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How to withdraw from cocaine

Cocaine withdrawal can have intense psychological effects, but is a necessary part of treating cocaine addiction.  Most people don’t know that cocaine withdrawal can be both safe and effective. Find out more about the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal syndrome and how to cope with them here. Then, ask your questions about how to withdraw from cocaine at the end.

When do you withdraw from cocaine?

You can expect to withdraw from cocaine as soon as the effects of cocaine wear off, even after your first use.  Why is this?  Cocaine use produces a stimulation effect in the brain by releasing a higher level of the biochemical dopamine.  This causes a sensation of extreme joy or happiness.   But the crash after using cocaine feels awful.  You may feel fatigued, discontent, and depleted.  Natural levels of dopamine are low.  So whether you need help cocaine addiction or just coming of a high, you can expect to withdraw from cocaine.

Following a period of extended use, your body and mind may become dependent on cocaine in order to function normally. Dependence on cocaine is also characterized by tolerance, which means that you need to use more to gain the sensation of extreme joy, or the sensation that occurred when you first began use. If you have a tolerance and dependence on cocaine use, choosing to withdraw is a good idea.  Expect withdrawal from cocaine to be a little more intense, with more sever symptoms.

How long to withdraw from cocaine?

Cocaine use is characterized by a short-lived, very intense high, which causes certain withdrawal symptoms to occur within an hour of following the last use. The earliest onset of cocaine withdrawal symptoms comes in the form of extreme cravings. You will also experience the effects of a “crash”, which is your body returning to a state of functioning without cocaine. Crashing causes severe exhaustion and dysphoria (dissatisfaction with life) until your body reaches a state of normal functioning.

Aside from the immediate symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, there are also symptoms that may be present for weeks or even months. Depression and craving are symptoms that can be present for a very long period of time following the final use of cocaine. It is important to seek treatment, such as behavioral therapy, in order to address the psychological symptoms of cocaine withdrawal because of their severity and the length of time in which you will be affected.

Withdraw from cocaine symptoms

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms vary slightly from alcohol and other drugs because there are typically no physical signs of withdrawal, such as nausea or shakiness. However, when withdrawing from cocaine there are still very prominent symptoms that you will face. Withdraw from cocaine symptoms typically include:

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  • agitation
  • depressed mood
  • dissatisfaction with life
  • fatigue
  • generalized malaise
  • increased appetite
  • restlessness
  • slowing of activity
  • vivid and unpleasant dreams

When withdrawing from cocaine, you will also face severe cravings for more use. Cravings are one of the most difficult symptoms to face during the time of withdraw, because it makes it extremely difficult to abstain from use. When you decide to withdraw from cocaine, make sure you have are prepared for extreme cravings in order to avoid continued use.

How to ease withdrawal symptoms from cocaine

Currently there are no medications that ease withdrawal symptoms from cocaine. Because of this there is a temptation for people to use alcohol, sedatives or hypnotics to treat the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal. However, it is not recommended that you take this route. Use of alcohol or other potentially addictive drugs can cause risks to your health when attempting to withdraw from cocaine. It also presents the risk of transferring cocaine dependence to dependence on another substance. The best thing to ease cocaine withdrawal symptoms is treatment for psychological symptoms, like counseling and behavioral therapy.

How to withdraw from cocaine safely

Cocaine withdrawal is typically not as unstable as withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs. Because there are no physical symptoms, there is not a need to monitor your physical withdrawal from cocaine. However, because of the severity of the psychological symptoms, such as depression and craving, the safest way to withdraw from cocaine is under the supervision of drug counselors, or in a drug treatment center. This allows you to be safely monitored for severe depression or suicidal thoughts or intentions.

Can I withdraw from cocaine at home?

It is possible to withdraw from cocaine at home. However, it is strongly recommended that you seek outside resources to help address the psychological symptoms of cocaine withdrawal. As there are typically no physical cocaine withdrawal symptoms, you will not need to find a treatment method for those withdrawal symptoms. However, psychological symptoms can be severe and intense, so it is important to avoid self-medication with other addictive substances, like alcohol or sedatives. If you choose to withdraw from cocaine at home, finding social resources, such as Narcotics Anonymous or SMART recovery meetings, will be important.

Because of the severity of cravings and depression that are common in cocaine withdrawal, it is common to use other forms of unhealthy treatment, but it is necessary to remain abstinent from those substances while withdrawing from cocaine.

