Help for cocaine withdrawal

No medications are currently used during cocaine withdrawal. So how can you ease symptoms? We explore here.

4
minute read

Is cocaine withdrawal dangerous?

Yes, cocaine withdrawal can be dangerous. Especially in cases of severe dependency or long term use. Why is this?

The biggest risk during cocaine withdrawal usually includes thoughts of suicide or severe depression.  As cocaine leaves the body, the chemical euphoria induced by the powerful stimulant. is replaced by “dysphoria” or an extreme dissatisfaction with life.  During withdrawal, 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). So how do you withdraw from cocaine safely?  We review here, and invite your questions at the end.

Is cocaine withdrawal hard?

Cocaine withdrawal most often is very hard. What are the main symptoms of cocaine withdrawal? Depression, fatigue, increased appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, vivid unpleasant dreams, psycho-motor retardation or agitation, can manifest during cocaine withdrawal. These symptoms bring unpleasant feelings that makes the withdrawal hard to handle.

Cocaine withdrawal methods: Help for cocaine withdrawal symptoms

People who have developed a dependency on cocaine or other stimulants generally do not require treatment in an inpatient setting. In fact, the cessation of this substance does not always cause specific withdrawal symptoms. However, symptoms may be severe enough to require clinical intervention.

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This is why cases of cocaine withdrawal first require a comprehensive assessment of a person’s psychological, medical, physical and drug use history. A thorough physical examination, including blood and supervised urine samples for analysis are one of the first steps of drug withdrawal. And because poly-drug abuse is common among cocaine user, the dangers of possible drug combinations (such as cocaine and alcohol or heroin) should be considered.  This is why the first step in withdrawal is assessment.

Next, doctors may suggest the use of medications during cocaine withdrawal. And in some cases of cocaine withdrawal, pharmacological (prescription drug) intervention may be necessary. For example, neuroleptics may be useful in controlling stimulant-induced psychosis or delirium. During the later withdrawal phase, when depression may be present, antidepressants may be an appropriate choice for treatment. How long does cocaine usually withdrawal last?  Usually, acute withdrawal symptoms resolve within a week of last use.  However, cravings and compulsion, as well as depression or anxiety can persist for weeks after initial withdrawal.

And while there are no medications that are FDA approved for the treatment of cocaine dependence, recent advances in the understanding of the processes involved in cocaine addiction have allowed researchers to identify several promising new candidate medications. These include:

  • Baclofen
  • Disulfiram
  • Modafinil
  • Propranolol
  • TA-CD
  • Topiramate

Natural help for cocaine withdrawal

Discontinuing substances such as cocaine on which an individual is dependent will likely produce psychological symptoms. Withdrawal from stimulants like cocaine can be generally accomplished with psychological support and symptomatic treatment alone, along with periodic reassessment by a health care provider.

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Still, regular users of cocaine are susceptible to depression during this period of time while the brain readjusts to naturally making chemicals. Residential treatment for cocaine addiction can facilitate recovery in a safe environment, decreasing the chances of relapse right after detox.

How to ease cocaine withdrawal?

When you go through withdrawal, you experience a variety of symptoms. In addition to physical symptoms you experience as your body purges itself, you may experience mental symptoms, such as depression and suicidal thoughts. So how can you get through it?

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Medications are not ordinarily indicated as an initial treatment for withdrawal or dependence on cocaine, as none have shown efficacy. Instead, seek symptomatic treatment for issues. Tell family and friends about your decision to quit and seek out their support. Allow them to spend time with you as you go through withdrawal to keep depression and negative thoughts at bay. And seek help with a mental health professional ANY TIME YOU FEEL THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE OR EXTREME DEPRESSION.  Underlying mental health disorders can surface after you stop taking cocaine, and there is no shame in seeking help!

Helping cocaine withdrawal questions

If you still have questions about cocaine withdrawal treatment and how to address the symptoms, please write to us in the section below. We will give our best to try to answer all legitimate concerns personally and promptly.

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Reference Sources: Office of Veteran’s Affairs: Treatment of Acute Intoxication and Withdrawal from Drugs of Abuse
MedlinePlus: Cocaine withdrawal
NCBI: New Medications for the Treatment of Cocaine Dependence
NIH: Health Effects
LakeView Health: Cocaine Detox & Withdrawal Treatment
NCBI: New Medications for the Treatment of Cocaine Dependence
Federal Bureau of Prisons: Detoxification of Chemically Dependent Inmates
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.

16 Comments

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  1. Both my partner and I are users. I want to quit but my partner is very hesitant and is the supplier. I’m waiting for her to want to stop but that may take a long time. I don’t know how to quit if the substance is still around or I know she is still using.

    1. Hi Duncan! You should talk with your partner about rehabilitation and call our helpline to let us find you the best treatment for you.

    1. Hi Tasha. I suggest that you call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find the best rehab for you.

  2. So going to mental treatment helps with withdrawl from coke, now will the put u on crazy people meds that u dont think u need, assesment with a good dr 1st right..

  3. Hi I have been trying to kick this habit for two months. My first detox lasted 4 days and since then I’ve been using every 2-3 days. I first used 13 years ago and was a recreational user, using once or twice a month. I started using everyday in December and that continued until April. I have struggled with depression for years. My doctor is switching my antidepressant from citalipram to Wellbutrin. I am praying that this will help me take my life back. Does anyone know more about natural ways to encrease dopamine levels in the brain?

    1. Hi B Ran. I suggest that you call the Cocaine Helpline on 1-888-497-6879 to get in touch with dependable hotline professionals available 24/7. You will be talking to someone knowledgeable about cocaine abuse, rehab and recovery centers who can help you find a cocaine recovery program.

  4. I would like to stop using cocaine but body aches, energy level and cold sweats prevent me from doing so. I have managed to stay off for 3 days but because I have to work I get more stock just so I can get out of bed without the pain. Without it I cannot physically get out of bed or function properly. I have a family member that I have told recently and she will assist with my agitation and thoughts but it’s the physical part that needs to be addressed.
    I have been using for almost a year and was averaging 2 grams a day. I have managed now to cut down to 1 gram a day. The only reason I take it now is to be able to earn my salary and not lose my job.
    Please help!!!!

  5. Having been using for a couple of years. Trying to stop but have become extremely paranoid and talkative usually abusive. i dont belive i have a problem but family thinks i do. i am lying that i had an addiction an dont realise it has made me depressed an paranoid now

  6. Please help,I’ve been prescribed methadone since 16 and have also been addicted to amphetamines ( speed ) for almost 10yrs, I’m a mum of 19yr & 7yr old,just turned 40 n terrified of the effects not only to my mental health but have started to live off a few hours sleep as I’m afraid of not waking up.not much help here in UK, could you please please advice me or point me in any direction of guidance n hope? Much appreciated…

    1. Hello Susan. You can call the helpline number displayed on the website to get in touch with our trusted treatment providers that will help you find the right treatment program that will fit your needs and help you recover.

  7. My husband is the user and his trying to detox himself but i dont know how to help him, his being paranoyd and im afraid that he might hurt somebody or me

    1. Hi Sina. I suggest you consult a doctor or psychotherapist to help you deal with the psychological symptoms of your husband’s withdrawal. He should also seek medical help and therapy to cope with all the withdrawal effects, cravings, triggers and psychological issues.

  8. Hi Briana. Cocaine detox usually lasts between 5-14 day, maybe less or more depending on how much and how long you used. You can detox at home quite easily with no medical treatment, but it’s not generally recommended because of the strong cravings and because the temptation to relapse back to drug use is high.

    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.

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