Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine withdrawal generally occurs when there is abrupt discontinuation of the drug or a rapid decrease in the usage of it. When discontinued, the user will experience a “crash” along with other cocaine withdrawal symptoms: paranoia, depression, an intense craving for more cocaine, exhaustion, anxiety, mood swings, irritability, fatigue, and/or insomnia. REM sleep may also be affected for weeks after last use. Patients may have major concurrent psychiatric disorders and there may be severe discomfort and changes in the central nervous system as well. Withdrawal symptoms can be intense and require a cocaine rehab treatment for a successful recovery

Cocaine Withdrawal’s Physical Effects

Unlike heroin or alcohol where physical symptoms such as vomiting or shaking are evident, cocaine’s withdrawal symptoms are generally psychological and therefore require intensive psychological counseling and/or rehab. However, there are common physical indications of withdrawal to be aware of when helping or observing someone going through withdrawal.

A cocaine addict is likely to experience chest pain occasionally due to severe coughing at the time of withdrawal. Phlegm released during coughing is normally black in color. If blood appears along with phlegm then it is considered to be a serious problem. By taking proper medicines and a good amount of water and fluids, the patients can alleviate the condition.

People normally become nervous and weak as soon as they withdraw from the use of the drug. Giving them confidence is very important at that stage. Addicts are ready to forego any thing like food, shelter and sleep in order to get the drug. As they are mentally weak, they get mild headaches, which may lead to insomnia. Excessive anxiety and fear prevail due to inefficiency. Such panic disorders are quite common during the withdrawal period.

Medical Treatment for Cocaine

At the present time, there is no proven pharmacological therapy for cocaine addiction but there are several pharmaceutical drugs that help in the detoxification of cocaine by helping to treat symptoms of withdrawal. Antidepressant drugs such as Desapramine help to reduce the withdrawal symptoms such as depression and anxiety. With severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms, Amantadine, may reduce cocaine craving. Bromocriptine, a drug that works on the brain’s dopamine system, has been used to decrease the craving for cocaine during detoxification and to reduce mood disturbance. Propanolol, may be useful for severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms, as it inhibits the effects of adrenaline, thereby calming the body’s “fight or flight” response to stressful situations. Propranolol’s lessening of symptoms such as palpitations and sweating has helped to reduce cocaine craving associated with such symptoms.

To break down the process of recovery, there are four stages of withdrawal for a cocaine addict. Symptoms and behaviors will vary and change as an individual progresses to each stage.

Stage 1: Withdrawal (0-15 days)

You may sleep more, act impulsively, or feel depressed, anxious, shameful, fearful, confused, or full of self-doubt. Cravings to use cocaine are strong, and you may have trouble concentrating or coping with stress. You may become irritated easily with other people.

Stage 2: Honeymoon (16-45 days)

You begin to feel better physically, your energy increases, and you feel more optimistic and confident about your life. You may even begin to feel your cocaine problem is under control or over, and, as a result, you may want to drop out of treatment early or stop your recovery activities, such as attending NA, CA, or AA meetings or stop following the disciplines of recovery.

This may contribute to your use of cocaine or other substances again.

Stage 3: The Wall (46-120 days)

This is seen as the major hurdle in recovery. You become more vulnerable to relapse as you feel reduced physical or sexual energy, depressed, anxious, irritable, or bored; have trouble concentrating; and feel strong cravings or thoughts about using cocaine.

Stage 4: Adjustment (121-180 days)

If you get through the previous stages, you may feel a great sense of accomplishment. Life begins to feel like it’s getting back to normal as you adjust to changes in your lifestyle.

Although your mood improves, you still continue to feel bored and may even feel lonelier than you did before. Cravings for cocaine occur less frequently and intensely, and you may begin to question whether you have an addiction. You may even put yourself in high-risk situations that increase your relapse risk.

For this reason and the intensity of these withdrawal symptoms, patients detoxing from cocaine have the highest relapse rate.

The good news is that these symptoms from withdrawing from cocaine can disappear completely over time. On the flip side, however, if the abuse has been chronic, the prominent symptoms of intense cravings and depression can last for months. Research has also shown that those who experience cocaine withdrawal frequently try to self-medicate themselves with anti-anxiety medications such as valium, alcohol, sedatives or hypnotics.

If you or someone you know is suffering from the effects of cocaine and needs an cocaine intervention, treatment is available. To learn more about cocaine rehab, please call our toll free number. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer any questions you might have about cocaine treatment.

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