While the withdrawal symptoms associated with cocaine abuse may not be as serious as other hard drugs, recovery does come with its own set of challenges. Symptoms of withdrawal from substances like alcohol and benzodiazepines can have serious physical symptoms, while cocaine withdrawal comes with a variety of psychological symptoms that can make detox uncomfortable for recovering addicts.
It may come as a surprise to some, but symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can start occurring less than 24 hours after the drug was last taken. When taken cocaine can create euphoria, increased energy, and confidence. When withdrawing from the substance, former users experience the polar opposite. Quitting cocaine causes a loss of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, all of which play a role in creating feelings of joy and happiness in the human brain. This leads to symptoms like depression, irritability, and exhaustion. When you couple these symptoms with intense cravings for the drug, it’s easy to see why so many recovering cocaine users’ relapse before completing their detox.
Irritability and depression are some of the most common withdrawal symptoms, but there are a wide variety of other effects that users will experience during detox as well. Here’s a list of cocaine withdrawal symptoms that you can expect after quitting the drug:
This is not a complete list of all the cocaine withdrawal symptoms you may experience, as there are a variety of other physical and psychological symptoms that may or may not occur during withdrawal depending on the frequency of abuse, and the amount of the substance that was abused. These symptoms may seem hard to push through, but they pass in a relatively short period of time. Options like medical detox programs can even help mitigate withdrawal symptoms for a smoother, shorter recovery process.
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms typically last between 7 to 10 days. However, recovery is not a one-and-done process and cravings can occur naturally even after years of sobriety. That being said, cocaine does have an extremely short half-life compared to other drugs, so withdrawal symptoms can begin as soon as 90 minutes after the last time it was used. While the timeline for cocaine withdrawal is general a short period, there are factors that can extend the withdrawal process. Here are some factors to consider when putting together your cocaine recovery timeline:
For short term drug abusers, the length of time that withdrawal symptoms will be felt will generally be short. On the other hand, people who have abused the drug for years may continue experiencing withdrawal symptoms for as long as two months. This is due to the accumulation of the drug in their bodies.
Addicts who used more of the drug during each of their sessions may experience withdrawal symptoms longer than those who used small amounts.
Cocaine is generally used in social settings like clubs, parties, and raves. Because of this, many cocaine users tend to mix substances. Whether that’s drinking while using cocaine, or taking club drugs like ecstasy alongside cocaine, addicts who mix substances are at a higher likelihood of extending their withdrawal symptoms.
It may sound strange, but the reason an addict was abusing cocaine can play a large role in how long certain withdrawal symptoms are felt. This is largely because of the psychological nature of a lot of cocaine withdrawal symptoms. If an addict was using cocaine as a means of escapism, they may feel a strong urge to use when faced with stressful situations.
As we previously mentioned, cocaine withdrawal can result in depression and anxiety. For users that already suffer from naturally occurring depression or anxiety, cocaine withdrawal symptoms can take a major toll. We highly recommend that dual diagnosis users seek out medical detox treatment to prevent serious complications associated with depression, anxiety and suicide during detox.