Wednesday September 28th 2016

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Detox from cocaine

Are you ready to detox from cocaine?

Here, we review common symptoms, the duration of cocaine withdrawal, and possible treatments. Then, we invite your questions about the process of finding help with cocaine withdrawal at the end. We try to respond to all legitimate queries with a personal and prompt reply.

What happens during cocaine detox?

Detoxification is a set of interventions which manage acute drug intoxication and/or withdrawal. During the process, a clearing of toxins from the body occurs in people dependent on substances of abuse. Detoxification seeks to minimize the physical harm caused by these substances. For cocaine, withdrawal usually does not involve medical danger or intense discomfort.

The most common set of events which occurs during detox from cocaine include:

  1. Physical, psychological, and medical history assessment
  2. Cocaine dependence assessment
  3. Symptomatic care and cocaine detox treatments
  4. Ongoing monitoring of symptoms, especially headache, chest pain, or suicidal thoughts
  5. Psychological and emotional support
  6. An active rehabilitative approach that combines entry into substance abuse treatment with support, education, and changes in lifestyle

Detoxing from cocaine time

Although the specific amount of time varies according to the individual, cocaine detox usually lasts between 5-14 day. This period may be longer or shorter, depending on the intensity of past use and severity of dependen, as well as the length of time the individual was using cocaine on a regular basis.

Detox from cocaine symptoms

During withdrawal from cocaine, it is common to experience powerful, intense cravings for cocaine. However, the “high” associated with ongoing use becomes less and less pleasant, and can produce fear and extreme suspicion rather than joy (euphoria). Just the same, the cravings may remain powerful. Additionally, it is important to note that symptoms which manifest during cocaine detox often disappear after several days of stimulant abstinence but can persist for 3 to 4 weeks.

Primary symptoms which present during cocaine detox may include:

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  • agitation and restless behavior
  • depressed mood
  • fatigue
  • generalized malaise
  • increased appetite
  • irritability
  • poor concentration
  • slowing of activity
  • trouble with sleep
  • vivid and unpleasant dreams

The craving and depression can last for months following cessation of long-term heavy use (particularly daily). Withdrawal symptoms may also be associated with suicidal thoughts in some people.

Treating symptoms of cocaine withdrawal

Stimulant withdrawal is not associated with severe physical symptoms and medications are seldom required as you withdraw. Because addicts can short from one addiction to another, all prescription drug use should be monitored carefully in people undergoing cocaine detox treatment. Still, the withdrawal from any chronic substance abuse is very serious. Risk of suicide, panic, or anxiety is high. In fact, at least half of all people addicted to cocaine have also been diagnosed with a co-occurring mental disorder (particularly depression and attention-deficit disorder). These conditions should be suspected and treated during cocaine detox. When diagnosed and treated, relapse rates are dramatically reduced. Note here that quitting cocaine cold turkey can intensify symptoms…another reason you need to seek medical help during withdrawal.

Detox from cocaine at home

Q: Can you detox from cocaine at home?
A: Yes, but it is not recommended.

Why?

While people who experience dependence on cocaine can detox at home quite easily with no medical treatment, it is not recommended as the preferred method. The main reason for this is that the temptation to relapse back to drug use is high. Because cravings for cocaine can be extreme, the mental dynamics involved can be better treated in a professional, clinical setting.

In fact, many addiction professionals suggest that a person who is addicted to cocaine seek professional help such as that found in a detox center, mainly for mental health purposes. If home detox is the only choice, it may be a good idea to see if the family doctor can prescribe something to help with some of the issues a person may run into during the process. It is also a good idea to be sure that you surround yourself by positive people, who are NOT using drugs, and who support your recovery.

Detox cocaine questions

Detoxification is a very serious process. You need to inform yourself before making a decision about where and how to get help. So, if you want some other tips or have something else to share, please use the section below. We will try to respond to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: MedlinePlus: Cocaine withdrawal
Health Guidance: How to detox from cocaine
NIDA: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment

Photo credit: Jesse Acosta

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