If you are addicted to cocaine, your recovery can’t proceed unless you go through a period of cocaine detox. This detoxification process is where you stop using the drug and go through the stages of withdrawal. Cocaine withdrawal can be a major challenge, and you’ll have a hard time facing it on your own. For this reason, addiction specialists universally recommend medical detox for cocaine users.
In medical cocaine detox, you detoxify under the watchful eye of trained professionals. These professionals understand the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal. They also know how to make you as comfortable as possible throughout the process. With their help, you can successfully complete detox and take the next steps in your lasting recovery.
Why Does Cocaine Withdrawal Occur
You may wonder how to prevent cocaine withdrawal. Unfortunately, if you’re addicted and hope to recover, this is not possible. Why? Anyone addicted to cocaine has undergone a range of significant brain changes. Once these changes set in, you can’t just simply go back to normal when you stop using the drug. That’s true because your brain now considers the presence of cocaine to be “normal.” Even if you only cut back your cocaine use, withdrawal symptoms may appear. And, if you quit altogether, such symptoms are more or less certain to appear.
What Is Cocaine Withdrawal Like
What happens during cocaine withdrawal? Does the process have predictable effects? Not everyone will experience the exact same kinds of cocaine withdrawal symptoms. Still, there is a general pattern that you can expect.
Short-Term Withdrawal Symptoms
The cocaine addiction withdrawal timeline begins soon after use of the drug stops. At this early stage, most people experience what’s known as a “crash.” Symptoms associated with a withdrawal crash include:
- An irritable state of mind
- Lack of energy
- An inability to feel pleasure
- Unusual sleepiness
- A powerful desire to use more cocaine
Less-common symptoms include:
- A very paranoid or suspicious state of mind
- An agitated state of mind
Short-term withdrawal symptoms continue beyond an initial cocaine crash. Unlike many forms of withdrawal, these symptoms are not necessarily obvious to others. They include such things as:
- A continued lack of normal energy
- A restless and agitated mental state
- A general sense of unease or malaise
- Vivid nightmares
- A slowdown in your normal level of day-to-day activity
- Continued strong cravings for more cocaine
- A down or depressed mental state
Long-Term Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
It can take a few days to a few weeks for the short-term symptoms of withdrawal to die down. However, two of those cocaine withdrawal symptoms might turn into longer-term problems. The first issue is an ongoing, intense urge to return to cocaine use. This urge can remain even when use of the drug brings no pleasure, or even creates unpleasant sensations. Some people are so strongly affected by this symptom that they relapse over and over again.
The second potential long-term cocaine withdrawal symptom is depression. In some cases, this depression may reach profound levels. In addition, it may be accompanied by thoughts of suicide. It can take months for cocaine cravings and withdrawal-related depression to begin to ease.
Potential Medical Complications
Generally speaking, cocaine withdrawal is viewed as one of the safer forms of substance withdrawal. However, in some cases, complications can occur. The biggest concerns are related to your heart function. If you have recently quit using cocaine, you may be susceptible to an irregular heartbeat. In some cases, heart attacks are also possible.
Risks From Co-Occurring Disorders
A large number of people addicted to cocaine also suffer from a separate, diagnosable mental illness. This combination of conditions is known as co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. People with co-occurring disorders face a challenging road to recovery and wellness. That’s true because they must get help for both their substance issues and their mental health issues. Failure to address each of these problems often lead to less successful treatment.
As a rule, doctors in cocaine detox programs check all new participants for mental illness. This can be complicated since some of the symptoms of withdrawal may mimic such an illness. If a separate mental health issue is uncovered, the detox process must account for it. That’s especially true since withdrawal may worsen some of the symptoms of an existing illness.
How Cocaine Detox Helps
Medical cocaine detox is designed to address any issue that may affect you during withdrawal. The treatment you receive will help you:
- Cope with the effects of your symptoms
- Stay safe at all times during the withdrawal process
- Avoid damaging outcomes from any medical complications
- Deal with the extra impact of a co-occurring mental illness
The overall goal is supporting your sobriety while you successfully withdraw from cocaine.
To date, researchers have not found a medication that reliably eases the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal. However, there are medications that may help in certain circumstances. For example, people suffering from severe withdrawal may benefit from use of the medication amantadine. Researchers are also exploring the possible usefulness of the anti-narcolepsy medication modafinil.
General Supportive Care
Rather than receiving medication, the typical person in cocaine detox receives general supportive care. The first step in this care is often allowing adequate time for sleep. That’s important because many people addicted to cocaine develop serious sleep deprivation. If you suffer from insomnia, supportive care may include a sleep aid.
Nutritional needs must also be addressed. Many people in cocaine detox have not eaten well for a substantial amount of time. In addition to large, healthy meals, they may require some kind of dietary supplement.
Your doctor will also monitor your health throughout cocaine detox. That includes making regular checks of your vital signs, with particular focus on your cardiac health. It also includes being on the lookout for headaches. Most of the time, headaches are not medically serious. However, in some cases, they may be a warning sign for cardiac problems.
Environment is also a big factor in successful detox. People withdrawing from cocaine or other stimulants typically benefit from calm surroundings. Such surroundings will help ease any symptoms of anxiousness, agitation or restlessness.
Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders
If you have a co-occurring disorder, there’s a good chance you will keep taking your medication during detox. If withdrawal makes your mental illness symptoms worse, your doctor may either:
- Increase the dose of your current medication
- Prescribe additional medication
Some people in detox may need help for newly emerging mental health symptoms. Such symptoms may include the effects of withdrawal-related depression.
Getting You Ready for Further Treatment
Cocaine detox is designed to do more than help you make it through the withdrawal process. It also helps you prepare for active rehab in a drug treatment program. Why is this necessary? Detox serves as the portal to active treatment. However, it cannot provide that treatment. To do the work needed to maintain your sobriety, rehab is an absolute must.
During detox, you will learn about the ins and outs of rehab programs. The information you receive will help make the prospect of further treatment more real to you. It will also help ease any fears you may have about taking the next steps in your recovery.
Detox programs do everything they can to encourage you to keep your sobriety going. However, these efforts can only go so far. Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the commitment to addiction treatment.
How to Enroll in a Cocaine Detox Center
If you live a metropolitan area, chances are pretty good that you have access to a local detox center. If you live in a more isolated area, you may need to seek out centers located further away from you. In either case, your doctor can help you find and choose centers that offer cocaine detox services.
Today, you can also find detox-related resources on the Internet. This option adds a greater degree of convenience. However, it may also add a degree of uncertainty. If you find a center that seems like a good fit, make contact and ask for more information.
In addition, talk to your doctor for advice on providers that interest you. The best centers will combine high-quality treatment with accredited standing and a comfortable environment.
Want to learn more about how to enroll in a cocaine detox center? Contact the specialists at The Discovery House today. We’re familiar with all aspects of the process of cocaine detox. Our in-house experts can answer any questions and help you make informed choices.
The Discovery House is also a premier provider of sub-acute detox services. Whether you are addicted to cocaine or any other drug, we provide customized care that respects your unique needs. And we offer that care in relaxing surroundings that maximizes your ease and comfort.
What’s more, at the end of detox, you can continue on in our highly-rated cocaine treatment program. In all cases, we use evidence-based methods with an established track record for effectiveness. For more information on cocaine detox and treatment, just give us a call or book your upcoming appointment and consultation.