How Long Does Cocaine Withdrawal Last?

Once considered a harmless party drug, cocaine has proven to be a highly potent and addictive substance. Though some people use the drug infrequently on an occasional night out, many develop a physical and psychological dependence on the drug that results in physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms should they attempt to abruptly stop taking the substance.

Depending upon a number of different issues, the length of time that these cocaine withdrawal symptoms may last will vary. In all cases, however, professional detox and addiction treatment are recommended for optimum safety.

Length of Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

For most people, physical cocaine withdrawal symptoms will begin around the time that they would have taken their next dose – that is, a few hours after the last dose. Symptoms usually peak within the first 24 hours after cessation of use and continue for a few days depending upon the patient.

Psychological withdrawal symptoms can last for weeks and even months in some cases. Many find these more significant than the physical issues associated with cocaine detox.

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms may include any combination of the following issues:

  • Restlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or tendencies
  • Agitation
  • Altered eating habits
  • Cravings for cocaine
  • Irritability
  • Lesser activity and focus
  • Headache
  • Intense dreams and/or nightmares
  • Depression
  • Altered sleep habits
  • Fatigue

Not everyone will experience all of these issues or experience them at the same intensity level. However, it is important to note that if suicidal thoughts or tendencies are present, immediate medical attention is necessary.

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Possible Complications

There are a number of factors that may impact a patient’s experience during cocaine detox, including the length of time that withdrawal symptoms will last.

These include:

  • Co-occurring substance abuse – Even if cocaine is the drug of choice, if the patient abuses other substances regularly, it can increase the severity of withdrawal symptoms, add new ones related to the other substances, and increase the length of time spent in detox. For example, many patients abuse both cocaine and alcohol, developing a dependency upon both. When they enter detox, they must address the withdrawal symptoms associated with the cessation of drinking as well as cocaine withdrawal symptoms.
    One in four adults with a mental illness are also reported to have a substance abuse disorder.

  • Co-occurring mental health disorders – It is not uncommon for people who struggle with substance abuse and addiction to also contend with a mental health disorder. Because the withdrawal symptoms associated with cocaine detox are often related to mental health, this can significantly increase the length of time spent dealing with severe withdrawal symptoms, especially if not treated.
  • Underlying medical issues – Patients who are living with medical disorders or chronic illness may find that their experiences of withdrawal are worsened or complicated by co-occurring medical symptoms.

Cocaine Detox and Addiction Treatment

As of yet, there are no medications approved for cocaine detox. There are, however, a number of medications that have been approved for use in the treatment of specific symptoms that are common among people experiencing cocaine withdrawal symptoms. For example, the patient who seeks professional detox and treatment may receive medication for depression, headaches, and other common symptoms.

La Paloma inpatient buildingIt is important to note that professional care is recommended for all patients who attempt to detox off cocaine, but it is highly recommended for patients who are struggling with co-occurring disorders. Comprehensive treatment that addresses the physical as well as the psychological symptoms that come with cocaine detox is advised. Contact us today at 901-350-4575 for more information about your options here at The Oaks at La Paloma.