Cocaine withdrawal occurs when someone suffering from cocaine addiction stops using and may trigger life-threatening health complications. A medical detox in a hospital is recommended for safe withdrawal from cocaine.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine (benzoylmethylecgonine) is a stimulant drug that speeds up messages travelling between body and brain. It presents in three main forms – cocaine hydrochloride (a powder that is usually diluted with other substances such as talc), freebase (a white powder more concentrated than cocaine HCL), and crack, which is a crystalline form of the drug. Usually, the drug is smoked or snorted.
What sets it apart from other stimulants of addiction is its short half-life. That is, the drug is metabolised quickly, and withdrawal symptoms can occur within 90 minutes of the last dose.
The effects of cocaine upon a user are dose dependent and are as follows:
- extremes of happiness and confidence
- talking more
- high levels of energy and alertness
- irritability and agitation
- feeling physically strong and mentally sharp
- rapid heartbeat and breathing
- pupil dilatation
- increased body temperature
- increased sex drive
If a user overdoses, additional effects, which can be life threatening, include:
- nausea and vomiting
- extreme levels of anxiety
- extreme agitation and paranoia
- chest pain
- kidney failure
- cocaine “psychosis”
Because the half-life of cocaine is short, withdrawal symptoms occur soon after stopping the drug. The severity and symptoms of withdrawal depend on the user’s patterns of ingestion, size, height, weight etc. and whether other drugs are being used alongside cocaine.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
The withdrawal symptoms are more psychological than physical. With regular cocaine use, withdrawal can trigger wild mood swings and depression, increasing the risk of suicide.
Therefore, it’s important to understand if there are mental health issues, such as anxiety or a history of depression/suicidal thoughts, that a medically supervised detox is necessary to ensure the person’s safety throughout the withdrawal process.
How Long Does Cocaine Detox Take?
Withdrawal from cocaine usually occurs in three phases:
- “Crash” phase – when cocaine binge ends, a crash will follow almost straight away. It is characterized by the user experiencing strong cravings for cocaine, followed by anxiety, paranoia, exhaustion, and tiredness that lasts for a few days.
- “Withdrawal” phase – lasting for several weeks, it is characterized by less intense cravings, anxiety, depression, agitation, insomnia and disturbed sleep patterns and an inability to feel pleasure.
- “Extinction” phase – withdrawal symptoms still occur over several months and gradually taper off.
How to Safely Treat Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
Hader Clinic Queensland Private not only provides a safe, medically supervised detox for cocaine addiction, it also provides patients with an intensive psychosocial program, designed to equip them with the necessary tools and strategies required to maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol in the long term.
Additionally, specialised mental health assessment and treatment is provided one on one with our team of psychiatrists, addiction medicine specialists, and psychologists.