Cocaine was originally taken out of the coca trees and used as a painkiller. Cocaine itself is a powder or crystal form stimulant drug that is usually mixed with cornstarch, talcum powder, and/or sugar. Cocaine can also be mixed with other drugs such as procaine (a local anesthetic) or amphetamines.
Most people sniff cocaine so that its powder gets into the bloodstream through the nasal tissues. You can also ingest cocaine, rub it into your gums, inject it into your body, or inhale it as vapor or smoke. Cocaine is very dangerous and addictive. As a result, consuming it could lead to cocaine withdrawal that forces you to need detox from cocaine.
When consumed, cocaine creates a euphoric feeling that its users quickly develop a tolerance to. This makes them feel the need to consume more and more of it. Because of how dangerous and addictive cocaine is, it is illegal to use or have in the U.S.
To gain a better understanding of how dangerous using cocaine is, you should look into all the withdrawal symptoms that cocaine use can cause. When having the withdrawal symptoms that cocaine use causes, you’ll have to attend detox as part of your addiction treatment program.
Detox from Cocaine
Detox is the removal of all toxic substances from your body’s system. People attend detox programs as the first step in their attempts to become sober. While in detox from cocaine, doctors will work with you to wean yourself off it. Toward the end of your detox, substance abuse specialists should work with you to create a custom treatment plan to follow once your detox is over.
Different Forms of Cocaine Detox
Like most detox programs, cocaine detox can occur in different forms. You should choose the form of detox that you’ll use based on the severity of your withdrawal symptoms and addiction, as well as your own lifestyle and needs.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient vs. Holistic Cocaine Detox
Inpatient cocaine detox requires that you live at the detox facility at which you’re receiving treatment. You should look into receiving inpatient detox from cocaine if you need medical attention or have intense addiction and withdrawal symptoms that require 24/7 monitoring.
Outpatient detox from cocaine allows you to go home after receiving treatment during the day. This means that you’ll be discharged during outpatient cocaine detox even if you have withdrawal medications. Therefore, you should only attend outpatient detox from cocaine if you are stable enough to not need monitoring at night. You should also only attend outpatient detox from cocaine if you have a stable home environment with people who are respectful and supportive of your addiction recovery journey.
While in holistic detox from cocaine, you’ll participate in activities and programs that are meant to heal your body, mind, and soul. Examples of holistic detox programs include yoga and meditation, art therapy, and music therapy. The holistic detox approach does not use medication. Instead, it aims to provide you with a better sense of life balance and control without a dependency on chemicals.
Goals of Cocaine Detox
While you are in detox from cocaine, you and the medical professionals and substance abuse specialists working with you should aim to achieve the following goals:
- Manage and monitor your withdrawal symptoms
- Evaluate any possible co-occurring mental health issues
- Establish a sense of comfort and support
- Provide education on substance use
- Establish sobriety
- Take measures to prevent relapse
What is Cocaine Withdrawal?
Cocaine withdrawal happens to people who regularly use cocaine and develop a physical dependence on it. When they abruptly stop using it, they can experience painful symptoms. These make the person want to keep using cocaine so that symptoms go away.
Risks of Cocaine Withdrawal
Consuming cocaine is dangerous. This is partly because of how dangerous cocaine withdrawal is. For example, if people abuse cocaine and alcohol at the same time, they could have cardiac issues during withdrawal. People who abuse cocaine and alcohol together also increase their chances of developing an arrhythmia (improper beating of the heart) or having a heart attack.
People who experience cocaine withdrawal also put themselves at risk of developing seizures. Other risks of cocaine withdrawal include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Anger and irritability
- Violence and aggression
- Increased anxiety
Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline
Cocaine withdrawal happens in stages based on how much time has passed. There are different symptoms that occur within each stage. People with severe cocaine dependency will likely have their withdrawal happen in the stages listed below.
The first few days of cocaine withdrawal are the “crash” stage. In this stage, people’s energy levels decrease to the point of extreme fatigue and sleepiness. People in this stage will continuously be in a poor mood.
