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Is Cocaine Detox Treatment Really Necessary?

If you are addicted to cocaine and ready to quit, you may not feel like a professional cocaine detox is necessary. You may be right about that—or you may be wrong. While it’s true that detoxing from cocaine is usually not as physically difficult as detoxing from opioids or alcohol, cocaine withdrawal can create a host of psychological symptoms that could make you a danger to yourself or others. Before making the choice between an at-home cocaine detox, or a medical detox at an addiction treatment center, you need to understand the facts about cocaine withdrawal, cocaine detox treatment options, and how to find the right path for your cocaine recovery.

What to Expect During Cocaine Withdrawal

The symptoms you may experience during cocaine detox include:

  • Depression and an inability to feel pleasure
  • Restlessness
  • Exhaustion, fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Brain fog
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Increased appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Unpleasant, vivid dreams and nightmares
  • Aggression and hostility
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Uncontrolled violence
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions

Due to cocaine’s short half-life, cocaine withdrawal symptoms can start as quickly as an hour and a half after your last dose. Most cocaine withdrawal symptoms improve and resolve within seven to ten days, but the timeline depends on a number of factors, such as how long you’ve been using and how much you’ve been using.

The purity of the cocaine you’ve been using also has a big impact on your withdrawal timeline. Cocaine is often cut with fillers that weaken its effect. Purer, more potent cocaine will result in a more serious addiction and a longer duration of cocaine withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes cocaine is cut with cheaper opiate drugs such as fentanyl, making the drug you take far more addictive and far more dangerous. There is no way to tell whether the cocaine you use is cut with other drugs unless you have an unexpected reaction, and your dealer is not going to tell you what is really in the product you’re buying. The truth is, you may already be suffering the effects of multiple substances. Taking cocaine in combination with other drugs (with or without your knowledge) greatly increases your risk of overdose, and will result in much more intense and dangerous withdrawal experience since you will be detoxing from multiple drugs at the same time.

For some people, certain symptoms of cocaine withdrawal will persist for weeks or months after quitting. Depression and an inability to feel pleasure is one of the longest-lasting symptoms for many, and drug cravings can come and go for years after treatment, especially when you encounter triggering situations that remind you consciously or subconsciously of using cocaine. Since cocaine withdrawal symptoms are largely psychological, your cocaine detox will also be complicated and intensified by any co-occurring mental health disorders you may have, such as anxiety, eating disorders, depression, or bipolar disorder.

Violence and Cocaine Withdrawal

cocaine detox

Cocaine withdrawal can cause uncontrollable violence.

The biggest danger that comes with cocaine detox is the potential harm that could come to you or someone you love due to withdrawal symptoms. Anger, aggression, paranoia, and uncontrollable violence can be cocaine withdrawal symptoms, and so can suicidal thoughts and actions. Cocaine causes your brain to adapt to regular, unnatural floods of dopamine—a neurotransmitter associated with motivation, pleasure, reward, and movement. It will take time for the brain to repair the neurotransmitter system after cocaine detox, and in the meantime, the brain will be depleted of dopamine. This causes a persistent low mood, apathy, and in some people, hostility, fear, and aggression. You may not be able to control your actions during an at home cocaine detox, and could wind up doing something that you will regret—or that you won’t be able to live to regret.

When Is Cocaine Detox Treatment Necessary?

If you’ve tried to quit on your own with no success

If you’ve ever tried and failed to quit cocaine on your own, a professional cocaine detox is probably necessary. Your past experience shows you that your addiction is too intense, and/or your cocaine withdrawal symptoms are too severe, for you to handle detoxing at home on your own. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can cause a psychological dependence from the first use for many people. You can’t expect yourself to easily break free from a substance like that.

If you’ve experienced cocaine-induced psychosis

Cocaine-induced psychosis is a disorder that creates paranoia, hallucinations, agitation, delusions, and can even lead to homicidal thinking and uncontrolled violence. If you have ever experienced a break from reality while using cocaine or while trying to quit, you should not attempt a DIY cocaine detox, as your withdrawal symptoms are very likely to be dangerous for yourself and for others. Between 68 and 84% of cocaine users experience paranoia, and as many as 55% of patients with cocaine-induced psychosis become violent. A professional cocaine detox will keep you safe and comfortable, and allow your cocaine recovery to begin from a much stronger, more positive standpoint.

If you’re having suicidal or self-harming thoughts

Cocaine has been found in as many as 22% of suicide cases. If you have ever had suicidal or self-harming thoughts while on or off cocaine, you should not risk your safety by undergoing a cocaine detox on your own, as suicidal thoughts can actually be caused by withdrawal.

If your environment is keeping you from cocaine recovery

The only way that an at home cocaine detox has a chance of working is if you have a safe, stable, and supportive home environment. If your home is in any way contributing to your addiction or getting in the way of your cocaine recovery, you need to remove yourself from the situation and get a professional cocaine detox at an inpatient treatment center. After detox, but while you are still getting inpatient treatment, you will be able to work on problems in family therapy, and possibly change your living situation with the help of housing assistance programs, or by moving into a sober living facility.

