Quitting cocaine can be quite difficult because of the effects you experience while using it. However, when you reach the point you want to get help for your cocaine use disorder, it is understandable that you want to know what to expect in cocaine detox.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a stimulant drug made into a white powder using the dried leaves of coca plants. Another type of cocaine is called crack cocaine. This is made by mixing the white powder with baking soda and heating it, transforming it into small pellets called rocks.
Why Is Cocaine So Addictive?
Cocaine is a stimulant that affects people differently. The effects they experience can vary depending on various factors. However, the one thing that makes cocaine so addictive is the increase in the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Dopamine is responsible for feelings of pleasure. At elevated levels, it can cause euphoria. Other effects that someone can experience while using cocaine include the following:
- Lowered Inhibitions
- Elevated Confidence
The pleasurable and positive effects one experiences cause someone to want to use cocaine again. In addition, while cocaine is fast-acting, it only lasts for a few hours. As a result, it is easy to go on a cocaine bender, where someone continues using cocaine every few hours to maintain the desired effects.
Another side effect of continued use is the body builds a tolerance to cocaine. As tolerance builds, the effects experienced are diminished. Unfortunately, this causes the person to start using larger amounts of cocaine to achieve the desired effects.
This causes an ongoing cycle of increased tolerance and increased cocaine use, which leads to dependence and addiction.
How Are Cocaine and Dopamine Related?
The more a person uses cocaine, the more the body becomes dependent on the drug to release dopamine. Continued use causes a dopamine deficiency, so the body cannot naturally release dopamine on its own. Therefore, the cocaine user has to use the drug to force the body to produce and release dopamine.
What Is Cocaine Withdrawal?
Cocaine withdrawal occurs when the effects of cocaine wear off, and the body is attempting to recover from the drug use. Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms that someone can experience include the following:
- Extreme Tiredness
- Increased Appetite
- Vivid Nightmares/Night Terrors
- Difficulties Focusing
For some people, these symptoms are unpleasant, so they return to using cocaine to stop withdrawal.
What to Expect in Cocaine Detox
Cocaine detox is the process of ensuring the drug has been purged from the body. Quitting cocaine “cold turkey” is never recommended. Some people can experience extreme depression and thoughts of self-harm.
It is better to undergo medically supervised detox and a medical detox center. This way, the person is supervised by doctors, nurses, addiction specialists, and other healthcare professionals to monitor withdrawal symptoms and provide support.
In certain cases, various prescription medications can be used to help alleviate the more intense withdrawal symptoms. For example, if someone is experiencing extreme anxiety, anti-anxiety medication may be administered.
Cocaine Detox Timeline
The first stage of cocaine detox begins within the first few hours after last use. During this time, the individual can start to feel anxious and often notices an increase in appetite. A few hours later, they will become very sleepy and experience “the crash.”
While someone is experiencing the crash, they can sleep a long time initially. Afterward, they may experience insomnia as their body tries to heal itself and adjust to functioning without cocaine.
- Days Two through Seven: During this time, withdrawal symptoms will start to increase in intensity, and cravings for cocaine will appear. Most people feel completely exhausted and find they cannot sleep.
- Days Eight through 14: The withdrawal symptoms usually peak around the seventh or eighth day. Then they will gradually subside. However, some people may find they cannot focus or concentrate for long periods. They may also feel irritable and experience mood swings. Cravings can still be present.
- Weeks Three and Four: Some people may start to feel depressed, especially when they have used cocaine for a long time. Yet, all other physical withdrawal symptoms should be gone by this time. However, it is common to still crave cocaine.
- Week Five and Beyond: Some people can experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), where they can still experience depression, anxiety, mood swings, irritability, and cravings. PAWS symptoms will eventually subside as long as the person remains cocaine-free.
Cocaine Detox Is the First Step in Recovery
Once someone completes cocaine detox at a medical detox center, they are not “cured.” Detox only addresses the physical withdrawal symptoms. At this stage, people are still very vulnerable, and there is a high probability of relapse unless they continue their recovery with an addiction treatment plan.
Cocaine Detox at our Medical Detox Center in Nashville, TN
Undergoing cocaine detox at Detox Nashville in Tennessee provides a safe, healing, supportive, and caring environment to help you take the first steps in recovery. Our luxury medical detox center offers customizable treatment plans to ensure you are successful. To start your cocaine detox or for further information, contact us today.