Users will also exhibit unexplainable cold and flu-like symptoms. Intense cravings will exist in this stage, along with restlessness. Mentally, people will suffer from confusion and disorientation.
During this stage, people will exhibit feelings of anxiety, agitation, and paranoia. They will also exhibit disrupted sleep patterns and negative emotions. Cravings for cocaine will still be strong as well.
Once people with cocaine withdrawal reach their second week without use, the worst of their withdrawal symptoms will dissipate and their appetites will increase. Cocaine cravings will decrease a bit in intensity. The moods of these people will get better around this time as well. However, anxiety, agitation, and disrupted sleep will persist during this stage. People may even experience nightmares.
During the third week of detox from cocaine, withdrawal symptoms will worsen again. Mood swings become more apparent during this stage. This is partly because people tend to go back and forth between feelings of depression and feelings of irritability around this week in the withdrawal process. It is also during the third week of withdrawal that cravings increase and dreams become even more vivid and scary. At this point, the risk of relapse is still high.
During this week of withdrawal, the intensity of your cravings, along with other symptoms, should decrease again. Mood swings, anxiety, agitation, and sleeping issues will still occur, though. Right now, your mind and body are adjusting to life without drugs.
Three to Six Months (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome)
The cocaine withdrawal process usually lasts about a month. Some people with cocaine addiction may go through an extra stage called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). The PAWS stage is characterized by a recurrence of strong cocaine cravings several months after sobriety, along with depression, mood swings, and agitation.
Factors of the Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline
The cocaine withdrawal timeline will differ for everyone. For example, the number of stages, length of each stage, and symptoms within each stage of cocaine withdrawal can vary.
Factors that influence how your cocaine withdrawal timeline will turn out include:
- Length of time you used cocaine
- Average dosage of cocaine you would use
- Whether you have a physical dependence on two or more substances
- Living in a stressful environment
- If you suffer from any co-occurring medical or mental health issues
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
Like the ones stated in the cocaine withdrawal timeline example above, numerous symptoms come with cocaine withdrawal. Most of them are psychological.
Examples of cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slowed thinking
- Slowed activity or physical fatigue after activity
- Not being able to get sexually aroused
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Vivid and scary dreams and nightmares
- Physical symptoms such as chills, tremors, muscle aches, and nerve pain
- Increased cocaine cravings
- Increased appetite
Medical Detox for Cocaine Withdrawal
Medical detox for cocaine addiction and dependency is done in a hospital or hospital-like environment with constant medical supervision. Because of how life-threatening some cocaine withdrawal symptoms can be, you must have medical supervision during cocaine detox. Medical detox for cocaine addiction is also necessary if the patient has relapsed during past withdrawal attempts.
Medical detox is beneficial when treating any sort of co-occurring disorder during detox. This is because medical detox can provide medication-assisted treatment for both your substance use disorder and your mental illness. Plus, the 24-hour mandatory medical supervision of patients in medical detox is necessary for those suffering with depression and suicidal thoughts.
What Medications Can You Use to Treat Cocaine Withdrawal?
Unlike other drugs, there is no FDA-approved medication that specifically treats cocaine withdrawal. Therefore, medical detox for cocaine addiction and treatment is more about having medical professionals there to help patients manage their symptoms naturally.
After Cocaine Detox
After your detox from cocaine addiction and dependency is over, you should attend cocaine addiction treatment. Because of how prevalent depression and anxiety is in the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, we suggest attending a program that provides substance use treatment and mental health treatment. Therapeutic tools that would be effective in cocaine addiction treatment include cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, motivational interviewing, and The Matrix Model.
We’ve Got Everything You Need at Phoenix Rising Recovery
At Phoenix Rising, we offer a variety of different inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for many different substances, one of which happens to be cocaine. We also offer a variety of addiction therapy services throughout all of our treatment programs, including those for people who need dual diagnosis treatment.
Not only do we provide high-quality addiction treatment at Phoenix Rising; we also provide drug detox. This means that you can receive your detox from cocaine at Phoenix Rising and then go straight into one of our addiction treatment programs. It’s a win-win!
To learn more about Phoenix Rising and our detox and addiction treatment programs, contact us today.