Cocaine can be a highly addictive substance when used regularly. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms often begin as soon as the effects of the drug begin to wear off. Unfortunately, due to the shortness of cocaine’s effects, people continue to use the drug until they are ready to crash. Therefore, it is easy to wonder, “What are the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal?”
What is Cocaine, Exactly?
In its natural form, cocaine is found in the leaves of the coca bush. One interesting fact is if someone chews on the leaves from the coca plant, it causes a person to experience increased energy levels and decreases appetite. They also do not develop an addiction to cocaine or experience withdrawal symptoms.
In its processed form, cocaine is a white powder cut with other substances and frequently snorted through the nose. Since the powder substance is snorted, it is a fast-acting stimulant that creates euphoric feelings, increased energy levels, reduced appetite, and hyperactivity.
If the drug is processed further using alkalis, such as ammonia or baking soda, it becomes crack cocaine. Crack cocaine can then be smoked or made into a liquid suspension injected into the body.
Dangers of Cocaine Abuse
One of the dangers of cocaine abuse is the cutting and processing of cocaine. In the past, the drug was primarily cut with baking soda. However, in more recent times, drug suppliers are processing cocaine using a wide range of substances. Some of these substances can be pretty toxic and deadly when mixed with cocaine, such as:
- Epsom salts
- Crystal meth
Unfortunately, you never know what substances were cut into cocaine when processed. As a result, taking a single hit of cocaine could turn deadly if it contains highly potent drugs or toxic substances.
Additional Dangers of Cocaine
Another danger of cocaine abuse is the euphoric rush one experiences while under its effects. This “high” makes a person feel energized. In the brain, cocaine causes an increase in the release of dopamine, a chemical that makes us feel elated and good. As you can imagine, once someone experiences these sensations, they will want to experience them again.
When you combine those feelings with the shortness of the drug’s effects, it is easy to understand why people go on all-night “benders” where they continue to use cocaine to prevent the effects from wearing off. Eventually, they will “crash” and experience withdrawal symptoms.
Tolerance is another danger of cocaine abuse. As a person continues using cocaine, the body develops a natural tolerance. As such, the effects one experiences are not as noticeable. Therefore, the person has to increase the amount of cocaine they use to achieve the desired effects.
By the time addiction takes hold, the brain requires cocaine to produce dopamine so the person can feel normal and function. If they were to stop using cocaine, withdrawal symptoms start as the body attempt to return itself to normal functioning without the drug. Those addicted to cocaine will continue misusing it to avoid going into withdrawal.
What Are the Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal?
Once cocaine starts to wear off, a person enters withdrawal. Although, the types of symptoms, their severity, and their effects on the individual depend on several factors, such as:
- How long cocaine a person used cocaine
- The amount of cocaine the person uses
- The extent of the addiction to the drug
Some of the more common symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:
- Panic attacks
- Increased appetite
- Life-like nightmares/night tremors
- Thoughts of suicide
- Problems concentrating/focusing
How Long Do Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
The duration of the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can vary based on how the drug was abused. In general, most people get past the majority of the withdrawal symptoms within 2 to 4 weeks. By the second month of sobriety, the body has started healing itself, and the withdrawal symptoms continue to decline.
By the end of the second month, most people are starting to feel better and more like they did before using cocaine. However, cravings can still occur periodically. Some people also experience periods of anxiety and irritability.
By the third month of sobriety, most people overcome their withdrawal symptoms. Yet, they can still have cravings or triggers when placed in certain situations. Therefore, it is essential to develop the appropriate coping mechanisms to avoid lapses and relapse when undergoing cocaine addiction treatment.
How to Find Help for Cocaine Addiction
Several resources and treatment centers provide access to detox and rehab treatment programs for those addicted to cocaine. When selecting a program, it is crucial to choose one that best reflects your needs and will enable you to focus on your recovery. Furthermore, the longer you continue treatment, the less likely you will experience a relapse.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment in Atlanta, GA
When you are ready to get help with the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal and your cocaine addiction, Buckhead Behavioral Health in Atlanta is here to help. We offer access to partial hospitalization programs (PHP), intensive outpatient programs (IOP), and supervised detox with medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Each of our programs is customizable to fit teens’ and adults’ specific addiction treatment needs. To start your cocaine addiction treatment, or for further information about our treatment programs and options, visit our admissions page to speak with an intake specialist today.