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Cocaine Comedown: Symptoms, Effects, & Treatment

Cocaine Comedown: Symptoms, Effects, & Treatment

A cocaine comedown is part of the cycle of cocaine abuse. The highs and lows of cocaine addiction keep many trapped in a vicious circle. Learn more.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

Treatment Professional

April 4, 2023

Stopping cocaine use is never easy. Especially because of the cocaine comedown, the crash experienced by anyone who's had to stop using cocaine, intentionally or otherwise.

Cocaine is an intense and addictive analgesic drug derived from the coca plant from South America. It is known that in the 19th century, cocaine was utilized to address several diseases but was later on found to be highly addictive and linked with severe, dangerous effects. It is certified as a Schedule II controlled substance, given its power to be abused and cause fatalities apart from being employed medically in some cases.

In addition, it can potentially cause chronic behavioral and physiological reliance. Presently it is utilized as general anesthesia in restricted clinical procedures, mainly featuring throat, ear, and nose.

Cocaine is often obtained illicitly as a coarse white powder, occasionally mixed with other narcotics such as morphine or methamphetamine. The substance is typically sniffed but can also be inhaled or shot with an injection. Cocaine users frequently use the substance frenetically, consuming progressively higher dosages for weeks or even months. This behavior can also have significant physical and mental consequences, especially cocaine overdose or fatalities.

Cocaine users are in danger of suffering bad side effects. Several individuals evaluate comedowns as intoxicant hangovers; however, certain sensations are more powerful and distinct from alcohol hangovers. In addition, individuals who have severe withdrawal effects from cocaine misuse are more inclined to overuse the substance as they are going to take much greater quantities to compensate for cocaine withdrawal symptoms.

By the Numbers:

According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 4.8 million Americans reported using cocaine at least once during the previous 12 months. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported nearly 25,000 people died from drug overdoses involving cocaine in 2021.

What Are the Side Effects of Cocaine?

Cocaine misuse frequently happens because individuals prefer stimulating effects such as:

  • Strong personality with an elevated attitude

  • Physically energetic.

  • Mental attentiveness or the capacity to concentrate better

Some less favorable side effects of cocaine abuse:

  • Excessive irritation or changes in mood

  • Psychosis

  • Aggression against others

  • Trembling or a diminished sense of balance

  • Vulnerability to sensory stimuli such as light, contact, or audio

  • Self-harming habits

  • Hallucinations

What Happens When People Use Cocaine While Pregnant?

First and above all, don't leap to conclusions because this is a considerably more common occurrence than you might think. According to the NCBI, drug use during pregnancy is frequently miscalculated due to stigma and legal repercussions. Cocaine crosses the placenta and so enters the fetus during pregnancy. Cocaine use in the first few weeks of pregnancy may increase the likelihood of stillbirth and uterine abruption. Cocaine use during pregnancy may result in preterm birth.

NCBI research has also connected prenatal cocaine use to:

  • Decreased weight of the infant

  • Moderately small body and head size

  • Psychological and behavioral problems in the future

Despite this, most current research is based on long-term cocaine use. These risks could be reduced if you used them only once or twice before discovering what you were looking for. Consider that the majority of research on gestational cocaine consumption in the United States has focused on people from low-income homes, which poses a variety of environmental factors that can influence a fetus.

This is not to say that prenatal cocaine consumption is not harmful; nonetheless, it is difficult to identify issues unique to cocaine consumption. Cocaine enters breast milk quickly and affects breastfeeding. Several studies recommend waiting at least twenty-four hours after consuming Coke on a specific occasion before lactating again.

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A Cocaine Hangover: What Are the Symptoms of a Cocaine Comedown?

Cocaine users are in danger of having a cocaine comedown. It's a depressive episode as the cravings subside away. A cocaine comedown might feature significant impacts as opposed to those produced by the drug during the blissful period. Many individuals evaluate comedowns as drunkenness; however, certain sensations are more powerful and distinct from alcohol hangovers. Individuals with severe withdrawal symptoms from coke abuse are more likely to binge on the substance as they might take much more to compensate for the withdrawal symptoms.

