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How to stop taking cocaine

Are you ready to face a cocaine habit?

Many people do not realize that cocaine is a highly addictive drug that directly targets the central nervous system. Cocaine’s addiction liability is one of the reasons that it has been scheduled as a narcotic, illegal drug in the U.S. And  people who use cocaine frequently are at seriously high risk of physical and psychological dependence.

So, how do you stop using cocaine? Can you just quit on your own? What happens once you stop taking cocaine? Find out what to expect after you stop a cocaine habit and how to safely do so here. Then, we invite your questions and comments about quitting cocaine at the end.

Can I just stop taking cocaine?

It depends.

In general, it is advisable to consult a medical professional before quitting cocaine. There are many factors involved when deciding on a course for cessation, the major one being your level of dependence and/or addiction. If you are highly addicted to cocaine, the answer to this question would be, “No,” as severe cravings are very likely to occur. Heavy users find it difficult to just stop, as they battle the strong urge to use to relieve the symptoms.

If you are an occasional user, it might be more likely that you can just stop taking cocaine, however, keep in mind that you will need to modify behaviors and be aware of triggers in order to avoid future use. So how should you get off cocaine? Let’s first explore what happens in the brain and body after you quit using cocaine.

What happens when you stop taking cocaine?

If you’ve been taking cocaine for a longer period of time, chances are that your body has gotten used to its presence and will protest when you stop. Why?  Cocaine works on the brain as a stimulant and causes the body to over-produce depressant effects in order to balance out. So once you stop using cocaine, these effects become noticeable. And when cocaine is no longer in the system, the central nervous system’s adapted functions only gradually normalize over time.

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During the period when cocaine starts to exit the body – also known as withdrawal – you can expect to experience a set of symptoms commonly referred to a withdrawal symptoms. After a period of regular use, the body needs time to “figure out” how to regain homeostasis. So, when you stop taking cocaine… symptoms follow.

Side effects when you stop taking cocaine

Getting off cocaine is a good thing, a great decision!,  but it comes with a set of adverse side effects. The common side effects that occur when you quit taking cocaine can include:

  • depression
  • disturbed sleeping
  • fatigue
  • feeling agitated
  • increased appetite
  • slowing down of activity

Even though the effects are not physically tormenting, they should not be underestimated since they can still cause cravings and provoke relapse. This is why experts strongly recommended you consider emotional-psychological support during the first week or so of quitting cocaine until the side effects wear off.

Stop taking cocaine suddenly

Suddenly stopping cocaine is certainly not pleasant for your body or mental health. In fact, this method can increase the likelihood of relapse, as side effects can be more severe and intense. Instead, get your body physically and mentally ready to cope with the absence of cocaine by means of slowly tappering down your dose. However, there are some cases when quitting cocaine cold turkey may be best.

Stop taking cocaine cold turkey

Heavy users may want to consider a cold turkey cocaine detox if there are not other viable options available for a controlled taper. However, going cold turkey off cocaine can provoke the so-called “crash period,” which is manifested by accompanied by a strong craving for more cocaine. When severe cravings occur, people often reach for other abusive substances or can even consider extreme ideas like suicide. This is why medical supervision is crucial during cocaine detox.

How do I stop taking cocaine?

Consult a medical professional such as a medical doctor, psychiatrist, or an addiction therapist (licensed psychologist) before you try to quit cocaine. While it is possible to quit without professional assistance, doing it on your own isn’t recommended, as it can be dangerous due to unstable mental health issues. A doctor can determine if a treatment facility may be best for you, or not, and will advise you on how to address withdrawal symptoms and be most comfortable during the process.

How to stop taking cocaine safely

Simply, the best way to stop taking cocaine safely is to seek medical assistance. Medical and mental health professionals can help you determine what is the safest way for your individual case, as all cases are unique and depend on a number of factors such as:

  • age
  • co-occuring disorders
  • general health
  • gender
  • medical history
  • level of dependence

If you are determined to quit cocaine on your own, stay surrounded by close and positive people. And seek help though support groups, psychotherapy, and/or people who your trust.

