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AddictionDetoxCocaine Addiction

Cocaine Withdrawal and Other Things to Know About Cocaine Addiction

By November 7, 2018 January 17th, 2020 No Comments
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Cocaine withdrawal is not as physically intense a process as withdrawal from other substances such as alcohol or opioids.

However, it can involve a range of distressing and potentially dangerous symptoms. Withdrawal management can provide vital support for someone trying to stop using cocaine.

If you experience withdrawal after not using cocaine for a period of time, this means that you have formed a dependence on the substance and may require professional support to achieve lasting recovery. As the withdrawal process can be very difficult and distressing, you may also require medical supervision during the withdrawal process.

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres provides withdrawal management at no extra cost to clients entering our residential or outpatient treatment programs. We have established relationships with medical organizations that provide supervision and medical support throughout the withdrawal process. Once the withdrawal process has been completed, clients can seamlessly transition into a treatment program. This allows them to build on the progress they have already made towards recovery.

How Cocaine Works

Cocaine can be snorted, injected or smoked. The speed with which its effects begin and the length of time they last vary depending on how the drug is ingested. However, they usually begin within a few minutes and last for up to two hours. Cocaine creates sensations of euphoria and substantially increased energy in the user. Users often become very talkative, confident and restless.

Cocaine acts as a stimulant on the brain. It causes the neurotransmitter dopamine to build up in the brain’s reward centre. This makes its effects extremely pleasurable and, with sustained use, addictive. People often come to depend on cocaine’s effects very quickly. Over time, cocaine use also affects the structure of the brain, conditioning it to expect and depend on the increased dopamine levels it creates and reducing the reaction to ordinary stimuli. These changes can last for a long time after a person ceases to use cocaine. Due to its energizing effects, many cocaine users also come to depend on it for productivity, to continue working, concentrating or staying awake for prolonged periods.

Cocaine also increases heart rate and blood pressure. In some cases, this can result in chest pain or heart attack. Sustained use can also lead to cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, or endocarditis, an infection of the heart’s lining. These conditions can be life threatening and require ongoing, expert medical support.

Length of Cocaine Withdrawal

A cocaine “high” sets in and passes relatively quickly. This means that, for someone addicted to the drug, withdrawal can set in very quickly- sometimes within two hours. Withdrawal generally lasts for between three and ten days. However, this varies, and some users may experience withdrawal symptoms for much longer. The length of the withdrawal process is dependent on a number of factors. These include the strength of the cocaine the person has been using, the quantity they have been consuming, and how long they have been using the drug for. Any concurrent mental health disorders a person may have can also influence the withdrawal process, and environmental triggers can also make the process more severe. If someone is dealing with more than one addiction, the withdrawal process will be more complex as they will experience symptoms related to all addictions.

Common Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

A person addicted to cocaine will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms within hours of their last use. Early symptoms often include feelings of anxiety and agitation. It may also become difficult to focus and thinking may become laboured. Mental and physical fatigue and exhaustion are also common cocaine withdrawal symptoms. Related to these symptoms, many people will also experience anhedonia, or the inability to take pleasure in anything. In some cases, people in cocaine withdrawal experience feelings of paranoia.

Depression is also a common symptom of cocaine withdrawal. This is particularly common for people dealing with depression co-occurring with their addiction problems. Many people in the early stages of withdrawal also experience intense, disturbing dreams. Physical sensations such as aches, chills and shakes are also common. In some cases, these symptoms will reduce after the initial phase of withdrawal. Certain symptoms may also intensify as withdrawal continues.

Cocaine Psychosis

In some cases, people who have used large amounts of cocaine experience cocaine psychosis. While this is a temporary condition, its effects will often be severe during withdrawal. Certain symptoms may also persist long after the person has stopped using cocaine. Symptoms can include hallucinations, intense paranoia, delusions, anger and difficulty thinking clearly or making decisions.

These symptoms can put the person experiencing them or those around them in significant danger, as they will be unable to make clear judgments and may become violent. In some cases, cocaine psychosis may also lead to suicidal or homicidal thoughts. The potential severity of these symptoms mean that someone experience cocaine psychosis should be provided with medical support immediately. Withdrawal management can also be of vital importance to someone experiencing withdrawal symptoms alongside symptoms of cocaine psychosis.

Withdrawal Management

In some cases, the cocaine withdrawal process can be very severe and potentially even dangerous. This means that some people will require medical support during withdrawal. This involves constant medical supervision and support, in an enclosed environment, for the duration of the process or until symptoms are no longer dangerous. As well as ensuring the person’s safety, this also prevents them from relapsing during the most difficult phases of withdrawal. Supervised withdrawal is also recommended in cases involving concurrent disorders, such as depression or anxiety, which may increase the severity of the process.

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres offers withdrawal management at no additional cost to clients enrolled in our residential or outpatient programs. We have established relationships with medical organizations that provide 24/7 support during withdrawal and treat symptoms when necessary. In some cases, they will also prescribe medications to ease symptoms.

Once a person has person has progressed through withdrawal, or their symptoms have become less intense, they can immediately transfer into structured, evidence-based treatment. This allows them to build on the progress they have already made in a dedicated, client-centred program. Our collaboration with medical professionals also allows for the exchange of any relevant information between medics and treatment provider.

Aftercare for Cocaine Addiction

Recovery is a lifelong process. This means that treatment should not cease at the end of a structured program. Aftercare support is an essential element of addiction treatment. It can form a crucial part of a person’s support network as they work on their recovery.

Trafalgar’s aftercare support is uniquely strong in the field of addiction treatment. Our Aftercare, ContinUcare and Continuation of Care counselling programs ensure that our evidence-based care for our clients continues long after they have completed a treatment program.


Aftercare sessions take place at our residential and outpatient centres. For people who cannot access these locations, Trafalgar will work to provide them with alternative, convenient aftercare options. Our Aftercare group sessions allow people to discuss their recovery with our counsellors and others in recovery. They can identify relapse triggers and discuss challenges in their recovery and methods for dealing with them. Clients who have completed treatment programs are entitled to Aftercare sessions on an ongoing basis.


ContinUCare functions through sets of questions which are periodically sent to clients. This allows clients to continue communicating with clinical staff. Our staff can monitor clients’ recovery process and contact them when problems are identified. This is a proactive method for clients to confront any challenges in their recovery.

Continuation of Care

Continuation of Care counselling is available for clients for two months after completing one of our treatment programs. It involves weekly, 45-minute phone calls with our Continuation of Care Program Manager. These conversations can be used to discuss recovery challenges and methods for dealing with them. They will help clients to identify relapse triggers and discuss ContinUcare responses. This continued, constructive contact is a huge support during the early stages of recovery.

If you or one of your loved ones wants to stop using cocaine but you are concerned about the prospect of withdrawal, contact Trafalgar Addiction Centres today. We provide the kind of evidence-based, client-centred care that will support you or your loved one through the withdrawal process, throughout treatment, and after it has concluded. We will provide the best possible foundation for recovery.

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

We offer residential and outpatient rehab treatment programs for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

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