Cocaine usage is linked to a rise in dopamine levels, which results in the highly joyful feelings that are frequently observed. However, once the medicine wears off, there is a decreased amount of serotonin functioning in the mind, which can cause numerous complex effects: melancholy, physiological slowdown or lethargy, hazy judgment, weariness but difficulty resting, discomfort, and more.

Understanding where physical withdrawal symptoms originate can be beneficial:

Runny or Stuffy Nose

Cocaine is a vasoconstrictor, constricting the blood vessels. During snorting, the valves of the nostrils, in particular, constrict. After the medicine wears off, the vessels expand broader than before, which might cause congestion or the appearance of influenza or cold-like sensations.

Muscle Spasms

This can additionally be attributed to neurotransmitter disturbances. Regular exercise may feel slightly unpleasant, take longer because of sluggish motions, or take considerably more incentive to get out of bed and move around. Physical trembling is also possible.

Cloudy or Slow Thinking

Interruptions in regular neuronal activity can render understanding, memorizing, and acquiring fresh information difficult.

Depression or Anxiety

When cocaine is administered, dopamine and adrenaline production increases throughout the brain, and when the substance is removed, these essential mood-related chemicals are diminished.

Higher Insatiable Hunger

Comfort meals and high-fat products are frequently craved. Stimulants suppress hunger; thus, those addicted to cocaine may go for hours without eating until the effects wear off or the spree ends. Then, when hunger resumes, it may come back with a vengeance.

What Are the Signs of a Cocaine Binge?

Cocaine enters the brain fast; thus, the consequences start immediately following the initial dose. Since the substance is quickly digested, the symptoms fade off after roughly an hour, which might also produce acute withdrawal symptoms. This, in turn, might lead to a binge when the individual consumes excessively to prevent a cocaine comedown.

Indications of a cocaine binge may include:

  • Panic attacks

  • Sleep deprivation

  • Irritation

  • Hallucinations

  • Convulsions

  • Nervousness

  • Lightheadedness

  • Psychosis

  • Depressive episodes

  • Detached from reality

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What Is Cocaine Withdrawal, and How to Manage It

If you are concerned that you have cocaine in the system for whatever explanation, you should immediately stop taking Coke. But, depending on your usage habits, you may experience withdrawal symptoms.  

The following are possible cocaine adverse effects:

  • Having trouble sleeping

  • Fluctuations in mood

  • Symptoms of anxiety

  • Difficulties concentrating

  • Changes in appetite

  • Vertigo

  • Vivid imaginations

  • Insufficient energy

  • Depression

These can appear anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks after your latest consumption. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms usually go away after a few days, although some people experience problems for a longer period. Although coke detoxification can be unpleasant, it is usually achievable at home. 

Mentioned below are three stages in which cocaine withdrawal occurs:

Cocaine Withdrawal: Stage One

Severe withdrawal reactions. Certain signs will get more severe, while others will become less drastic.

Cocaine Withdrawal: Stage Two

Stage two is characterized by decreased desires, heightened difficulty paying attention, mood swings or anger, and fatigue.

Cocaine Withdrawal: Stage Three

Recurrent yearning related to dependency, regardless of whether the drug has been removed from the body for an extended period.

Under medical guidance, many individuals can detoxify from cocaine in two weeks. Yet, several users regress after continuously attempting to stop using cocaine outside hospital treatment. Individuals may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), lasting for several weeks or months. During this same time, the degree of psychiatric issues, bodily pain and discomfort, and drug desires may intensify or diminish.

Misusing cocaine merely once can escalate to a binge, which can result in dependency or fatality; therefore, it is essential to understand how to care for yourself when the despair and flu-like withdrawal symptoms strike. 

The following suggestions may help you feel better as you go through the procedure:

  • Eat regularly. Even if you do not feel hungry, you must replenish your system. So choose nutrient-dense foods like whole grains, fruit, and veggies whenever possible.

  • Stay hydrated. Keep in mind that freshwater is not your only choice here. Protein drinks, smoothies, stews, and other fluids are also permitted.

  • Please be patient. Minimize your schedule as much as possible to ensure you have enough time for relaxation.

