Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine withdrawal is a necessary step towards recovery. No one needs to do it alone. Find out more here.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is an addictive stimulant that creates feelings of euphoria and energy followed by paranoia, anxiety, depression, and other negative mental states.1 The drug is considered a controlled substance.


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Cocaine Abuse and Addiction

Cocaine is an illegal substance. While it does have exceedingly rare medical applications, like in the case of cocaine for opiate withdrawal, frequent or even irregular cocaine use can lead to abuse and addiction.

Effects of Using Cocaine

Some of the most common withdrawal effects of cocaine include the following symptoms:1
Long-term effects of using cocaine include the following possibilities:1

Upwards of twenty million people experience cocaine addiction and abuse every year.2
The drug is highly addictive and increasingly expensive, which leads to financial ruin and anxiety, to name a few dangers. Plus, long-term cocaine use can result in a person being unable to feel positive emotions without the drug. This dependency can worsen underlying mental illness.3

Cocaine Withdrawal Stages

The withdrawal stages of cocaine can be split into three distinct parts.
The Crash
During the crash stage of withdrawal, a person will often be irritable, tired, and confused. They will also develop a brief distaste for cocaine.
The Withdrawal
Withdrawal can last for up to two or three months after a person’s last use. This withdrawal stage can cause cognitive issues, sleeping troubles, and increased cravings for cocaine.
The Extinction
Extinction is characterized by occasional cravings for cocaine and general feelings of unease, anxiety, or mood disorders.

Factors That Affect the Withdrawal Process

A lot more variables play a role in the withdrawal process than many people realize. Here are the most common.3

History of Use

The longer cocaine has been used, the more intense the cravings are. It’s typically far harder for a long-term user to quit taking the substance than it is for an individual who is in the early stages of addiction. Understanding how long a person has used cocaine helps professionals create a more efficient recovery plan.


Crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms cause changes to the person’s metabolism, resulting in changes in both body weight and energy levels. Additionally, long-term substance abuse limits the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.


Anyone can overcome substance addiction, but older people have a harder time learning new things on average compared to younger people. This is important to note because overcoming addiction relies on learning new, positive habits that result in making significant life changes.

Use of Other Drugs

Abusing alcohol and other substances can increase the chance of developing a dependency on both drugs. It also makes it more difficult to diagnose what drug is causing the addiction, making it hard to understand what to treat during an overdose.

Ingestion Method

The three most common ways to ingest cocaine include smoking, snorting, or injecting. All of these methods come with their own inherent risks. Likewise, each method involves nuanced treatment for recovery. For example, injecting coke carries the risk of blood-borne illnesses, which alters the tests and medications required to counteract an overdose.


Genetics play a major factor in developing and overcoming addictions. A person who is predisposed to substance abuse has a higher chance of developing dependency. As such, that individual will be more resistant to cocaine withdrawal treatment.

Withdrawal Process for Cocaine

cocaine withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms of cocaine can last anywhere from two to three months in most cases. These are the most common symptoms of the withdrawal process for cocaine.

Physical Symptoms

Heart Palpitations
Cocaine increases the heart rate, which can result in long-term heart issues. Heart palpitations have life-long side effects that can limit mobility and energy levels as well. As such, heart palpitations are one of the most deadly withdrawal symptoms of cocaine.4
Also known as extreme confusion, delirium makes it difficult to distinguish reality from fiction. Delirium can easily lead to self-harm, accidents, brain damage, and mood disorders.
Increased Appetite
Cocaine suppresses the appetite. In the absence of it, a person may start eating more as the result of an increased appetite.
Cocaine stimulates the nerves and causes uncontrollable muscle spasms. With symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, tremors emerge due to the impairment caused to the nervous system.
Muscle Aches
Cocaine symptoms leave a person dehydrated with overworked muscles and fill the body with stress hormones. For these and other reasons, muscle aches are a common symptom of the withdrawal process.

Psychological Symptoms

The mind and body work in unison. Should one fail, the other will experience adverse side effects. These are the most common effects of cocaine withdrawal symptoms for the mind.
Depression & Anxiety
The symptoms that stem from cocaine withdrawal ultimately burn out the dopamine receptors. This result in a heightened propensity for depression, anxiety, irritability, and a slew of other poor mental states. Should a person have underlying conditions, cocaine can intensify the effects, making it increasingly less likely for them to seek help for their dependency.



Cocaine causes nightmares because of the abundance of stress chemicals in the body following cocaine use. Additionally, the drug is responsible for insomnia, nighttime breathing issues, and other unfortunate sleep problems. 

Becoming paranoia following cocaine use can result in ruined relationships and poor decision-making abilities, all while intensifying the production of stress chemicals in the brain.
Suicidal Thoughts
Suicidal thoughts stem from depression, anxiety, paranoia, and general feelings of unease. Overcoming suicidal thoughts requires time, medicine, and therapy.
Irritability from withdrawal symptoms of cocaine is common. It can result in familial fights and relationship tension.

Diagnosis of Cocaine Withdrawal

Diagnosing cocaine withdrawal symptoms requires experience and medical oversight. Here are a few of the most important factors to keep in mind.

Cessation of Prolonged Cocaine Use

Understanding how long a person has fostered a dependency on cocaine and how intense their dependency currently is will allow a diagnostic team to estimate how long the withdrawal stages will last. This prediction is not always accurate, but it helps to set reasonable expectations for patients.

Increased Appetite

As mentioned, cocaine alters metabolisms and curbs appetites. Adjusting for these changes is an essential step to overcoming withdrawal. In addition, consistently eating healthy foods will give someone a much greater chance of managing cocaine withdrawal symptoms.

Distress in Social or Occupational Areas

Addiction can, at times, mask underlying mood disorders, like. In withdrawal, the symptoms of mood disorders may be intensified, or they will simply reemerge altogether. This can result in anti-social behavior. Another factor is the shame associated with drug use, causing a person to want to avoid people they may feel judged by.

How to Quit Cocaine

Withdrawal from cocaine and other substances is not an easy process to go through. However, here are the most common ways by which it is accomplished.

Detox Programs

Detox programs create a safe haven for individuals who are struggling to maintain sobriety in their at-home environment. This treatment option also provides people with access to the medicine and nutrients their bodies need to recover.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab is a form of round-the-clock care provided to individuals with severe dependency. It is the main option for people who must be removed from their usual environment to recover from an addiction as well. It’s perfect for early-stage recovery.

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab involves routine check-ins to monitor vitals, reaffirm the plan for recovery, and seek additional support if needed.

Tips for Withdrawal

Tips for cocaine withdrawal
Here are five of our top tips to implement when withdrawing from cocaine.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise helps to counteract the symptoms of withdrawal from cocaine. Regular exercise produces dopamine and serotonin while also strengthening virtually every system in the body. 

Eat Healthy Meals

Diet is essential to rebuilding muscle and weight loss during the dependency stage. It’s also a crucial part of maintaining a healthy, productive mood.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is another important factor in mood, muscle density, bone health, and overall energy levels. As such, it’s an important factor in recovery.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep will help you get through the day without feeling groggy or experiencing low energy levels. Get the sleep you need to have the day you want!

Join a Support Group

No one gets through recovery without help. Join a support group full of people who have been where you have been and made it out to the other side. A good support group is a place where you can ask questions, like, “What are the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal?” and “Where do we go from here?”

There’s no set cocaine withdrawal timeline, and for many, it can be a lifelong process. But with the right help and the proper cocaine withdrawal medication for you, it’s more than possible. Reach out today to learn more!