Sitting in a rundown house, you line up your next hit of cocaine. The high you feel from the experience brings you joy, but this time, as you look around, the effects are short-lived. Depression creeps in, and you wonder how you got here. The sun sneaks in through a cracked window and reflects off the dust on the floor. You call the number a friend gave you to a place that can help. They inform you that the next available appointment is a few days away.
Within a few hours, the symptoms you feel are incredibly uncomfortable. You feel like you can hear cocaine calling to you, and the pain is becoming unbearable. You are experiencing cocaine withdrawals.
In 2020, 1,000 people died from cocaine in Texas. Cocaine can have a short turnaround from the last dose to when you start to feel symptoms of withdrawal. So, when you decide to seek treatment, there is a small window before cocaine will try to pull you back again, making you change your mind about seeking treatment. At SUN Behavioral Health Houston, we offer 24/7 crisis care that allows you to start your treatment before the withdrawals change your mind.
Cocaine withdrawal happens when someone stops using or cuts down on cocaine. People undergoing cocaine withdrawal will often experience uncomfortable symptoms. Many people will want to return to use during this stage of recovery. However, it is essential to remember you don’t have to do it alone. Treatment can keep you as comfortable as possible through your cocaine withdrawal.
The use of cocaine heightens dopamine levels in the brain. Over time, tolerance builds, resulting in an increased need to consume more cocaine to get the same effect. The absence of cocaine, at this point, leads to withdrawal symptoms manifesting. These symptoms encourage the person to take more cocaine to maintain a sense of normalcy.
Although cocaine withdrawal is not inherently dangerous, it can be exceptionally uncomfortable, especially when attempted independently. To ensure a safer and more manageable process, you should withdraw from cocaine under the guidance of a medical professional. Complications such as suicidal ideas can occur. If someone used cocaine with alcohol, they might be at risk for developing a heart attack or seizures.
Every person is different, and they might experience cocaine withdrawal symptoms differently. What might not be dangerous for one person could be dangerous for another. Their guidance can allow you to experience comfort and receive assistance in coping with withdrawal symptoms. You will also acquire skills and techniques that will enable you to navigate the challenges of the recovery journey.
Everyone will experience a different combination of symptoms when experiencing cocaine withdrawal. One person might experience all the symptoms listed, while another only experiences one or two. The intensity of symptoms can also differ when you compare one person to another. They might experience physical or psychological symptoms. People can also experience a combination of both. Just because a friend experienced cocaine withdrawal one way does not necessarily mean you will experience it the same way. All experiences are valid forms of cocaine withdrawal.
There are various psychological symptoms during cocaine withdrawal. These can include depression and anxiety. Depression and anxiety can worsen into suicidal ideation during cocaine withdrawal. Some people might experience an inability to experience pleasure due to the decrease in dopamine production. People might also experience irritability and insomnia. Reports of vivid and often unpleasant dreams come with cocaine withdrawal.
Physical symptoms can also present themselves when someone is undergoing cocaine withdrawal. These might include fatigue or memory problems. Intense cravings for cocaine are also common. Typically, when someone uses cocaine, they are less likely to want to eat, noting that they have a decreased appetite. However, when they stop using cocaine, their appetite will come back, resulting in increased appetite. People might experience dehydration when they are going through cocaine withdrawal, while others experience slowed thinking. People might experience chills, muscle aches, and nerve pain. No matter what symptoms you are experiencing, know that you do not have to experience those symptoms alone.
When someone takes cocaine, they first experience a “high,” which is followed by a “crash.” This crash usually begins the withdrawal process. Symptoms of withdrawal occur within the first 1.5-3 hours after you last used cocaine. Symptoms occur here because cocaine has a half-life of around 1 hour.
A half-life means that after 1 hour, half of the cocaine you took left your body. Often, the symptoms are fatigue and discomfort since you are experiencing the crash. After this point, cravings might start, as well as more intense symptoms of cocaine withdrawal. These symptoms occur around 3 hours to 3 days. Around 24-72 hours after your last use, you will feel the highest intensity peak in your symptoms. At this stage, symptoms might include tremors, pain, and nightmares. Cravings and other symptoms will also be the most intense.
From 4-7 days on, your symptoms will start to decrease. You may still experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. Cravings will continue in highs and lows. You will continue to experience cravings and some symptoms for the next week or two. These symptoms are why maintaining a treatment routine is pivotal during this time – it can help you navigate these massive changes and challenges. Eventually, the symptoms and cravings will disappear, and a sense of balance will return.
If you are undergoing cocaine withdrawal, doctors recommend a medical detox. While the symptoms are usually less intense than they are for opioid withdrawal, the symptoms can also still be highly uncomfortable. Cocaine detox for cocaine withdrawal is essential because it allows professionals to keep you safe and comfortable. They can help you through any complications that might come up when you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Undergoing cocaine addiction treatment for cocaine withdrawal will also teach you skills and techniques needed to manage your symptoms on your own. These include skills found in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). CBT helps you manage symptoms and emotions through talk therapy. People who use cocaine are often looking for a way to cope with the stresses that come with life, and CBT can teach you techniques for dealing with those situations. It can also help you heal your relationships with your family and friends.
DBT is also a type of talk therapy used to help regulate emotions. It allows people to change unhealthy behaviors and negative emotions into healthier behaviors. It teaches people how to cope with their emotions. Skills in DBT include interpersonal effectiveness, which teaches you how to set boundaries and maintain mindfulness, which involves focusing on the present instead of the future or past. Distress tolerance, the idea of managing emotions in stressful situations, and emotion regulation, the idea of being aware and in control of your emotions, are common skills in DBT.
Perhaps you feel like you no longer control your life and emotions. Cocaine has taken the driver’s seat of your life, and maybe you feel like it is driving you off a cliff. You don’t have to feel that anymore. Asking for help does not make you weak. Cocaine withdrawal can be a challenging experience, but hope is on the other side. The first step in taking the wheel back from cocaine is experiencing withdrawal. Medical detox can make that experience more manageable.
Located in Houston, TX, SUN Behavioral Health solves unmet needs in the community. Deciding to seek treatment for a cocaine use disorder can come with several questions. You want to know if the place you are going to is best for you. Bouncing from one facility to the next can be difficult. We offer a no-cost care assessment that allows you to meet with a member of our compassionate team to find the best care plan for you. For more information or to get started on cocaine treatment today, call us at 713-796-2273.