Help for cocaine withdrawal

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

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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.

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.

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?

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.

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.
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