  • Take several deep breaths. If you're feeling active, briefly walk outside, even just around the block, or find a warm location to sit outside.

  • Make yourself useful. If you're bored but don't want to accomplish anything, keep some mindless hobbies on hand. For example, play some repetitions of your favorite TV show, perform a simple crossword puzzle, or call a friend.

Although cocaine detoxification does not require hospitalization, it should not prevent you from seeking help. When you feel comfortable doing so, call your general practitioner and ask if they can offer anything to help you control your troubles.

Cocaine Addiction and Physical Damage in the Long Run

According to the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA), impulsive cocaine users may undergo major alterations in neurochemistry. When individuals ultimately withdraw from the substance, they might develop psychotic symptoms or anxiety. The chances of coronary heart disease are significant. Some forms of cocaine addiction can result in thrombosis, damaged muscle cells, and persistently elevated blood pressure.

Cocaine also decreases blood circulation by compressing blood arteries across the system, which can cause ischemic harm to numerous physiological functions, including the digestive tract. Malnourishment from a lack of nutritious food poses an additional concern. Stopping cocaine is difficult, so seeking medical intervention for a secure, controlled detox may be beneficial before enrolling in a substance abuse treatment facility.

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How to Identify a Cocaine Overdose

It's important to recognize the signs of a cocaine overdose. Although not as fatal as overdoses from other drugs, being able to recognize symptoms of a cocaine overdose can save lives. In drug overdoses, minutes matter. 

Typical cocaine overdose symptoms include:

  • Irregular heartbeat or pulse

  • High blood pressure

  • Nightmares

  • Chest pains

  • Increased anxiety

  • Convulsions

While cocaine-related deaths are infrequent, contaminants such as prescription medications such as fentanyl are regularly found in coke and other drugs. In addition, using cocaine combined with synthetic substances significantly increases your chances of having a potentially fatal mishap. Therefore, make sure you and those close to you are aware that if someone exhibits one of the following cocaine poisoning symptoms, you should call 911 or your local emergency number right away:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Loud gasping

  • Unconsciousness

  • Bluish skin

  • Pinpoint pupils

  • Pale and perspiring skin

If you intend to use cocaine, you should also have naloxone (Narcan) on hand, a medicine that can treat opiate addiction if someone takes tainted cocaine. Ensure that the people around you understand when and how to use it. Your local syringe disposal facility can give you naloxone and fentanyl testing kits. If you are unsure if a person is addicted to cocaine or opiates, you can still administer naloxone correctly. While it will not undo the effects of a cocaine-only mishap, it will not harm the individual.

What Is Cocaine Addiction Treatment?

Cocaine addiction is a complex disease with physical, psychological, interpersonal, environmental, and genetic components. A variety of cocaine addiction treatments address each of these characteristics.

Drug Rehab

Inpatient drug rehab addresses all facets of dependency in rehabilitation institutions. These courses could span anything from a few months to a year. In addition, group meetings, rehabilitative programs, or counseling are regularly used. Outpatient drug rehab allows you to undergo treatment while also attending to personal and professional obligations.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapies have a promising future in treating crack addiction. Ambulatory care and rehabilitation as part of an inpatient rehab facility are available. Drugs are regularly used in conjunction with therapeutic approaches. In behavioral regimens, incentives for achieving goals related to ceasing drug use are employed, as is psychotherapy, which stresses cognitive procedures that help you sustain your sobriety.

Prescription Medicines

While no drugs are specifically designed to treat crack addiction, many pills with other goals, such as mood stabilizers, can be effective.

Alternative treatments include meditation, hypnosis, acupressure, and botanicals, among others, for breaking the cocaine habit. However, further research is needed to determine these treatments' efficacy in treating cocaine addiction.

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The Edge Treatment Center Effectively Treats Cocaine Addiction

The Edge Treatment Center is here to help if you or a loved one suffers from cocaine addiction, want to get better and start a new chapter in life. Our evidence-based treatment program for cocaine abuse will give you every resource you need to build a happy, healthy new life free from the dangers of cocaine addiction.

To learn more about how The Edge Treatment Center effectively treats cocaine abuse, reach out to us today.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.