Understanding the Cocaine Withdrawal Process

bigstock-Beautiful-Woman-Doing-Breath-E-56099051Breaking cocaine addiction can be a big challenge. There is no switch to flick to make it happen; it is a process. And it is a most worthwhile one.

When someone who abuses or binges on cocaine stops using it, that person will go through cocaine withdrawal. Be prepared and be sure there is plenty of support nearby.

Cocaine Withdrawal Happens to More Than Addicts

That’s right, you don’t need to be an addict to suffer cocaine withdrawal. It can happen after  bingeing or heavy use.

The Crash and Short-Term Withdrawal

The cocaine crash is just Stage 1 of withdrawal and it can last for a few hours up to several days.

Cocaine withdrawal – be it from powdered cocaine or from crack – produces feelings of intense unease, emotional distress and anxiety. This is called dysphoria, the opposite of euphoria. It can accompany or intensify depression. The person may feel unmotivated or worthless while exhibiting irritability and sudden mood swings.

The person will be extremely fatigued and yet will likely have sleep problems, either unable to sleep well or else sleeping too much. Many addicts also experience intensely disturbing dreams and sweat profusely.

Appetite increases dramatically. It is vital during this stage of withdrawal to eat good nutrition and to drink plenty of plain water.

There is also likely to be strong cravings to use cocaine again.

If after a week the symptoms have eased and the person regains energy and alertness, it is a danger period. The person may think he/she is cured. Not so.

The Next Phase

bigstock-Unhappy-Depressed-Woman-5814442Unfortunately, the irritability, lack of motivation, depression, inability to find pleasure and mood swings may not go away for up to 10 weeks.

During the next phase of cocaine withdrawal, cravings to use again can be powerful. Needless to say that one mustn’t give in to them as that would destroy the recovery process. It will be necessary to keep a support team on hand to keep an addict away from places and social circles where cocaine may be on hand.

The ability to concentrate can be compromised for some weeks.

Withdrawal Symptoms Can Last Longer and Appear Random

Some heavy cocaine users and addicts have experienced withdrawal symptoms for months after giving it up. The symptoms may not occur all the time, but rather reappear at random moments.

The dysphoria can occur at unexpected times and the cravings for cocaine may not ease off for months.

Using cocaine at all during this time, even a small amount, has been known to cause intense withdrawal symptoms to start all over again.

Crack Cocaine Withdrawal

Withdrawal from crack cocaine includes all of the symptoms listed here, plus some unique extras.  In the first one to three days, a user can become paranoid and experience hallucinations. A feeling of itchy and irritable skin is common. Many feel like their skin is crawling with insects and harm themselves trying to scratch them off or dig them out.

Cravings for crack remain powerful for several weeks.

Cocaine withdrawal is no fun, but it can be managed if you have the support of loved ones and some professional rehab advice. The process is well and truly worth it.

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