Contact now to find cocaine detox centers near you!

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If you have a co-occurring mental health disorder

If you have pre-existing depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, panic disorder, or any other mental health issue, you should seek a professional cocaine detox. Cocaine use can induce mental health issues, and so can cocaine withdrawal. If you have, or suspect you have any underlying mental health issues that may have contributed to your cocaine addiction in the first place, then these issues need to be carefully monitored and attended to as you go through detoxification and beyond.

If you combine cocaine with alcohol

Although detoxing from cocaine is not usually physically dangerous, detoxing from cocaine and alcohol combined can be extremely dangerous. Using cocaine together with alcohol compounds risk of cardiovascular problems that the drug can cause on its own, making it more likely that you will develop an arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, high blood pressure, or have a heart attack or stroke. The combination of cocaine and alcohol creates a chemical in the liver called cocaethylene, which can build up over time, causing liver damage, seizures, an impaired immune system, and even sudden death. Your risk of dying from cocaethylene is 18 to 25 times greater than with cocaine alone. In 2009, over 150,000 emergency room visits were due to the combination of cocaine and alcohol. Don’t attempt to detox from cocaine without medical help if you use alcohol with cocaine; the risk is too great.

What are My Cocaine Detox Options?

Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment for Cocaine Detox: Anyone seeking to overcome addiction and begin their cocaine recovery will benefit from a professional, medical, cocaine detox—but this detox can be provided on an outpatient or an inpatient basis. Although inpatient treatment is the safest and most secure option with the highest success rates, many people with a supportive home environment are able to do well with outpatient cocaine detox.

Pharmaceutical Treatments for Cocaine Detox: Although there is no FDA approved medication for cocaine withdrawal, there are medications that can treat individual symptoms during cocaine detox. Disulfiram is an anti-craving medication that can help during withdrawal, and antidepressants are an important part of many people’s cocaine recovery. Any patient experiencing cocaine psychosis can be treated with antipsychotics, and if you suffer from panic attacks during withdrawal, you may be given an antianxiety medication to resolve your symptoms. Medical professionals can evaluate your condition on an ongoing basis, treating serious symptoms as they appear.

Natural Cocaine Detox: You can also choose to detox naturally, without the help of pharmaceuticals, but it is still a good idea to do this while inpatient in a facility with 24/7 medical monitoring so that you can receive immediate medical treatment should it become necessary. Many addiction treatment programs include a regimen of vitamins and supplements to help patients get through detox naturally, and simply being in a structured environment that promotes healing, where you are provided with regular, nutritious meals, and are encouraged to get the rest you need can make a big difference to your cocaine recovery.

Safeguard Your Health with Professional Addiction Treatment

No matter which form of detox you choose, professional help is key, not just for the treatment of dangerous cocaine withdrawal symptoms, but to give you additional protection against relapse. If you relapse due to overwhelming cocaine cravings during or after detox, your chance of experiencing an overdose and suffering a stroke or heart attack is greatly increased. Professional treatment, especially inpatient treatment, will safeguard you against relapse at this extremely vulnerable point in your cocaine recovery.

Cocaine detox is only the first step of addiction treatment. You’ll also need counseling to discover and address the reasons you turned to cocaine in the first place so that you don’t remain vulnerable to it in the future. You also need behavioral counseling to learn how to deal with cravings, to identify and avoid trigger situations, and to develop healthy coping skills so that you handle life’s challenges in a way that supports your continued cocaine recovery. Family therapy will help you work through issues with loved ones and heal wounds so that you can rebuild stronger relationships. Group therapy will help you learn from others in cocaine recovery, while also connecting you to a welcoming community so that you never feel alone in your struggles.

After you’re finished with cocaine detox, and before you’ve been discharged from a treatment program, you need to work with your treatment providers on an aftercare plan to keep you headed in the right direction with your cocaine recovery. You need to continue to take good care of your mental, physical, and emotional health to support a drug-free life, and you need to periodically check in with mental health professionals to work through any difficulties you may face before they can develop into crisis situations. Regular peer support group meetings, such as Cocaine Anonymous, will provide incredibly valuable support during your cocaine recovery. They provide a way to vent and receive insight and advice, and the also help you stay connected to the recovery community. It’s important to have regular social interaction with people who understand the unique experience of recovering from cocaine addiction.

How Can I Find the Right Detox for My Cocaine Recovery?

Call the helpline to get started finding the best detox and addiction treatment for your cocaine recovery. Our trained treatment advisors can offer you free insurance verification and tell you about alternative payment options. They can also connect you to the best treatment options in your area. If you would rather start investigating your options alone, you can consult our detox center directory.

Cocaine detox and addiction treatment could save your life, and will most definitely help you make your life better. Ready to begin your recovery journey? Call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) to learn about available treatment programs for drug and alcohol addiction.

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