cocaine withdrawal

Cocaine produces a euphoric sense of joy along with an intense high caused by a release of dopamine in the brain. When the brain functions normally under the influence of cocaine, the drug is needed to feel balanced or ‘normal.’ Physical dependence is needing cocaine to function which can cause withdrawal symptoms when cocaine is absent. Learn how to cope with cocaine withdrawal and what to do if a loved one is struggling with addiction.


Cocaine Withdrawal

Dependence on cocaine requires presence of the drug to keep doing daily activities and functioning at a normal level. When levels of cocaine in the system drop or are nonexistent, withdrawal symptoms begin. The severity of withdrawal symptoms will depend on length of use and amount ingested. Withdrawal may occur even after one use. Following any use of cocaine, withdrawal symptoms may be present. More psychological than physical, the symptoms are very intense and severe. Some of the following may be present which indicate withdrawal:

  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Malaise
  • Increased appetite
  • Slower activity level
  • Vivid or unpleasant dreams


Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms 

Cocaine withdrawal can bring up very negative feelings including extreme hopelessness, a sense of desperation and fatigue. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms begin to present almost immediately after effect of drugs wear off. The first symptom to appear is craving which can make it difficult to avoid relapse. Within a few hours of use, symptoms begin to appear which affect a person psychologically. Agitation and restlessness begin within a few hours after quitting cocaine. Peak time for withdrawal side effects are 48-72 hours after last use. Weeks of symptoms of cocaine withdrawal may occur before fully disappearing. Some symptoms may last for months. Depression and cravings are symptoms of cocaine withdrawal which can last for months following initial withdrawal symptoms.


Coping with Cocaine Withdrawal

Treatment for cocaine withdrawal may include detox, prescription medication or home remedies but may include a mix of all of the above.

Detox: usually the first step in cocaine withdrawal. Three components comprise this step: evaluation, stabilization and seeking further treatment. Several options exist including inpatient or outpatient facilities. Counselors and staff can support a person at a detox facility through all the steps of a full detox.

Home Remedies: no home remedies are necessary to deal with symptoms aside from rest. Addressing emotional and psychological signs of withdrawal may be helpful even if a person chooses home detox.

Medications: no medication exists to assist with lessening cocaine withdrawal symptoms. A person may, however, benefit from an anti-depressant prescription or anti-anxiety medication. Sedatives and alcohol have also been used but using any addictive substance can bring further complications. Transference of dependence may also occur.


The best way to complete cocaine withdrawal is through complete abstinence with support and help of treatment personnel who understand the process and can ensure the individual is safe and healthy from start to finish.


Struggling with cocaine addiction or know someone who is? Contact us at 800-910-9299 for more information on how we can assist you in the recovery process.