How Long Does It Take to Detox from Cocaine?

Cocaine detox is an uncomfortable but necessary first step toward recovery. Learn about the detox timeline for cocaine and its symptoms.

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What Is Cocaine Detox?

Cocaine detox is the body’s way of cleaning cocaine and its associated toxins out of your system. Symptoms of detox begin within just 90 minutes from the last use. These symptoms can last up to ten days or longer. 1

Cocaine Detox

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Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Due to its euphoric and stimulating effects, cocaine is highly addictive. Cocaine is considered a ‘party drug,’ but continued use can lead to a dangerous addiction. People who regularly use cocaine experience physical symptoms related to use. Nose bleeds, runny nose/frequent sniffing, decreased appetite, and sleep disturbances are common. When a person addicted to cocaine stops using, they experience cocaine detox symptoms. Chills, cravings, aches, fever, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and irritability are all signs of cocaine detox.2
Cocaine use affects more than your body. Cocaine use can cause problems at school or work. Using cocaine leads to an increase in risky behaviors, mood and personality changes. Also, because it tends to be costly, cocaine can lead to financial problems.

Causes of Cocaine Addiction

Not everyone who uses cocaine will immediately become addicted. Repeated cocaine use causes changes in the brain’s reward pathway, which lead to addiction. This is because cocaine use releases dopamine. Over time, the brain begins to adapt to the extra dopamine. This causes a person to do more cocaine to achieve the same high or feel good.3

How Cocaine Detox Helps Treatment

Cocaine detox can be uncomfortable and dangerous. It is not recommended to undergo cocaine detox at home. People with severe cocaine addiction are at risk for heart problems, seizures, and brain bleeds during detox.4

Due to these dangers, cocaine detox should be supervised by a medical professional. Detoxing at a hospital or detox center is the safest choice because it allows for medical monitoring. Another benefit of detox programs is the emphasis on transitioning into addiction treatment. Working with a cocaine detox program will put you in touch with the right resources to make decisions for future treatment.

How Is It Monitored?

A doctor and a team of nurses monitor the detox process. During detox, you will be supervised 24/7. This ensures that you remain safe during detox. This also allows for withdrawal symptoms to be managed through prescription medication.

What Is Cocaine Withdrawal?

When someone stops using cocaine, or the drug wears off, they experience a comedown. The comedown is the beginning stage of cocaine withdrawal. Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal look different for everyone, and withdrawal timelines vary.

When Is Medical Detox Necessary for Cocaine Withdrawal?

For people who have a long and severe history of cocaine use, medical detox may be needed. Medical detox is necessary when someone has taken too much cocaine and has cocaine toxicity. Cocaine toxicity is serious and can have life-threatening consequences. These consequences include seizures, irregular breathing, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, or coma.5

Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can be both physical and psychological. Signs of cocaine withdrawal include:
  • Increase In Appetite: Cocaine use has appetite-killing effects. When withdrawal sets in, the opposite is true. It is normal to feel extra hungry during a cocaine comedown. This hunger is your body’s way of making up for the lack of calories during use. 
  • Strong Cocaine Cravings: Cocaine cravings are intense during withdrawal. Many feel triggered to use cocaine to address withdrawal. 
  • Suicidal Thoughts: Cocaine use causes dopamine levels in the brain to drop. This can leave individuals feeling hopeless and depressed. Often, this can escalate to suicidal thoughts and urges. 
  • Aggressive Tendencies and Irritability: Having a shorter fuse is common during withdrawal. Many feel flashes of anger during withdrawal. Luckily, this symptom usually goes away with other withdrawal symptoms.
  • Agitation: Feelings of restlessness and mental agitation are common withdrawal symptoms. Feeling antsy or anxious is also common.
  • Extreme Fatigue: Cocaine use is hard on the body and can lead to exhaustion. When someone comes down off cocaine, they often experience extreme fatigue. This type of fatigue extends beyond feeling tired. Muscle soreness and weakness are common, due to cocaine’s effects on muscles.
In mild cases, these symptoms can be managed at home. Staying hydrated, getting plenty of sleep, and eating right can help you get through detox at home. Additionally, taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help with any detox-related soreness.

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Cocaine?

Cocaine detox timelines look different for everyone, and symptoms can vary. For most people, detox symptoms will appear as early as 90 minutes after the last use. These symptoms can linger for ten days or more.

Factors Affecting the Detox Duration Process

Cocaine detox timelines depend on many factors. Factors that affect detox length include:6
  • Length of Use: People with an extensive history of cocaine use usually have longer detox timelines. This is because long-term cocaine use changes your brain. It can take some time for your brain to heal from use. 
  • Size of Dose: Those who take larger doses of cocaine are likely to have a longer detox timeline. Larger doses take longer to be broken down by the body.
  • Polysubstance Dependence: People who use cocaine are often addicted to other drugs like alcohol, marijuana, or opiates. Different drugs have different withdrawal timelines. This can cause the detox process to be longer and more severe. 
  • Environment: Staying in a triggering or frustrating environment can also affect detox. An environmental trigger can lead to relapse, which means restarting detox.
  • Co-Occurring Mental Health: Almost two-thirds of people who are addicted to cocaine also have another mental illness. This can make the process more intense, as symptoms of mental illness intensify during withdrawal. 

Detox Timeline

While the length of detox varies, the detox timeline can be broken into three phases. These include a crash, a craving, and an extinction phase.

The Crash Phase

Commonly referred to as the comedown, the crash phase is the start of detox. Symptoms of withdrawal come on fast and are at their most extreme. The crash can last for a couple of hours or a couple of days.

The Craving Phase

Withdrawal symptoms become less intense, and the craving phase begins. During this phase, fierce cravings for cocaine are to be expected.

The Extinction Phase

The extinction phase is the last phase of detox. By this time, withdrawal symptoms and cravings have become less severe. As time goes by, these symptoms will disappear completely.

Duration of Withdrawal

The average withdrawal period for cocaine is around ten days. For some – withdrawal can last much longer. Those with severe addiction have significantly longer withdrawals. Some people develop post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). PAWS can make withdrawal symptoms last anywhere from weeks to years.
Cocaine Detox

What Treatments Are Available After Detox?

Detox is not a substitute for rehab but is an important first step. After detox, it is important to get addiction treatment. Transitioning to a treatment program will help you have a successful recovery. Treatment options for cocaine addiction include inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and therapy.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is the most intense form of treatment for cocaine addiction. Inpatient treatment programs are longer-term stays at a rehab facility. This type of treatment provides round-the-clock care through withdrawal into recovery. Inpatient treatment programs also provide opportunities to learn new skills. Also, living with others going through recovery can provide a sense of community.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is an option for those who cannot commit to an inpatient stay. Unlike inpatient programs, outpatient treatment is done from home. Outpatient programs do ask for regular meetings with a substance abuse professional. One-on-one therapy, group therapy, and homework are all part of outpatient programs.

Individual or Group Therapies

Individual and group therapy plays a key role in addiction recovery. One-on-one therapy helps people understand their addiction. Also, therapy teaches coping skills and can help you create a plan for sobriety.
For cocaine addiction treatment, contingency management and cognitive behavioral therapy are common. Group therapy is also used in the treatment of cocaine addiction. Group therapy provides community and accountability. Both of which are important for recovery.

Begin Profound Healing

At Profound, we understand that your cocaine detox process and treatment plan should be as unique as you are. Our holistic approach to treatment addresses the whole person through creating a custom treatment plan. We offer both residential and outpatient programs as treatment options following cocaine detox. Call us and begin healing today.

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