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Cocaine Addiction Withdrawal

In 2015, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that nearly 5 million Americans reported using cocaine in the previous year. Additionally, almost 40 million Americans reported ever using the drug in their lifetime. That’s over 11% of the general population! So what happens when people become addicted? What does withdrawal look like? Well, let’s take a moment to go over the symptoms and how to best undergo detox.

What Are the Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal?

The high does not last very long. As a result, binge use—using a large amount in a short period of time—is very common. Once the high wears off, then the withdrawal symptoms can set in.

These symptoms can include:

  1. A feeling of agitation or aggression.
  2. An overwhelming lack of energy.
  3. Depression or anxiety that can be crippling.
  4. Suicidal thoughts or the impulse to self-harm.
  5. An uncomfortable sense of paranoia.
  6. A sudden increase in appetite.
  7. Extremely vivid or unpleasant dreams.
  8. Violent mood swings that can be hard to predict or control.

Ultimately, the withdrawal is essentially the opposite of the high. This can also be referred to as the “comedown” or “coming down”.

How Long Does Withdrawal Last?

Total withdrawal usually takes up to six months. This means that the symptoms won’t disappear overnight. Plus, the drug doesn’t stay in a person’s system for very long. This means that the symptoms of withdrawal may start quickly.

Researchers have divided the process into three phases:

  1. Crash – This first phase starts anywhere between a few hours and a few days after last use. The cravings may actually decrease. The most common cocaine addiction symptoms are exhaustion, severe depression, or anxiety. It’s also possible to suffer from suicidal thoughts and paranoia.
  2. Continued withdrawal – Overall mood and function may improve. However, the cravings actually increase during this phase. As a result, the risk of relapse is especially high. This phase lasts anywhere from one week and three months. Users may also suffer from continued boredom, depression, or an inability to feel happiness.
  3. Extinction – This phrase may have the bleakest name, but it’s actually the last phase of the withdrawal. It usually lasts up to six months. Cravings and mood swings may still be present.

In recovery, it’s important to stay sober as long as possible. As the person moves through these distinct phases, the risk of relapse gradually becomes lower.

What Are Some Factors That Can Make Withdrawal Longer?

Sometimes the withdrawal may last longer. For instance, in more extreme cases, it may last up to two years. This depends on a variety of factors, including:

  1. The length of time someone abused the drug. For those who use the drug for a longer period of time, the withdrawal is usually longer. This may be due to a buildup of the drug in their bodies and a change in the way the body functions.
  2. How much of the drug they used. Users who ingested higher doses will almost certainly experience more intense and longer withdrawal symptoms.
  3. The presence of other drugs or alcohol. If a person suffers from an addiction to multiple substances, they may be going through multiple withdrawals.
  4. Presence of triggers or stressful environment. If the user was using the drug to escape a stressful life, then stress may trigger cravings. This means that the environment is especially dangerous for relapses.
  5. Other medical or mental health issues. If the user has other conditions, including a damaged heart, liver, or kidneys, then it’s possible that detox will take longer. Additionally, if they suffer from mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, or psychosis, then the withdrawals will likely take longer.

This is why it’s important to seek out professional help. If you go through an official cocaine detox program, they can help you manage these symptoms. That way, you don’t prolong the withdrawal process and you can get back to living a sober, happy life!

What Is Detox?

The beginning of withdrawal can be very tough for many users. In fact, relapses are more common in the early parts of the process. As a result, some users may choose to go through detox.

The detox program will try to:

  1. Monitor and decrease the symptoms of withdrawal.
  2. Create a supportive and compassionate environment (free of judgment).
  3. Provide education and information on drug addiction.
  4. Begin the process of identifying underlying reasons for drug use.
  5. Give the user access to counselors who can evaluate other psychological issues.

Detox is not the only part of treatment. Instead, it is an important first step. It can be done in an inpatient or outpatient setting. It just has to be safe, compassionate, and drug-free. Additionally, it’s best done under the supervision of recovery professionals.

Inpatient cocaine detox is strongly recommended If a person has any history of severe depression or suicidal thoughts. That way, clinicians can keep a close eye on them and keep them from harming themselves.

Are There Any Medications for Cocaine Withdrawal?

Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications that are used specifically for withdrawal. However, there are some medications that have been developed for other purposes that have shown some promise.

  1. Sedatives or sleeping pills – These are used to combat the comedown. They also decrease the anxiety and high heart rate from withdrawal.
  2. Antidepressants – These can be used for an extended period of time. This means that they can treat the mental issues that occur during all three phases of withdrawal. Many people in recovery find their emotions going up and down. These can help stabilize them so they can focus on their recovery.
  3. Amantadine – This is used to treat the flu. It can also be used to treat Parkinson’s. Interestingly, it’s shown some promise in decreasing the distressing symptoms of general withdrawal.
  4. Beta blockers – These are medications used to treat high blood pressure and anxiety. They can also be used to decrease withdrawal symptoms. They’re also non-narcotic, making them a safe choice for someone in recovery.

It’s possible that your clinician may choose to prescribe one of these medications for you.

Find Detox and Treatment for Addiction

Withdrawal and detox can be difficult. That’s why it’s best done under the supervision of professionals in a compassionate setting. If you or your loved one need help to take the first step, then be sure you contact Bedrock Recovery Center today and speak to a rep about getting the treatment you need.

Ready to make a change? Talk to a specialist now.