Understanding Cocaine Withdrawal: Going The Distance
Cocaine withdrawal isn’t easy. When you stop using cocaine, you can experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that are difficult to endure or require medical attention. However, with the support of medical professionals and with twenty-four-hour care, cocaine detox is safe and manageable. It is the first step on the path to lifelong recovery – and you’re more than capable of going the distance.
What Are Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms and What Causes Them?
Taking cocaine increases the amount of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is a chemical that makes you feel happy, alert, and awake. If you’ve used cocaine for some time, your body gets used to the unnaturally high dopamine levels and, as a result, reduces its own production.
When you stop using cocaine, your body has to readjust to functioning without the drug. At first, you experience decreased levels of dopamine and other chemicals, which can cause you to experience a series of mental and physical symptoms.
Physical cocaine withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Slowed movements
- Slow heart rate
- Memory problems
- Weight loss
- Body aches
Psychological cocaine withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Unpleasant dreams
- Intense cravings for cocaine
- Increased appetite
How Severe Are Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms?
The severity of your symptoms, and the duration of the withdrawal process, varies from person to person. It depends on how much cocaine you usually take, how long you have used it, and the speed of your metabolism.
For most people, cocaine withdrawal isn’t life-threatening. However, some people can experience severe withdrawal symptoms, and people who are also suffering from a co-occurring mental health condition often fall into this category.
Severe symptoms typically involve suicidal thoughts, ideations, and behaviors. They can also include panic, paranoia, anxiety, and other psychological disorders, which can be extremely alarming. However, professional medical supervision during withdrawal ensures the process is safe and reduces your risk of harm.
What Is the Time-Line for Cocaine Withdrawal?
Most cocaine users experience a crash as soon as the effects of cocaine wear off. This can include feelings of depression, irritation, and anxiety. In addition, you may begin to feel physically and mentally exhausted and experience jerky body movements.
From around twenty-four to thirty-six hours after the crash, you will probably want to sleep. However, sleeping can be difficult, and insomnia may leave you extremely low on energy.
After the first thirty-six hours, sleeping usually becomes easier, though you may find you sleep a lot at night and still feel tired during the day. Additionally, when you are awake, you may feel very hungry.
For most people, withdrawal symptoms last around a week. By the end of the week, they should begin to fade. Symptoms that remain after this time are known as PAWS (post-acute withdrawal symptoms). PAWS, though usually mild, can last for over a year after detox.
How Do You Go the Distance?
It’s normal to feel depressed or anxious during cocaine withdrawal. However, during this critical stage of your recovery, you need to practice good self-care – both physically and mentally. Be kind to yourself and try to remember that no feeling lasts forever.
‘Keep it in the day’ is a popular recovery mantra for a reason. Typically, people worry they will feel as bad as they do during withdrawal for the rest of their lives, and that’s a scary prospect. Keep it in the day just means not worrying about the future; you just focus on how you’re going to get through the day. If that’s too much, keep it in the hour or even the minute.
Increased appetite is also a common withdrawal symptom – it can be tempting to binge on sugary snacks to make yourself feel better; however, eating healthily will allow your body to repair the physical damage from cocaine, produce vital neurotransmitters, and help us heal. It will also give you a consistent energy source, rather than short sharp bursts, which can alleviate some of the lethargic symptoms.
Cocaine Detox and Addiction Treatment Programs
Cocaine withdrawal may be uncomfortable, but it is usually relatively short, and symptoms that endure tend to be mild. The challenge is often to resist the intense cravings for cocaine you experience in the first week after withdrawal.
As with all things, it’s easier to recover with the help of trained professionals. Detox programs help you start your recovery in a drug-free environment away from temptations and triggers, offer medication, and, most importantly, surround you with understanding and compassionate staff.
Cocaine detox is usually only the first stage in the recovery process. Long-term recovery from cocaine addiction or substance abuse disorder involves identifying the causes of addictive behaviors and developing the skills to overcome them. This typically involves an individualized addiction treatment program that combines behavioral, individual, and group therapies to help you reconnect to your inner self and live a joyful sober life.
If you or someone you love is struggling with cocaine addiction or cocaine abuse, Enlightened Solutions Detox can help. We’re a holistic treatment facility that can open the door to a life of sobriety and help you gain the tools you need to achieve long-term recovery. Give us a call today at 833-233-7336 for more information.