The best way to withdraw from cocaine

The best way to withdrawal from cocaine is complete abstinence. There are no medications or ways to make cocaine withdrawal easier, and the best way to withdraw is to do so under the supervision of drug counselors or doctors. It is important to have resources to deal with the psychological symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, and to be under the supervision of doctors in case there is severe depression or suicidal thoughts.

How to deal with withdrawal from cocaine questions

Are you facing cocaine withdrawal and have more questions regarding the process of withdrawal? Do you have expertise or experience with cocaine withdrawal, and wish to share your experience? Leave a comment below with any question, comment or concern and we will respond quickly and personally.

Reference Sources: Medline Plus: Cocaine withdrawal
NCBI: Cocaine withdrawal
University of Indiana: DSM IV Criteria for drug dependence

Photo credit: Paul Robert Lloyd

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27 Responses to “How to withdraw from cocaine
DG
3:49 pm June 5th, 2013

Not physiological symptoms? Would a possible deadly spike in Blood pressure characterize as a physical WD? Trying to stay on topic, there are certain herbs, and medications although not FDA approved for using when trying to deal with WD’s from stimulants. I say stimlants because should one experience them not just from cocaine, but even more so Adderall/amphetamines salts which is by far a more severe withdrawal for many to deal with both on a psychological and physiological one than cocaine after long term high dose usage or even for many taking normal dosages for a given period of time. Having gone through amphetamine withdrawals, while everyone reacts differently, there were lingering psychological symptoms experience for roughly 1-2months. I experienced sadness, anxiety, aggressiveness, anger, chronic low mood that DID not stabilize for awhile. Other symptoms included hyperthermia type symptoms, especially when awakening in the morning, constant fatigue(mental) muscular cramps and tension, especially stemming around outer ear down to shoulders. High blood pressure, do to anxiety but also the physical response body went through to try to get back to normalized state.
As far as what medications I took to finally be able to deal with all the physical withdrawals(relapsed multiple times before researching myself and finding what worked for me) this is what I would recommend speaking with your doctor about-There are a few choices. Gabapentin(Neurontin), primarily used for neurological pain, is also used at times to stabilize mood. It’s mechanism of action is not totally known. However, it is used and helpful for some do to it mood stabilizing effects and even energizing at certain dosages to help cope thorugh the initial physical withdrawals. Then there is , baclofen a Gaba B agonist drug. Be careful when starting it, as there could be some side effects of its own so make sure you start off very low on the dosage. It is used for MS, and other types of muscular issues, back spasms. It actually has some anti-craving as it slows down dopamine release. If your BP is high, Clonidine a medication used for multiple issues, such as Blood pressure and even off label for anxiety could be useful at night for sleep, along with lowering your BP which in return could help decrease the anxiety. It also helps with hypothermia type issues along with the Baclofen. Any of these combinations(clonidine for example used with Gabapentin) go well together in depleting physical WD’s and psychological. The major one that helped tremendously for mental fatigue was Nuvigil, a medication used for narcolepsy. While difficult to get from your doctor unless you are diagnosed with narcolepsy, some do prescribe for short term usage. It is expensive(VERY without insurance) so that is the major downside and unfortunate reality of using it versus not during withdrawals. Herbs such as skullcap, valerian for sleep and muscles, ginseng for energy. Amino Acids, although I wouldn’t recommend but some say it helps like L-tyrosine, B-vitamins(although could increase anxiety in those prone to panic attacks.) Velvet beans aka L-dopa. I can be wrong here but small dosages of Seroquel if you can’t attain any of the prescription medications listed above is useful possible for sleep. It also acting as a dopamine antagonist may trick your brain into thinking it doesn’t have enough dopamine and will start actually desensitizing your dopamine receptors. It may also create new endorphins kind of like naltrexone does with the pain receptors.

dick
1:30 am April 28th, 2015

Does Lorazapam ease withdrawsls?

1:35 pm April 28th, 2015

Hi Dick. Only if taken as recommended by doctor. Otherwise you are risking to shift addiction from one drug to the other, and that does not solve the whole issue.

