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Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine withdrawal takes place when a heavy cocaine user cuts down or quits taking the drug altogether. After regular use of the drug, the user will inevitably become addicted to it. When someone uses cocaine, it produces an extreme sense of euphoria in its user. This is because cocaine causes the brain to release higher than normal amounts of biochemicals already present in the body. These biochemicals produce the feelings or joy and euphoria that cocaine users experience. The cocaine withdrawal symptoms are caused by a decrease in these biochemicals. This is why cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs that exist, and it is extremely easy for an individual to get hooked even after the first dose. This can cause devastating effects in other parts of the body which can be extremely dangerous and even life threatening.

When an individual stops using cocaine or when a cocaine binge ends, the individual will almost immediately experience a crash. This crash is unfortunately followed by a strong craving for more cocaine, and so goes the cycle of addiction. In the past, it was not understood how addictive cocaine can be. However, it is now known that cocaine is addictive and individuals will continue using the drug despite negative consequences. If the individual does not use more cocaine either because they want to stop or simply because circumstances will not allow for it, they will begin experiencing cocaine withdrawal.

As discussed earlier, cocaine withdrawal can produce powerful, intense cravings for the drug. However, the "high" that an individual experiences as a result of cocaine use becomes less and less pleasant, and can sometimes produce fear and extreme suspicion rather than the original euphoric feelings. Unfortunately for the individual, the cravings for the drug remain just as powerful and the individual will likely seek out more cocaine.

Cocaine withdrawal may not be as unstable as withdrawal from heroin or alcohol, and there are often no visible symptoms like vomiting or shaking that accompany withdrawal from these substances. However, the withdrawal from any mind-altering substance should be taken very seriously as there are enormous health risks involved. Likewise, while the physical withdrawal from cocaine may not be as serious as with other drugs, the intense craving, irritability and other symptoms of cocaine withdrawal rivals or exceeds that of many other drugs. For instance, there is extreme risk of suicide or overdose for someone who is experiencing cocaine withdrawal. Someone going through this may turn to other substances like alcohol, sedatives, hypnotics, or anti-anxiety medications to treat their symptoms. However, use of these drugs is not recommended because the individual can then be at risk of becoming addicted to these substances.

The craving and depression that an individual experiences as a result of cocaine withdrawal can last for months following cessation of long-term heavy use of the drug. As mentioned before, cocaine withdrawal may cause suicidal thoughts in some people, so it important that anyone attempting to stop using cocaine after long-term heavy use seek professional and medical help to get through the withdrawal process.

Common cocaine withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Lack of pleasure
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Sleepiness
  • Extreme suspicion
  • Depressed mood
  • Fatigue
  • General malaise
  • Increased appetite
  • Vivid and unpleasant dreams
  • Slowing of activity
  • Paranoia
  • Exhaustion
  • Itching
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • In some cases nausea & vomiting

Cocaine withdrawal can affect people differently, and there are reports of some cocaine users having symptoms similar to schizophrenia. Some cocaine users experience a crawling sensation on the skin known as "coke bugs".

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms may last for weeks or, in some cases, months. Even after most withdrawal symptoms dissipate, some cocaine users continue to feel the need to use the drug; this feeling can last for years. About 30-40% of cocaine addicts will turn to other substances such as medication and alcohol after giving up cocaine. But this is not the solution, and will only lead to more problems.

Cocaine addiction is a struggle for many, and relapse can occur. This is why it is vital that anyone seeking to stop cocaine use seeks the proper treatment, which should start at an inpatient drug rehab with drug detoxification as the first step. This is the safest and surest way to get through the cocaine withdrawal process. Don't risk relapse or other consequences and make things harder for yourself or the one's the care about you the most. Get the professional help you need to get through cocaine withdrawal.


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