Cocaine is a potent and addictive central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. For thousands of years, people in South America have chewed on coca leaves for their stimulant effects, unaware of the drug’s addictive nature. The purified chemical cocaine hydrochloride was isolated over 100 years ago, and in the early 1900s, purified cocaine was used as an active ingredient in many surprising products. Nowadays, however, the medical field and society as a whole are more aware of cocaine’s dangers and potential for addiction. For those suffering from the aftermath of drug abuse, our cocaine detox at one of our Florida rehabs in Sebring can help. 

What Causes Cocaine Withdrawal?

Cocaine withdrawal can develop more rapidly in some people than others. Genetics may play a significant role in a person’s likelihood of using cocaine and becoming addicted. For instance, individuals with a family history of drug abuse or who grew up in a home where drug abuse was common are more likely to engage in this behavior, as well. 

The development of cocaine dependence and withdrawal symptoms can be linked to the drug’s impact on the CNS. Cocaine works by blocking certain proteins in the brain, preventing them from absorbing any excess dopamine that has been activated to be released. This causes dopamine flooding in the brain, which then produces a sense of euphoria and well-being. 

Cocaine-related spikes in dopamine strongly reinforce the continued use of the drug. However, long-term and repeated use can, over time, cause the brain to adapt to cocaine and rely on it to release dopamine. The body may also become physically dependent on the drug, “acting out” in withdrawal symptoms when it does not get cocaine. 

Tolerance also builds as a result of long-term cocaine use, causing the individual to require increasing amounts of the drug to avoid the onset of withdrawal symptoms and experience the same high. Moreover, cocaine is characterized as having an “explosive risk” for dependence, meaning it takes less time for someone to develop a dependence on the drug than many other substances. 

Cocaine Detox Symptoms

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms are known for being more psychologically distressing than the symptoms of other drugs, such as opioids, alcohol, or benzodiazepines. Common symptoms of detoxing from cocaine include: 

  • Anxiety
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Chills
  • Cravings for cocaine
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Irritability 
  • Loss of sexual pleasure
  • Muscle aches
  • Nightmares
  • Paranoia
  • Poor concentration
  • Slowed thoughts and movements
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Tremors

Although stimulant withdrawal does not usually cause many physical symptoms, some individuals are at a higher risk of experiencing significantly debilitating dysphoria, a feeling similar to a ‘cocaine comedown.’ This is marked by symptoms like depression and overwhelmingly negative thoughts and feelings. This intense period of dysphoria could, in some cases, be linked to suicidal thoughts or attempts and could potentially lead to cocaine relapse

While many symptoms of cocaine withdrawal begin to subside after several days, some people may experience longer and more intense symptoms, which can last up to weeks after the treatment is completed. Protracted withdrawal is the presence of substance-specific signs and symptoms of withdrawal that may continue beyond the time frame of detox expected for the individual. 

What’s more, the severity of a person’s detox for cocaine dependence can vary widely from person to person. These withdrawals are also influenced by factors like the person’s age, their general health, whether they have an underlying mental illness, how much cocaine they use, and how long they have been using cocaine. Individuals who have a history of mental illness or are in their forties or older are more likely to experience more difficult withdrawals than a younger person without a history of mental illness. 

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Cocaine?

As we mentioned, several factors can determine the duration of the cocaine detox timeline. Detoxing from cocaine can take anywhere from 5 to 7 days, though for some, it can take up to 3 weeks. 

The detoxification process begins 8 to 12 hours after the person has taken their last dose of cocaine. The first sign they may experience is fatigue. Because cocaine increases dopamine levels – which causes euphoria, pleasure, and a sense of well-being – it is common for individuals who are detoxing from cocaine to experience psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression.   

By the end of the first couple of days, addicts may also begin to experience nausea, sleep deprivation, and an increase in difficulty with concentration. By the end of their third day in detox, their symptoms may become more intense. Over the next few days, the individual will experience changes in blood pressure and breathing as well as convulsions, tremors, and even hallucinations.

Exposure to physical and psychological harm increases dramatically during this phase of cocaine detox, which is why undergoing this process under medical supervision is so important. Our drug rehab in Sebring, FL, offers medically monitored detox that provides round-the-clock care and medical supervision to ensure the patient’s safety and success.

Our Cocaine Detox Center in Sebring 

Though stimulant withdrawal is not as severe as withdrawal from sedatives like opioids and alcohol, it’s still highly unpleasant and should be done under medical supervision. Considering the discomfort and possible dangers of cocaine detox, receiving professional support to complete the process also minimizes the risk of relapse.   

Our medically supervised detox protocol is designed to help the body clear itself of the stimulant while our medical team monitors withdrawal symptoms and takes any necessary action to keep the patient safe and comfortable. While there are currently no medications specified for cocaine withdrawal or treatment, certain medications may be used during medical detox to help patients manage any difficult symptoms, such as insomnia. 

It's common for patients to also experience intense cravings for cocaine during withdrawal, which can increase their risk of relapse. Our Sebring cocaine addiction treatment program utilizes psychotherapy services like cognitive-behavioral therapy – to help address these issues. 

For most patients, detox is the first step of the recovery process, as it offers patients a clean slate on which they can begin residential addiction treatment. Nonetheless, our experts always conduct a clinical assessment to determine the best course of action for each client. 

For more information about our cocaine withdrawal treatment or types of Sebring drug treatment, contact Banyan Treatment Centers today.