Cocaine is a powerful and highly addictive drug. People who are dependent on this stimulant drug can experience uncomfortable and potentially dangerous cocaine withdrawal symptoms when they try to reduce or stop cocaine use.
In this article, we will walk you through the various stages that occur during cocaine withdrawal. The goal is to help you understand what to expect and be better prepared to handle the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal. Reading this article will also help you understand the importance of seeking professional medical and psychological care for anyone who is experiencing withdrawal symptoms of cocaine.
If you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine addiction, please continue reading to find out more.
Why do people get cocaine withdrawal symptoms?
Cocaine is a stimulant drug that produces euphoria (elevated mood) and high energy by releasing large amounts of a natural brain chemical called dopamine.
When a person reduces cocaine use or stops using cocaine after a period of drug use, they experience what is called a cocaine crash almost immediately.
During this time, the person experiences strong cravings for cocaine as well as a range of mental and physical symptoms called cocaine withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms occur because the body is thrown off balance and has to unexpectedly adjust to changing levels of neurotransmitters (natural brain chemicals that trigger the brain’s reward and pleasure centers).
Why do some people have a bad cocaine crash?
The severity of the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine, also called a cocaine crash, depends on various factors, such as a person’s dose and frequency of cocaine use, the quality of the drug used, the method of use, other substances abused along with cocaine, and the person’s underlying health status.
What are the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine?
When a person who has been using cocaine regularly for some time reduces cocaine use or stops using the drug, they experience strong cravings for cocaine as well as cocaine withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure)
- Agitation or restlessness
- Depressed mood
- Generally feeling unwell
- Low energy
- Aches and pains
- Paranoia (extreme suspicion)
- Increased appetite
- Slowed movements and activity
- Seizures from cocaine withdrawal
- Vivid dreams
- Suicidal thoughts in some people
How long does cocaine withdrawal last?
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms usually last for a few days and disappear over time. However, this period of coming down from cocaine can last longer, up to several weeks or even months, in heavy cocaine users.
If the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are severe, a medically-supervised inpatient detox program is usually recommended. Doctors can use a range of medications to treat the withdrawal symptoms and keep the person safe and as comfortable as possible.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms: Step by Step
Stage 1 of cocaine withdrawal:
Stage 1 withdrawal symptoms occur within 24 hours of the last dose of cocaine and continue for around 7 days. Physical cravings for cocaine are the strongest during this time.
Common cocaine withdrawal symptoms during this time include anxiety, depression, increased appetite, fatigue, irritability, and lack of motivation.
Stage 2 of cocaine withdrawal:
This stage of cocaine withdrawal can last for 4-8 weeks. The physical withdrawal symptoms of cocaine become less, but the psychological symptoms are typically severe during this time.
Symptoms may include anxiety, irritability, lack of energy, depression, mood swings, restlessness, difficulty focusing, dysphoria (feeling unhappy), and psychological cravings for cocaine.
Stage 3 of cocaine withdrawal:
This is the last stage of cocaine withdrawal and can last for up to 6 months with lingering symptoms of mood changes, depression, and some cravings for cocaine.
Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
People who are heavy cocaine users or have used cocaine for a long time can sometimes develop a condition called post-acute withdrawal syndrome or PAWS. It consists of mostly psychological and mood-related symptoms that linger after the acute physical cocaine withdrawal symptoms have abated.
These symptoms can be severe and can come and go suddenly (they are often described as a rollercoaster of emotions). Episodes of PAWS can last for several days, and they put a person at risk of relapse to cocaine use unless they are treated at a professional addiction treatment center.
Benefits of seeking cocaine treatment
Getting professional cocaine treatment from a team of experts can make all the difference between staying cocaine free and relapsing to drug use. The best cocaine treatment programs address all the underlying causes that led to drug use in the first place and take an evidence-based approach to cocaine addiction treatment.
At RosGlas Recovery, we offer customized cocaine treatment programs at our luxury therapy retreats with 5-star hospitality, including a private chef, driver, and stay at a luxurious residence. Our team of experts only treats one person at a time at our exclusive and private therapy retreat set in the beautiful Irish countryside. This ensures undivided care and attention and complete privacy and discretion.
Our treatment approach involves addressing the psychosocial and emotional reasons for cocaine use to give you or your loved one the best chance of long-term recovery. We use a range of therapies including psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, biochemical restoration, and family therapy.
We also offer complementary therapies such as reflexology, massage, equine therapy, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and more to make the entire experience of cocaine recovery as comprehensive as possible.
If you or a loved one is battling a cocaine addiction, get in touch with RosGlas Recovery at +353 1 458 3575 today and take the first step towards turning your life around.