How to stop taking crack questions

In this article, we tried to cover the most common ways people quit cocaine and deal with the associated withdrawal symptoms. If you have additional questions about how to stop taking cocaine, feel free to ask us in the comments section below. We will try to respond to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NIH: Drug Facts on Cocaine
Medline Plus: Cocaine withdrawal

Photo credit: Nemo

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8 Responses to “How to stop taking cocaine
Tucker
11:28 am September 21st, 2015

How does my friend quite smoking crack she wants her life back but needs it even to get outta bed???

4:18 pm September 23rd, 2015

Hello Tucker. She can detox on her own without serious risks, but staying sober is the difficult part. She will need structured recovery treatment to help her deal with cravings and triggers that can be expected to hit hard in the following period, as well as occasionally in the future. If withdrawal symptoms are too harsh don’t hesitate to take her to the hospital. As for the period that follows, she will need to join a therapy group or attend counseling sessions to learn how to cope with all the challenges that await ahead and stay sober.

Debbie
8:42 am January 17th, 2016

I started occasional cocaine use in February/March of 2015. Am I considered a chronic user? i need, want, and am going to stop. I’m afraid of the physical side affects and what will happen to me. I do take blood pressure medicine. I know I will need support through this although I’m afraid to go to a group as someone might know me, but I know I’ll need help.

ian
12:06 am November 18th, 2016

iv tried your other sites but got no reply please help with advice i have been injecting rock and heroin at least 4 times a week. i have got a last chance alcohol detox. my liver and kidneys are not well due to hep.c.is my anxiety down to the coke? i have got a 70ml methadone script per day & when i get out of detox i will stick to it. after 20 odd years im ready but am realy scared the anxiety wont stop. iv got no chance of any sort of benzo script. what can i do? please reply thanks. E

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:52 pm December 22nd, 2016

Hi Ian. Call the helpline you see on the website to speak with a trusted treatment consultant.

Kaylee
8:24 pm January 1st, 2017

Hi guys,
I know nothing about drugs and hope I can find some help here.
My neighbor’s adult son has started to come round our building and cause bother, and I am wondering if his behaviour indicates cocaine use?
This man storms in at all hours of the day and night, though he is not a resident, slamming doors, racing up stairs and so on.
I need to stress here that this is WAY, way beyond any normal noise caused by coming and going. He is of slight build but sounds more like a 300lbs football player, please trust me on that. It’s as if he has power surging through him way beyond his size. I have never heard anyone make so much noise, it’s like something you would hear on a construction site not an apartment building.
I am a young single female and would not be able to intervene if he became violent, and I cannot get advice on what might be behind this but from reading your blog and other sites I am thinking it could be cocaine.
He talks very loudly and excitedly – almost to the point of shouting – while others are having normal conversations.
This usually lasts for about 30 minutes at a time, and resumes following a lull.
The man appears highly agitated and upset – and angry – for no reason, yet on other (rare) occasions comes and goes more or less normally.
On one visit he suddenly started talking about people being decapitated, and out of the blue, through gritted teeth threatened to stab his parent in the head, before continuing his meal as if he had commented on the weather. He was not fooling around or joking on this, trust me.
I could see from the non-reaction of other members of the family there that this sort of outburst is not unusual for them to hear.
Anytime he stays over he doesn’t go to bed but, makes the sort of noise I outlined above until until he leaves, which is at 2am or later. We live in a small town and he doesn’t work the nightshift so I can’t think of where he would be going to, nor do I care about his private business but because of all of this sleep is impossible for the rest of us.
Can someone offer me some advice on whether these are likely symptoms of cocaine use or would it be some other drug?
I am pretty sure alcohol is NOT involved in this case, incidentally.
I don’t want to go into too many details on this person.
All his family know about the way he goes on, and I suspect approaching any of them about this would only make matters worse, particularly for me. A friend of mine is a recovering alcoholic and I know from her that families often ‘normalize’ even the oddest behavior which seems to be what is going on here.
Any comments on this would be welcome guys. I really need some of your expertise here.
I want to have some insights so I can follow up and get this sorted out. Thanks in advance.

Kaylee.

Prateek
6:31 pm February 20th, 2017

hi i want to quit cocaine i usualy do cocaine on weeksends just to party longer…..please help me

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:05 pm March 2nd, 2017

Hi Prateek. I suggest that you call the helpline displayed on the site to speak with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find the best treatment options for you.

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