Detox for Cocaine?
Yes, is the short answer. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are not as severe or life threatening as can in the case of alcohol, benzodiazepines and opioids. However, while cocaine detox is typically not life threatening, if a patient has underlying medical issues, it can be fatal. For example, patients may not know they have a heart condition until withdrawal symptoms begin and result in cardiac arrest.
If you are a healthy adult, chances are good that cocaine withdrawal will be safe and non-life threatening. Still, there are other reasons to seek inpatient detox when going through cocaine withdrawal.
Withdrawal from cocaine is awful, physically and mentally. It has been likened to the worst hangover of your life, times 10. For this reason alone, many people choose to detox in a medical setting.
Detox centers can provide patients with medication for anxiety and other miserable side effects of withdrawal. These medications can make the process more tolerable for the patient. Typically, cocaine withdrawal is not dangerous, but for the best chance of recovery, most medical experts recommend inpatient treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Cocaine Detox Process
We’re just getting starting on the complex topic of cocaine detox. Continue learning more about it by reading our responses to several of the most frequently asked questions:
What are the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal?
Cocaine produces an extreme sense of euphoria during use. When a person stops using the drug, there will be a crash. Negative feelings become extremely strong, and cravings for the drug begins.
Most of the withdrawal effects are psychological. Once the body begins to withdraw, the following symptoms will occur:
- Severe fatigue
- Increased appetite
- Difficulty feeling pleasure
- Severe restlessness
- General sad feelings
- Depression or thoughts of hurting yourself
How bad is cocaine withdrawal?
It will depend on the duration, frequency and amount of cocaine your body is used to. The psychological effects of withdrawal are always more prominent than physical effects during cocaine detox. So, it may only be slightly physically uncomfortable, but extremely difficult mentally.
How long do symptoms of withdrawal last?
Cocaine stays in your body for about 72 hours. During this time, the drug is dwindling throughout your system and withdrawal symptoms will begin. For patients who were habitual heavy users, the withdrawal period can last from one to three weeks.
If someone has used cocaine heavily for many years, withdrawal symptoms can last weeks or months. Once withdrawal symptoms have ceased, cocaine will still be found in urine for up to 12 weeks.
What are the stages of cocaine withdrawal?
- Days One Through Three: The body will begin withdrawal. Mood will drop, and remorse or depression begins. During this stage, hunger and restlessness are common. As symptoms begin, many users must fight using the drug to make their symptoms go away.
- Days Four Through Seven: Psychological symptoms worsen during this period. Cravings for the drug will increase and many patients begin to sleep longer periods of time. Strong withdrawal symptoms during these days include severe anxiety, apathy, paranoia, depression and irritability.
- Days Eight Through 14: Around day eight, patients begin to feel better mentally, and physically if there were physical symptoms. The general mood can be misleading, as negative psychological symptoms come in waves. One minute, the individual will feel as though he or she can conquer the world. The next minute, he or she may feel as low as ever. Cravings for cocaine will occur randomly.
- Days 15 Through 21: During week two of withdrawal, symptoms remain steady. Psychologically, patients have mood swings and can be unstable. Physically, patients often still experience strong hunger. Cravings for the drug will still vary.
- Day 22 And Onward: If may take months for psychological effects to go away completely, but they level off around this time. Patients may still have cravings for cocaine, and sometimes give into temptation.
How dangerous is cocaine withdrawal?
If you do not have any underlying medical conditions, cocaine withdrawal is non-life threatening. Many patients still obtain medical care during this time to receive help with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. A formal detox environment can also help prevent relapse.
Can I withdraw from cocaine at home?
It’s possible, but most professionals and recovering patients recommend finding professional care to help ease psychological symptoms. Especially morose and helpless moods can lead to relapse or failure to withdraw.
Are there any methods to make cocaine withdrawal easier?
While there are no drugs specific to treating cocaine withdrawal, detox centers can prescribe medications to help treat the psychological effects of the process. Anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressants may be administered to help control mood swings.
What are the signs of cocaine overdose?
Cocaine overdoses are a medical emergency and can easily be fatal. If you suspect someone has overdosed on cocaine, do not take any risks, and call 911 immediately.
Symptoms of cocaine overdose include:
- Extremely high energy levels (more than typical of the person while on cocaine)
- Talking incessantly
- Chest pain
- Involuntary limb tremors or twitches
Are there any long-term effects of cocaine use?
Cocaine has been called the “heart attack drug,” as heart attack is the No. 1 cause of death in those who abuse cocaine. Cardiac problems can occur immediately after use while the user is high, but also occur after long-term use. The heart is severely damaged over time and can suffer cardiac arrest down the road. If you have a known heart condition, stop using cocaine immediately.
Other symptoms of long-term cocaine use include:
- Respiratory problems leading to decreased oxygen flow
- Brain shrinkage
- Neurotransmitter deficiencies
- Gastrointestinal damage
- Infectious diseases from poor decision making
- Chronic nosebleeds
- Constant headaches
What happens after detox?
Cocaine has a high abuse potential and can result in long-term addiction. Thus, we advise continuing with a reputable substance abuse program after detox.
Inpatient, outpatient and support groups can all help a patient cope with their addiction. Detox is not enough to stop addiction, as you will need long-term support and treatment to be successful and avoid relapse.
How is cocaine addiction treated?
Cocaine addiction is treated differently for everyone. There is no one-size-fits-all method for treatment. Depending on the patient, the length of addiction and previous relapse, treatment types and lengths will vary. Some patients seek intensive inpatient therapy, while others choose outpatient and group support therapies.
Importance of Professional Cocaine Detox
Choosing to detox from cocaine in a treatment facility can significantly ease the process of withdrawal. Although cocaine withdrawal is typically not physically dangerous, patients need psychological support and treatment during the process. If you or a loved one is suffering from cocaine addiction, consider an inpatient detox program for treatment.