While the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are often milder and shorter lived than those caused by other substances, these withdrawal symptoms come with their own challenges. If you are seeking recovery from cocaine use, then you’ll want to know what can happen during the detox process.
We will cover the most common cocaine withdrawal symptoms, how long they are expected to last, the detox timeline and several treatment options that you might find helpful. We can help take you to that next step in your recovery.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
As you might know, many substances have withdrawal symptoms when you stop using them. Each substance influences your body in a different way. It’s very common for the withdrawal symptoms to be opposite to their normal effect. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that increases your feelings of energy. Many of the withdrawal symptoms might make you feel irritated, weak or sluggish. The good news is that the withdrawal symptoms are temporary as long as you continue with your recovery.
According to MedlinePlus, the most common cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Increased appetite
- Depressed or low mood
- Restlessness or agitation
- Unpleasant dreams
- Thoughts of suicide
These are the most common withdrawal symptoms, and you should be able to get through them if you don’t give in to cravings. While the withdrawal symptoms are not known to be fatal, you should still seek medical attention if your particular symptoms warrant an emergency visit.
One of the hardest parts about withdrawal symptoms for any substance is that you’ll feel very tempted to use the substance to get relief for your discomfort. A medical detox program ensures that you have the support needed to keep you on track.
Cocaine Detox Timeline
When should you expect to start feeling cocaine withdrawal symptoms, and how long will they last? There are many variables to consider, such as your history of use, how much you just used and how your body individually processes cocaine. While there is no way to be entirely precise, we can tell you the general detox timeline for cocaine.
The first thing you should know is that cocaine has a very short half-life. This refers to how long it produces a good feeling and keeps you there. You may have noticed that your energy reduces or crashes shortly after using cocaine. The typical response you might have is a desire to use more cocaine to ensure you keep feeling good, but you’re choosing to act differently now that you want to recover.
You may begin feeling the symptoms as soon as 90 minutes after your last use. These first symptoms tend to be mild, but they can be difficult to manage if you aren’t focused.
The majority of the difficult symptoms will clear up within 10 days. This is primarily due to the short half-life of cocaine. Your body should process through the cocaine in your body quickly. Be sure to speak with your doctor so that they can help you through this time.
Cocaine Behavioral Timeline
According to Mental Health Daily, the behavioral symptoms and cravings after you stop using cocaine can last much longer. You might continue to feel cravings from 10 to 30 weeks after your last use. However, most people who get through this period without using again will have a higher chance of prolonged recovery.
During this time, you will crave cocaine, but the cravings should reduce as you spend more time sober. While a doctor might be able to help with this, you may find more success with a counselor who can teach you coping skills to get through stress without using.
While a detox program is helpful for many substances, you might be wondering if you really need a medical detox program for cocaine. Are you able to get through and survive cocaine withdrawal on your own?
It would be irresponsible to say that everyone can get through withdrawal without a doctor because your particular presentation might change the prognosis. For example, those with heart, lung or other organ problems might have a harder time getting through withdrawal symptoms without help. Those with a history of psychological issues might also have trouble overcoming the various mental withdrawal symptoms.
Even if you are in relatively good health, you may want to consider a medical detox program. According to MedlinePlus, a medical detox program can be helpful in relieving your discomfort and helping you commit to sobriety. Start by considering your history with cocaine. Have you attempted to stop before but relapsed before building any significant sober time? Are the cravings or withdrawal symptoms so severe that they are reducing your quality of life? Do you experience co-occurring mental health concerns that make the psychological symptoms harder to get through?
These are questions that you should consider when deciding if a medical detox program is right for you. Not only will a detox program ensure that one of our doctors is watching over you and monitoring your symptoms, but you can also be prescribed medications to help make the withdrawal symptoms more manageable.
Are There Medications to Help With Cocaine Use?
Doctors have found some medications that help reduce cravings for certain substances. For example, there are numerous medications that assist with opioid and heroin use. You might be wondering if there are similar medication-assisted treatment options for cocaine.
Despite cocaine being a popular substance and many people suffering from addiction, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that there are currently no approved medications that help with cocaine cravings. Some medications have been found to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms. There are, unfortunately, none that help with the cravings.
This is typically why therapy and medical detox programs are recommended for those who want to overcome an addiction to cocaine. A medical detox program can care for your body and monitor the withdrawal symptoms while counseling will help with changing your thinking patterns and resisting cravings.
Outpatient and Intensive Outpatient Treatment
It is common for either outpatient or intensive outpatient therapy to be combined with medical detox. These are highly effective forms of therapy that can assist you during the cocaine recovery process. Both of these can also be combined if needed.
Outpatient therapy often includes individual therapy. This means that you and your therapist will meet for one-on-one sessions. While one weekly appointment is most common, you might meet more or less often depending on your needs.
This gives you a space to explore your thoughts, feelings and behaviors as a trained therapist helps guide you through the process. An evidence-based approach, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, is most common during addiction recovery. The counselor will help you understand your thought patterns and discover new ways of thinking. The benefit of individual therapy is that you can explore deep subjects without worrying about being judged.
Many people also find intensive outpatient programs, or IOP, to be very useful. This is a type of group therapy that is longer and more intensive than other forms of group therapy, but it’s still provided on an outpatient basis. This is good if you need more treatment time to help manage your cravings.
IOP therapy is typically offered three times a week, and the sessions last for three hours. That might sound long, but you’ll find that the time quickly passes as you explore your cravings with a supportive group. The benefit of group therapy is that you can meet with others who are also invested in their recovery. They can help you find new ways to think, manage cravings and cope with the difficulties of recovery.
While some people only need one or the other, it’s easy to combine both IOP and outpatient treatment so that you gain the benefits of both. We can talk to you about this when you contact us for treatment.
Self-help groups are very common when it comes to substance use treatment. Unlike IOP groups that are headed by a licensed counselor or social worker, self-help groups are headed by peers in the addiction community who are going through their own recovery. These groups are free and typically very welcoming to those seeking to stop using. In these groups, you may also find a sponsor, which is a more experienced member who is willing to be there when you need them.
The most popular self-help groups are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, known as AA and NA. While some cocaine users might go to these meetings and find them valuable, you might be looking for one specifically for cocaine use.
We can help connect you with a local Cocaine Anonymous, or CA, group. While CA groups are somewhat harder to find, they are available in many cities across the country. If one is available in your area, we recommend attending these groups as they will help you after therapy is over.
If you find that you are still relapsing even with outpatient treatment, IOP and self-help groups, then you might need a higher level of care. We also provide partial hospitalization programs. This type of treatment allows you to stay at our facility for eight hours a day. You can sign up for anywhere between five and seven days out of the week.
This is similar to inpatient treatment in that you will have access to doctors, therapists and other professionals while you are in our care. You can also go home at night to sleep in your own bed, which many clients enjoy. This allows you to be comfortable while getting a higher level of care for your needs.
Many people find this level of care to be helpful if they are continuing to relapse, if their environment is not supportive of recovery or if more treatment time is needed. If this sounds like you, then you may want to consider our partial hospitalization service. Just ask and we can tell you more.
At First City Recovery Center, we help clients overcome substance use. We offer a judgement-free and respectful place to confront your addiction and learn the necessary steps to overcome your cocaine use. It can be difficult opening a new chapter of your life and leaving substances behind. We want to make you as comfortable as possible while providing all the services you need to recover.
Whether you only need outpatient treatment or find that partial hospitalization or a more intensive service is right for you, we are here to help you through this difficult time. Contact us today to tell us about your needs, and we will work with you to assist in your recovery journey.