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Cocaine Detox: Treatment For Cocaine Addiction

What Is Cocaine?

Before we discuss cocaine detox, what exactly is cocaine? And how can cocaine effect you?

Cocaine is an illegal Schedule II controlled substance due largely to its potential for abuse and addiction. According to The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2018, almost 212,000 adults age 18-25 were diagnosed with cocaine use disorder within the past year. For the ages of 26 and older, about 760,000 were diagnosed with cocaine use disorder.

Combined, that’s 972,000 adults struggling with cocaine addiction. Those numbers may be about the same today or perhaps a bit higher. The reality is that the numbers for cocaine addiction are alarming.

The good news is that there are professional treatment options for cocaine addiction that can help people recover. Using support, structure, and clinical care, the professional team at SOBA can get to the heart of addiction and help people heal on all levels. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to cocaine, know that you do not have to walk that path alone.

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Cocaine Detox: What Happens When You Use Cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant. This means that when used, it quickly stimulates the central nervous system and the boosts various chemicals in the brain. The drug can cause one to feel a rush of euphoria, high energy, alertness, and hypersensitivity to sound, sight, and touch.

The “high” that people feel is the brain getting a message to release massive amounts of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that helps you to feel pleasure. It’s those intense feelings that tend to keep people grabbing for more cocaine.

That may sound harmless, but the reality is cocaine use is dangerous. Long-term use can cause serious health problems and side effects, including death.

How fast you feel the effects of cocaine depends on if you smoke, inject, or snort it.

Those that smoke it feel the effects almost immediately, but the high only lasts for about 5 to 10 minutes. While cocaine users that snort it usually feel the effects within a few minutes, with the high lasting about 15 to 30 minutes. Those that inject it feel effects usually within about 15 to 30 minutes, with the high lasting about the same time.

Though cocaine users may experience the high quickly, it doesn’t last long. When the person starts to come down or “crash”, they may begin to feel some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. This can cause them to want more cocaine, as an attempt to feel better. This can certainly lead to cocaine dependence or addiction.

Cocaine Detox: Withdrawal Symptoms

When someone stops using, cocaine withdrawal symptoms can set in quickly. Those that have been using cocaine for long periods of time or have taken strong doses may experience harsher symptoms during detox.

The specific withdrawal symptoms experienced will depend on various factors, such as:

  • How long they’ve been using cocaine
  • The doses they have been taking
  • Whether or not they’re using other drugs or alcohol
  • Age
  • Weight

Typical cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Body aches
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Restlessness
  • Stomachache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Low libido
  • Increased anxiety
  • Nightmares or intense, vivid dreams
  • Strong cravings for more cocaine
  • Appetite increase

When dealing with the long term effects of cocaine use possible complications may include severe depression, suicidal ideation or attempts, and intense cravings that could lead to relapse.

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Why Cocaine Detox Is Important

When someone abuses cocaine, their body becomes used to the drug. The brain becomes accustomed to the chemicals and the boost of dopamine. When the person stops using the drug, the brain becomes confused because it has become dependent on the drug. When it doesn’t get it, it sends the body into withdrawal.

Detox is important because the body needs to rid itself of the toxins associated with cocaine. It’s the first step toward overcoming cocaine dependence or addiction.

At the same time, those detoxing from cocaine need to be aware of the risk of relapse. If you use cocaine, your body can become used to a certain dosage or amount of the drug in your system. Then, once you stop using the drug, your tolerance level decreases. This is good news, but it’s important to know that should you relapse, and use the same dosage you were using before you started detoxing, the amount could be too much for your body and kill you.

How Cocaine Detox Works

The best and safest way to detox from cocaine is under the supervision of addiction experts and/or medical professionals. It helps to learn how detox works, as well as a general timeframe for withdrawal symptoms.

Various factors influence the timeline, but generally, cocaine withdrawal stages are as follows:

The Crash – You are likely to experience “the crash” as soon as an hour or two after you’ve used cocaine. If you’ve been using cocaine for a while, then you’re probably quite familiar with how this feels. You may begin to feel very sleepy, depressed, and start craving more cocaine.

Acute Withdrawal – The crash leads you right into an acute withdrawal stage, which may last about a week. Usually between days 3-5 symptoms tend to be at their worst, but then start decreasing in intensity.

In this stage, you may feel like you have a bad case of the flu, with body aches, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, and insomnia. It’s best if you go through this stage with support from a professional medial detox team. Withdrawal is a tough process but getting through detox is possible and necessary to overcome your addiction and live a sober life.

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Lingering Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

After the first week the withdrawal symptoms from cocaine use will lessen significantly. Physically, you’ll begin to feel healthier while sober. In weeks 2 – 4 you will likely experience more psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety or depression. You may still be fighting some cravings every now and then as well. This is where having a dedicated support staff can really make a difference in your recovery journey.

How Long Do Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

The timeframe for withdrawal symptoms depends on the factors mentioned earlier. The physical symptoms tend to last a week to two weeks depending on the severity of the addiction. Some people state that the symptoms they struggle with most long-term are anxiety and/or depression. However, having a solid support network, and counseling if necessary, can help reduce the overall withdrawal time.

The Importance of Treatment After Cocaine Detox

Detox is an important step toward recovery from cocaine addiction. However, you don’t just stop there. The next step after detox is undergoing addiction recovery treatment. Think of detox and treatment as a comprehensive treatment plan to help you build an extraordinarily strong recovery foundation. Just as you would want your home’s foundation to be secure for longevity and safety, you want your recovery foundation to be the same.

Typically, once someone finishes detoxing, they commit to either an inpatient (residential) or outpatient treatment program. Inpatient treatment is for those who would like to leave home and attend rehab for a designated period. The usual time for residential treatment is around 28 days, but you can stay longer if you desire.

Outpatient treatment is for those who would like to live at home and attend treatment at a center in the community. Typically, they attend three to five sessions per week or a certain number of hours. You can also attend an inpatient program and upon completion, commit to an outpatient program until you feel your recovery foundation is strong.

During treatment, you will be able to learn about the addiction recovery process, the disease of addiction, relapse prevention skills, and the psychological aspects of addiction. You’ll also receive individual and group counseling with others who are on the road of recovery. And at SOBA, we encourage our drug abuse clients to find a sponsor and join a 12-step recovery program outside of treatment.

Get Help for Cocaine Addiction

Are you struggling with an addiction to cocaine? If so, know that customized, effective treatment options are available. You do not have to try to stop using cocaine on your own. Here at SOBA, we provide specific levels of clinical care and case management that will help you recover successfully and go on to build the kind of life you truly desire.

Take your first step and reach out today. Our compassionate, friendly professionals are happy to get you started on your recovery path.

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