethargy, and depression, among others.
Continued Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine is a vicious drug that is difficult to quit. Detox alone is often not enough to keep individuals from relapsing in the future. This is where a dedicated substance use treatment center can help. Such treatment centers give individuals the medical, psychological, and social care necessary to beat addiction and begin to heal.
Granite Recovery Centers in New Hampshire offers a hybrid model of treatment, focusing on 12-step work in combination with clinical care. This will arm the individual with the tools necessary to stop abusing cocaine and other dangerous substances, a supportive environment of care providers and fellow clients, and the life skills necessary to get back on track for recovery and to form better, healthier relationships and goals in one’s personal life. You can reach Granite Recovery Centers at 603-339-4160.