Cocaine is extremely addictive both physically and psychologically. Cocaine addicts who decide to stop using the drug will experience withdrawal symptoms, even if some of the drug is still in their system. The main cocaine withdrawal symptom is a crash with an intense craving for more of the drug, but other symptoms can include depression, anxiety, restlessness, lack of energy, sleepiness, agitation, irritability, and paranoia.
Cocaine Detox Timeline
Although the amount of time it takes to detox from cocaine can vary according to how long and how heavily it has been used, but there are some general guidelines for at least the initial withdrawal period.
The first 1-3 days of withdrawal from cocaine are typically filled with intense cravings to use it again, as well as depressed or low feelings, hunger, irritability, confusion, and sometimes disorientation.
After the first 3-4 days of withdrawal, the cravings may subside, but may also come back unexpectedly. Users are likely to feel tired and need a lot of sleep, as well as nourishing food to replenish their bodies and lots of water. It is important to eat a healthy diet and stay well-hydrated in order to help the body recover from cocaine abuse; doing so will help to minimize withdrawal symptoms after the initial detox period as much as possible.
During days 4-7, users can feel many different symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, and the symptoms may seem to go in a cycle as the body continues to get rid of the residual cocaine in the body that may have built up over long periods of use.
The first week is the most intense part of withdrawal from cocaine, and symptoms will generally diminish at least somewhat after the first week is completed. That does not mean users are now fine and can go back to their normal lives without further help and support, however.
Later Stages of Cocaine Withdrawal
The symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can unfortunately persist long after the initial intense detox period. Cravings, hunger, sleepiness, and more tend to cycle for several weeks and although they are not intense all the time, they can be strong at times and lead to strong urges and compulsions to use again.
While the first few weeks are the worst for most withdrawal symptoms, some can persist well beyond that time. It can take the body’s dopamine system months to recover from being repeatedly overloaded by the drug, if it ever does truly recover.
It is very difficult to avoid relapse with this powerful drug without help from treatment professionals who have developed methods to help addicts deal with urges to use, depression from not using, and other distressing and long-lasting symptoms of withdrawal.
Recovery Village at Palmer Lake is a Colorado drug rehab that treats cocaine addiction along with any co-occurring disorders or other treatment needs. If you or a loved one struggles with cocaine use, contact us.