Cocaine Detox: Symptoms, Timeline, And Effects

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on October 11, 2021

Cocaine is an addictive stimulant that can cause symptoms of withdrawal in those who become addicted. Cocaine withdrawal and addiction can best be treated within a detox facility or addiction treatment center to help promote long-term recovery.

How To Safely Detox From Cocaine

Cocaine is an illicit stimulant that can cause withdrawal in people who become addicted to cocaine through chronic, heavy use.

Detoxification, or detox, from cocaine and other drugs of abuse can be uncomfortable. But for many, it’s the first step on the road to addiction recovery.

Here, you’ll find information on the effects of cocaine detox, the timeline for cocaine detox, and treatment for cocaine addiction after detox.

Learn more about alcohol and drug detox programs

Signs And Symptoms Of Cocaine Detox

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug. It has effects on the brain that, when the drug leaves the body during detox, can have residual effects—primarily on mood and general cognition.

What this can feel like at first is what’s known as a “crash,” in which the stimulating effects of cocaine have worn off, leaving the mind and body depleted.

Signs of a cocaine crash include:

  • sleepiness
  • fatigue
  • anhedonia (lack of pleasure)
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • strong urge to use more cocaine
  • paranoia

Within the next few hours and days after beginning detox, other symptoms of cocaine withdrawal may begin to develop.

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Symptoms of withdrawal during cocaine detox may include:

  • restlessness
  • tiredness
  • low mood
  • agitation
  • increased appetite
  • poor concentration
  • vivid or unpleasant dreams
  • general feeling of discomfort
  • intense cravings for cocaine

Cocaine Detox And Withdrawal Timeline

Early symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, or the initial “crash” of coming down off cocaine, can begin within as little as a few hours after your last use.

First few hours: This is when signs of a crash can develop. Low energy, low mood, drug cravings. The intensity of this crash can vary according to the dose taken and other factors.

Days 1-3: Withdrawal symptoms such as depression, cravings for cocaine, and restlessness may develop. Symptoms may reach their peak about three days in.

Days 4-5: Most cocaine withdrawal symptoms will begin to decline within four to five days after your last use of cocaine.

Days 5+: Some psychological symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, such as cravings and depression, can persist for some time after quitting cocaine. This may last weeks or months.

Factors That Can Affect Cocaine Detoxification

Cocaine detox doesn’t always look or feel the same for everyone. The timeline and severity of withdrawal from cocaine can vary according to a wide range of factors.

For instance:

  • amount of cocaine used
  • duration of substance use
  • use of other drugs (e.g. heroin, meth, alcohol)
  • co-occurring mental health issues
  • history of previous detox attempts
  • method of drug use (e.g. injecting, snorting)
  • overall physical health

The detox process tends to be more intense for people with a severe addiction, and those who use other drugs, including the illicit opioid heroin or other stimulants.

Risks Of Cocaine Detox

Unlike alcohol withdrawal, cocaine withdrawal isn’t associated with life-threatening dangers. However, this doesn’t mean that detoxing from cocaine doesn’t come with certain risks.

Primary risks of cocaine detox are:

  • Relapse: Cravings for cocaine, and other uncomfortable symptoms, can lead to relapse without clinical support during detox and follow-up cocaine addiction treatment.
  • Psychosis: Some people with a severe addiction can become very paranoid or psychotic during cocaine detox. This may put them or others in danger.
  • Suicide: Severe depression and suicidal thoughts both during and after cocaine detox can increase the risk of a suicide attempt in people with cocaine use disorder.

Accidental overdose, or the ingestion of too much of one or more drugs, is also a concern for anyone with a history of drug addiction who undergoes cocaine detox.

After detox, a person’s tolerance for a drug is reduced. This can make taking the same amount of cocaine as before potentially deadly.

Side Effects Of Cocaine Detox

Cocaine addiction can have lasting effects on the brain and body. After detox, some effects of chronic cocaine use may persist.

Changes In Mood

Anhedonia, or a general lack of pleasure, is common during cocaine detox. This effect may persist after detox due to the dramatic effects cocaine can have on certain chemicals in the brain.

Lingering depression and anxiety after fully detoxing can also occur. With time and treatment services like behavioral therapy, mood swings caused by heavy cocaine use may improve.

Cocaine Cravings During Detox

It’s common for people to get strong cravings to use cocaine both during detox and afterward in early addiction recovery.

Strong cravings for cocaine, and the risk of relapse associated with this, is a primary reason why seeking out an addiction rehab program for cocaine use disorder is strongly recommended.

A rehab program can provide coping tools and strategies for managing cravings, as well as offer a supportive environment to begin the process of healing from addiction.

Where Can You Detox From Cocaine?

Cocaine detox can be safely and effectively accomplished within a medical detox facility, treatment facilities that offer detox, or on an outpatient level with a strong support system.

Medical detox, or medically supervised detox, is the gold standard for detoxing from addictive drugs like cocaine. This can offer the greatest safety and prevent the risk of relapse during detox.

Medical detox programs can offer:

  • 24/7 medical supervision
  • a quiet and drug-free place to detox
  • physical separation from triggers to use
  • medicine for severe withdrawal symptoms (as needed)

Doctors commonly recommend a full rehab program, such as that offered by an inpatient or residential treatment center, to begin the process of recovery from cocaine addiction.

Cocaine Detox FAQs

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about cocaine detox.

❓ How Long Does Cocaine Detox Last?

✔️ The timeline for how long it takes to detox from cocaine can vary. Discomfort during detox typically peaks about two to four days after stopping cocaine.

After this, some effects of detox, such as depression and drug cravings, may persist for weeks or months after the last use of cocaine.

❓ What Does Cocaine Detox Feel Like?

✔️ Cocaine detox begins with a crash. You may feel very tired, drained, irritable, and depressed. After this, additional symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, may occur.

❓ Is Cocaine Detox Dangerous?

✔️ Cocaine detox is not usually dangerous by itself. Unlike alcohol withdrawal, cocaine isn’t associated with severe physical symptoms. But this doesn’t mean detox can’t become dangerous.

Risk factors for dangers during cocaine detox include:

  • polysubstance abuse
  • co-occurring mental health disorders
  • severe and chronic cocaine addiction

Accidental overdose on cocaine after detox, as well as relapse and a switch to other substances of abuse are the primary dangers associated with cocaine detox.

❓ Can You Detox From Cocaine At Home?

✔️ People without a severe addiction to cocaine may be able to detox from home, with the support of a trusted friend, family member, or other loved one. However, this doesn’t come without risks.

People who have a severe addiction to cocaine, or those who experience severe symptoms during detox, may benefit from seeking out an inpatient or residential rehab program.

Find A Cocaine Detox Program Today

Overcoming cocaine addiction is possible. By calling our free helpline, we can help you by finding a substance abuse treatment program for cocaine addiction that’s right for you.

A life in recovery is waiting. Call us now to learn more about available cocaine abuse treatment options for yourself or a loved one near you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D on October 11, 2021
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