Cocaine is an intensely addictive drug. Due to its water-soluble nature, it enters and exits the body at a much faster rate than most other drugs. One should not underestimate the crippling cycle of dependency which Cocaine can cause. Once the use of the drug has been stopped, the withdrawal effects can last anywhere between 7 and 21 days.

Common withdrawal symptoms include cravings, paranoia, insomnia and anxiety.  To varying degrees, other withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Mood changes
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Loss of focus
  • Body aches
  • Tremors and chills
  • Numbness or the inability to feel pleasure (depression)

Cocaine Detox Duration

The withdrawal process typically lasts some weeks; though not inherently fatal, the experience can certainly be uncomfortable and unpleasant. The initial withdrawal of Cocaine, known as ‘the crash’ can last from a few hours, to days. Those who are suffering from a long-term addiction may experience ‘post-acute withdrawal symptoms,’ otherwise known as PAWS.

PAWS can occur immediately after the initial stages of withdrawal. As with the symptoms listed above, the severity tends to lessen over time. Each individual case differs and it is impossible to estimate the length or severity on a case by case basis. This makes it crucial to take a personal approach to each withdrawal process, within the framework of best practice.

Medications to Facilitate the Cocaine Detox Process

Currently, there are a variety of medicines which may aid the symptoms of withdrawal. These include euphoria blockers, Propranolol, vaccines and relapse prevention medication. Whichever medication is opted for, always ensure that medical supervision is in place. If in doubt, please discuss your options with your health provider.

PAWS Tips:

It may seem daunting to embark on a detox, but you are not alone. Some tips which may help the process include:

  • Seeking help from medical professionals or sponsors.
  • Talking about your feelings and struggles with a compassionate friend or therapist
  • Educating yourself about addiction.
  • Exercise
  • Surrounding yourself with understanding people who will be sensitive and supportive throughout your journey.

Whatever your decision, be proud of the steps you are taking towards healing and making more positive life choices. Remember that you are not alone; help and support is always available.

The journey to a healthier, more fulfilling life starts with the first step. It is built on will power and supported by the mental and behavioural tools acquired during the rehab process. There are lots of centres that can help support you, and residential programmes that are able to insulate you from the life that you were living before you decided to detox.

The important thing is getting into a programme and environment that facilitates your recovery, and allows you to get mentally strong. It’s about doing what it takes to detox, and then move forward with the tools you need to stay clear of cocaine.


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