What to Expect From Cocaine Withdrawal

axis-treatment-poolWithdrawal is a condition that develops when an individual stops using a drug to which they have developed either dependence or addiction. Sometimes the withdrawal symptoms are less severe. For instance, a person who may have developed a dependence on a prescription pain medication may feel as though they have the flu, or suffer flu-like symptoms, but they don’t associate it with the medication they’ve stopped taking. They won’t necessarily crave the drug because their mind doesn’t realize the connection. In other cases, such as severe heroin addiction, the symptoms may be more profound and include a craving for the drug because they know that using the drug will alleviate the pain and illness. Withdrawal symptoms from drug abuse can begin as early as a few hours after having ingested the substance.


In the case of cocaine withdrawal, the first symptom of drug withdrawal is known commonly as a “crash.”  Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant. Stimulants have several effects on the human body and the psyche, including feeling good, having excess energy and being hyper-alert. These types of drugs can make the user feel happy and joyful, at least in the beginning. When an individual stops taking the drug, they may experience:

The National Institute of Health has stated that some of the first symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can also include an increased appetite and feelings of depression.

Unlike heroin or opiates, cocaine withdrawal does not manifest with many physical symptoms. There is no shaking or trembling, or muscle or joint pain. Typically, those going through cocaine withdrawal won’t suffer the nausea or vomiting associated with other drugs. It is possible, however, that an individual who suffers from cocaine addiction will find they have intense bouts with cravings well into the recovery period.

Withdrawal From More Than One Drug of Abuse
Dangers from Cocaine Withdrawal

In some cases, an individual may be addicted to more than one type of drug. This is common, in fact, to the point that those living in the drug abuse sub-culture have slang terms for the practice of mixing cocaine with other drugs. “Crisscrossing” and “speedballing” are both terms used to describe mixing cocaine and heroin in various forms. When this happens, the individual may suffer withdrawal effects from both types of drugs. When one enters a detox facility to assist with the first few hours or days of withdrawal, it is of paramount important to let the staff know exactly what type of drugs one has taken and for how long so they can help with the cascade of symptoms.

According to an article published by Psychology Today, some withdrawal experiences can be fatal if they are not managed correctly. In the case of cocaine, however, the chances of having a fatal reaction to withdrawal from the physical addiction are quite low. Most of the time, the psychological ramifications pose a bigger threat. If you or someone close to you suffers from depression, for instance, the crash associated with cocaine withdrawal may enhance those feelings. Therefore, it’s a good idea to consult a professional or make certain you are not alone during the withdrawal period.

After the Crash: Cocaine Recovery

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has found through years of research and study that detoxifying from cocaine and other drugs is not an addiction treatment. The real treatment begins after the worst of the withdrawal symptoms have passed and the individual is in a better position to learn, grow and benefit from a treatment program.

One type of treatment that has proven effective for cocaine addiction is known as cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a process through which an individual and a trained counselor can develop new ways to approach the challenges and influence in life. It is generally a short-term experience, as opposed to the old “talk therapy” that many individuals associate with psychology. It is a proactive experience that gives the recovering addict solid tools and skills to call upon once the intensive treatment phase has ended.

Even so, each individual is different. Each person brings to the table their own history, their own perspective and their own belief systems. Therefore, each treatment program should be unique. The experiences of one resident at a facility like Axis will be completely unique and different from any other resident’s experience. By tailoring the experience to the needs of the individual, greater overall success is possible.

If you’d like more information on how we can tailor a cocaine addiction treatment program to your unique situation, call us today. We are here 24 hours a day to take your call.