Allen
4:42 pm May 4th, 2015

I believe that my ex fiancé is possibly addicted to cocaine or other pills she comes from an alcoholic family and I believe she is an alcoholic as well our relationship is ended and for six months after she left it was kind of on-again off-again knowing that I still love her and miss her I am able to recognize the fact she is very manipulativeand she lies and sneaks she was married twice before I met her both marriages failed her first marriage she cheated on him per second marriage it was to a man who is an alcoholicshe went through a lot of sexual abuse as a child she’s never dealt with any of it and she goes back-and-forth between the exes and she has done this since leaving me currently she’s living with her first husband who is a known crack user I just wish that I could help her I wish that she wanted to get help I’m convinced that we love each other deeply at one time but I think the addiction takes hold because every time things were bad between us she would leave to go drink or do whatever with her friends speaking of which I feel the friends are very negative force in her life she feels as though she needs them and she will do whatever they do just to fit in she’s not the type of strong-willed personWho will say I’m going to love who I want to love she’s very motivated by what her friends think I remember during our time together she always had headaches and I wonder if maybe that was because she was trying not to use she never told me of any of these issues so in a sense I feel I was lied too but I guess I’m just wondering how do I get her help her family axes though it’s her problem to figure out well if she’s not a very strong-willed person and has an addictive personality how can they possibly think she’s ever going to realize she needs help and she’s not strong enough to ask for it even if she wanted help I’m just very confused and I don’t know what to do

2:13 pm May 8th, 2015

Hi Allen. I believe she, as well as you would benefit psychotherapy or counseling. The things that have happened in her life need to be opened and discussed. Talking sessions can also help you get your thoughts together and you may also learn how to positively influence her and support her when she accepts addiction treatment.

Chelsea
1:43 am June 2nd, 2015

Hi. My boyfriend recently quit using cocaine. He used for about 5 years on and off. Mostly on weekends. He has been getting really nauseous and agrees that it is from quitting and is also depressed. He does not want to go talk to a doctor. Is there anything I can do to help or any vitamins he can be taking to help?

4:48 pm June 29th, 2015

Hi Chelsea. You can go to the pharmacy to purchase some general over-the-counter medications that can help relieve his nausea and other symptoms he may be experiencing. Also, if he starts struggling with staying sober, I suggest he joins counseling and psychotherapy sessions to help him stay in recovery.

Tucker
11:35 am September 21st, 2015

Can you withdrawl at home off daily use and also having ptsd? Is it safe?

4:04 pm September 23rd, 2015

Hi Tucker. I highly recommend being monitored by a medical professional, especially with a heavier use history. Home detox is possible, but the mental condition and detox may be too much for a person to tackle on their own.

Debbie
7:01 am October 30th, 2015

I’m a ” functioning addict ” for over 25 years.. I am also on methadone. 25 years on cocaine and every time I try to stop it’s agonizing… The cravings are too intense! I have NY medicaid but no one will accept me for in patient! I’m 53 and so very tired!

ANNE
3:00 am November 7th, 2015

my doctor gave me Wellbutrin or Zyban as they sometimes call it. He says it will replace the dopamine I am missing now that im off coccaine. Is this true or will it be more dangerous for me? Please help

7:24 pm November 10th, 2015

Hello Anne. Yes, Wellbutrin (Bupropion) will replace the dopamine that you are missing. Here’s a trusted article for further readings: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC514842/

Sarah
8:00 pm December 1st, 2015

hi my partner is on his 4th week of withdrawal off cocaine.. his mood swing r getting more offered and he is starting to get anxiety in the evenings.. how can I help him ..

2:23 pm December 2nd, 2015

Hi Sarah. After about a month in cocaine withdrawal and recovery, people usually start to experience unaccountable change of mood, which is exactly what you are observing in your partner. Sleep and depression may also still be a problem. These issues can be addressed through exercise and a healthy diet. It’s best to ask help from a doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist to learn more about behavioral, psychological and pharmacological (antidepressant) therapies that can help. This is a crucial period because many former cocaine users cannot handle stress, so relapse is common during this time.

Sarah
8:02 pm December 2nd, 2015

hi thanks for the advise.. at this time goin to doctors is a big no due to working commitments workin 11/12 hours a day. do you know where we can find any evening/weekend groups to attend Nt just for him but for me as I’m find in hard at times.

2:15 pm December 3rd, 2015

Hi again Sarah. There must be some groups in your area. Check out SAMHSA’s directory here https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/TreatmentLocator/faces/quickSearch.jspx to find certified addiction treatment centers or hospitals that provide substance use help and then research them (online or call directly) to see if they offer programs and options that fit your time-frame and your needs. Hope this helps!

