By LYLE R. FRIED, CAP, ICADC, CHC In Addiction Recovery, Addiction Withdrawal, First Steps
Posted March 17, 2015
Putting an end to your cocaine use —It’s a big decision, and a necessary one. But what is the cocaine withdrawal timeline?
Once the decision is made, there are a lot of thoughts that will bombard your mind. Everything from fear to minimizing your addiction will try to crowd their way in. Addiction doesn’t leave without kicking and screaming, so it’s best to be as prepared and educated as possible.
Here are some thoughts:
You may be wondering what cocaine withdrawal will be like and how long it will take. Or you may be wondering what symptoms you’ll experience when going through it. Will you be able to handle it? Is cocaine withdrawal dangerous?
The following will tell you a little about cocaine addiction, as well as what you might experience during a typical withdrawal timeline.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a dangerous stimulant that can be found in crack rock, which is smoked, and powdered form. In powdered form it is typically used by either snorting the powder or injecting it after liquefying the powder.
The high achieved from cocaine isn’t long lasting, which often results in its abuse. Addicts will binge to maintain the high and then crash when those feelings dissipate and turn into exhaustion and depression. The euphoria that occurs during the high is caused by cocaine acting as a TRI, or triple reuptake inhibitor. It prevents the reuptake of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin at the same time. Cocaine has numerous effects on many important neurotransmitters in the brain, but the most dramatic effect is on the increase as well as the release of dopamine.
Cocaine use also blocks sodium channels and can result in heart attack and cardiac problems.
Onset of Cocaine Withdrawal
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms will appear less than 24 hours after abstinence. While most physical symptoms are not severe, the cravings that occur can be. The fundamental effect of cocaine is the magnification of the intensity of almost all normal pleasures. Once you take this away, the brain has to recover, and the norepinephrine, dopamine, and seratonin neurotransmitter levels are significantly reduced because the cocaine has depleted them. This is what leaves you bankrupt, feeling depressed, tired, and irritable.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
You can expect to experience the following symptoms during cocaine withdrawal:
- Restless behavior
- Slowing of activity
- Increased Appetite
- Generalized malaise
- Vivid and unpleasant dreams
You may also experience muscle aches, chills, tremors, involuntary twitches or jerks, and anhedonia —or the inability to find pleasure in things that should bring joy. This will pass, so don’t let it deter you from your decision to quit.
Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline
Going through cocaine withdrawal is different for everyone. However, this is a typical timeline, along with some of the most common symptoms you are likely to experience.
Day 0 to Week 2 – During the first few days, you are likely to experience a bounce between irritability, restlessness, fatigue, and a depressed mood. These generally peak around the second day, and the symptoms slowly fade away after this.
Week 2 to Month 3 – While general withdrawal symptoms will all but disappear as you reach week two, you’ll most likely experience cravings that peak during month two or three. During this time, you may also feel depressed and may even have bouts with suicidal thoughts.
Month 3 to Month 6 – You may still experience occasional intense cravings, although they will typically be less severe than they were during your first two months following abstinence. Depression may still be an issue, especially if you were a chronic cocaine user.
Month 6+ – After six months, the cravings should steadily subside. You may still experience anhedonia and a depressed mood for some time, depending on how long you used cocaine and how often. Your brain will need time to heal and will increase the natural levels of dopamine and seratonin over time.
How to Get Through Cocaine Withdrawal
There are a number of steps you can take to make cocaine withdrawal a little easier. Always see a professional if you’re experiencing depression or having suicidal thoughts. About 50% of cocaine abusers have a mental or emotional issues that they have been self-treating with the use of cocaine. By getting help now, you’ll feel better quicker and reduce the risk of relapse.
Avoid the people, places and things you have associated with cocaine in the past. Other steps you can take during withdrawal are exercising, joining a support group, or talking to a therapist. Whatever you do, don’t try to go it alone. Having the support of a family member, spouse, friend, or therapist can help you embrace a new way of living instead of getting sucked back in by the same temptations.
Benefits of Medical Detox for Cocaine Withdrawal
The first step to reclaiming your life is going through detox for your cocaine addiction. A medical detox facility can offer you a safe environment in which to do this, while providing you with additional support and helping to reduce some of the side effects you may experience during your first few days of abstinence. Once you’re done, you can begin your life again and move on to the next step in your recovery.
Treatment and Recovery After Cocaine Withdrawal
Making the decision to stop the cycle of addiction in your life is one of the best choices you’ll ever make. It is also one of the most difficult to live out without help. The Shores Treatment and Facility provides the therapy, support, nutrition, activities, and community atmosphere, all in a resort-like location that will allow you to learn, grow and receive treatment with dignity and hope for a promising future.
To learn more about medical detox and treatment for cocaine addiction, contact the Shores Treatment and Recovery today. Take that first step to the life you deserve.