Tammy
1:25 am December 17th, 2015

I trusted my family and friends when I told them I used cocaine. Everyone turned on me and thought they knew how to help when in fact they made me want to use more without guilt this time to deal with the addiction because I became angry. Nobody and I mean not a living soul knows I still use cocaine and actually never stopped. Not even for one day and it makes me wonder how suddenly I’m better in everyone’s eyes. It’s funny how people think. My 25 yr old daughter tells me how I used to be so angry and mean when I used it but now I’m normal. I’m normal now and I never stopped? This makes no sense. I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety my whole life and I believe with all my heart that cocaine finally freed me from suffering. I haven’t had 1 anxiety attack in almost a year and I’m not depressed anymore. How do you stop something that makes you feel alive? I used to sleep every chance I could but now I’m awake and living life. How and why do I stop using something I believed is honestly a magic pill?

Joanne
12:12 pm February 19th, 2016

So far I’ve been 5 days off cocaine, its not been to bad but, my anxiety is really bad 2day :( I’m doing this alone, iv been taking it for years started just weekends then got out of hand the last 3 months doing it almost everynight , I’m not sleeping I’m very moody how long will this last, I only done small ammount when I was doing !! Want this feeling to go away

Maverick
12:28 pm April 4th, 2016

I am in a suboxone program for opiate addiction, however my prescription is subutex. I have been on a binge on cocaine for about two weeks. I knew I wanted to end my binge. I’m one day in and the worst I can say is I’m over heated. Thinking it must be because I hadn’t taken my sub, I took a small portion of my pill as normal. However my body temp is still severly fluctuating…is that not a physical withdraw. I would also like to mention…I have never been throw into withdraws from using opiates or caine with my sub. I’m not sure why, cause my therapist says that happens. Maybe cause I font take very much sub. One sub can last me a week, maybe more.

Samm
7:45 pm April 10th, 2016

I only did coke for about 6 months off an on and one day my left pinky and ring finger started feeling numb and “light”. Then my while left arm began feeling that way. My anxiety was through the roof!!! I thought I was having a heart attack. So after about 3 hours, I took some aspirin and went to the ER. They did an EKG, blood n urine tests and chest x-rays. They result? Everything fine but my potassium was low. This happened 3 days ago. My left arm still feels a little “light”. But the feeling pretty much has returned in my pinky. I feel terrible tho. Extreme fatigue and anxiety. How late ng will these physical and psychological effects last??????

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:02 pm April 19th, 2016

Hi Samm. Cocaine withdrawal timelines can last from days to weeks to months after last use. You may find more info here:
http://addictionblog.org/tag/cocaine-withdrawal/

Rubi
8:18 am May 31st, 2016

Could you recommend a reputable drug counselor or IOP in Chicago please?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:26 pm May 31st, 2016

Hi Rubi. You may start your search on SAMHSA’s treatment locator:
https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/TreatmentLocator/faces/servicesSearch.jspx

Also, contact our trusted treatment consultant to learn more about your treatment options. The number is on the website itself.

Chris
7:31 am June 11th, 2016

Hi.. i am in a situation where i feel ready to quit but know that my dependance and constant use have made it very difficult to succeed. At this moment ive exhausted all funds and am looking at a wekk and a half before i will have money again. So this could be a great time to go for it. Ive quit once before for almost a year but had one of my most regretrable decisions ive ever made to do it again and now find myself in a bad way. Im going to try it at home but i was hoping this site and you whoever you are might be a guiding light in a dark place. Thanks

Joel
2:18 am July 29th, 2016

I gave up cocaine after 3 years of use for a round 4 5 months alot has happened in the past year and I’ve found my self becoming reckless and using cocaine though out the week. I was put on meds from my doctor around 10 months ago and i tried to come of them and it just sent me on a careless circle. I hate and feel ashamed what im doing but i cant seem to just stop like i did before. I know and admit I’ve a issue more than before but im scared that if i stop my head will drop again

lisa
3:52 am October 9th, 2016

That was very helpfull I’m sure there are worse drugs to come off … good luck to everyone that is coming off it xxx

You know evan of u did.it for fun and dot becomes a weekend thing the cravings still there is cocain the only drug that’s so addictive ? 😈

manny
5:12 pm November 13th, 2016

Does withdrawals from cocaine give you eye floaters? I started noticing them a couple weeks into stoping while I was in detox I’m on my 5th week now and still see them has anybody experience this?

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