Drug and Alcohol

Cocaine Withdrawal: What Are Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms Like?

Cocaine addiction is genuinely dangerous. Overdose, exposure to fentanyl, and more are all dangers. Fortunately, cocaine addiction is treatable.

Cocaine Withdrawal: What Are Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms Like?

Table of Contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

January 18, 2023

The Edge Treatment Center

Cocaine and crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms are a possibility after one suddenly stops its consumption. This is because prolonged cocaine usage makes the human body dependent on it in several ways. Furthermore, cocaine abuse makes the body vulnerable to different physiological and psychological conditions.

When treating cocaine addiction, it's common to experience cocaine withdrawal symptoms. Let's examine what cocaine withdrawal is like in greater detail.

What Are Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms?

The human body builds tolerance against cocaine upon regular intake. With time this leads to complete dependency on the drug. Gradually the functions of the body begin to depend on the drug, and an abuser does not want to stop its usage. However, when they go through the process of drug withdrawal and stop their intake, they begin to face severe physical and mental discomfort. These are known as cocaine withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are person specific and can vary from one individual to another.

The symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are as follows:


Cocaine is a very harmful drug that tends to alter the chemistry of the human brain. The drug also increases or decreases the flow of adrenaline in the body. Hence, when one stops the use of cocaine, one begins to lose the sense of happiness associated with its intake. Instead, the person becomes prone to anxiety and depression.

Poor Concentration

In the beginning, cocaine intake increases one’s tendency to be alert and focused. However, during the time of cocaine withdrawal, people face serious trouble in thinking, concentrating, and decision-making.

Appetite Problems

Cocaine may change the dietary requirements and thus may increase or decrease appetite. Therefore, as a cocaine withdrawal symptom, one may face issues with appetite and eat less or more than usual.

Disturbed Sleeping Schedule

Cocaine intake impacts the sleeping schedule of individuals. Hence, as a withdrawal symptom, people may get extreme sleepiness or sleeplessness. This disturbance in the sleeping schedule may cause other related health issues.


Withdrawing from the effects of cocaine can cause extreme dysphoria or intense depression. The reason for this unhappy mental state is the low secretion of happy hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. People miss a sense of happiness and get into a depressive condition.

Unpleasant Dreams

Unpleasant dreams and other sleep disorders are other signs of cocaine withdrawal. This is because continuous abuse of cocaine changes the functioning of our brain and withdrawing from this state puts unnatural pressure on the mind. So, people start to get disturbed visions while sleeping.


Drug cravings are the most common cocaine withdrawal symptom that every addict encounters. This refers to a strong urge to take cocaine. The situation may become uncontrollable for some, requiring professional help to control the urges, especially for those abusers who have been into the habit of cocaine intake for a long time.

Other Symptoms

Some other cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Dehydration

  • Slow body movement and degraded motor skills

  • Fatigue

  • Irritability

  • Tremors

  • Chills

How Long Can Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

The span of cocaine withdrawal symptoms varies among individuals and remains specific to the span and concentration of the drug’s usage. Furthermore, it depends on the pattern of cocaine abuse. It can last from a few hours and continue up to a few days, weeks, or even months. The different phases of withdrawal symptoms are as follows.

Crash or the Stage of Acute Cocaine Withdrawal

This is the starting phase of cocaine withdrawal when people get into a complete state of dysphoria. Along with this, they also begin to experience intense cocaine cravings, and as they do not get the drug, they start to display irritation.

Furthermore, dysphoria can turn into acute depression, suicidal tendencies, insomnia, and more. This acute phase of withdrawal often lasts from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Post-Acute Withdrawal

In this stage, people start to feel exhausted and sleepy most of the time during the day. Besides, they may also show feelings of agitation and extreme mood swings. Further, their appetites may increase in the post-acute withdrawal stage.

This phase usually lasts for a couple of weeks and depends on the cocaine-usage pattern of addicts.

Protracted Withdrawal

During this stage, people face prolonged cocaine withdrawal symptoms like frequent fatigue, depression, anxiety, loss of motor skills, etc., for a month after the acute withdrawal stage. Suicidal feelings, feelings of loss, and loneliness are also common at this stage.

Thus, this phase marks a complete state of psychotic disturbance in a patient and should be treated with multidimensional professional care and interventions in closely monitored environments.

Cocaine Withdrawal: A Timeline

The estimated timeline of cocaine withdrawal is as follows:

Time Span


1 to 3 hours

Irritability, anxiousness, increased appetite, exhaustion

Week 1

Cravings, insomnia, disturbed visions

Weeks 2-4

Cravings, depression, irritability

Weeks 5-10

Mild cravings, anxiety, and discomfort

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How Are Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms Treated?

The treatment process for cocaine withdrawal can have two motives. One is to make people go through the process of abstinence, and the other is to assist them in avoiding drug relapse. Some medicines can help attain these goals. These are discussed below.

For Abstinence Period

Cocaine abuse for a prolonged period makes people dependent on this drug. Thus, they start to get strong drug cravings in the initial stage of withdrawal. This makes it difficult for the caregivers to manage them and provide them with proper care.

In this state, the medicines that a physician may recommend are:

  • Propranolol: Propranolol has beta blockers that help manage mental disturbance, hypertension, anxiety etc. This works to control the fluctuations of adrenaline in the body. Thus, this medicine helps to prepare an addict's body in giving up cocaine.

For Relapse Period

The relapse period is the most challenging phase of treatment when medicines block the euphoric effects of cocaine. In this stage, the secretion of neurotransmitters such as dopamine gets blocked by the activation of GABAergic neurons. The medicines that effectively activate GABAergic neurons are as follows:

  • Tiagabine: Tiagabine is an effective medicine to reduce cocaine dependence by blocking type 1 presynaptic GABA reuptake transporter. This medicine is also beneficial for the treatment of seizures. In addition, this medicine has a high success rate along with fewer side effects.

  • Baclofen: Baclofen effectively reduces dopamine secretion and helps to manage adverse cocaine cravings. Besides, this medicine is also a moderate brain cell activator.

  • Topiramate: Topiramate is an excellent medicine for relapse prevention as it works on both GABA and glutamate neurotransmission. Studies prove that Topiramate is relatively more effective in reducing cocaine dependency and in helping addicts come out from adversity.

Psychological Treatment for Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Psychological symptoms are prevalent and highly potent for treating substance withdrawal. Thus, cocaine abusers should get interventions combining medications with psychological treatment. A few effective treatments are discussed below:

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis treatment refers to the treatment of substance abuse disorders alongside mental disorders. This is because cocaine withdrawal generates a feeling of loneliness in the minds of addicts. This is when they start to feel shattered and broken. At other times, people with mental illnesses, like depression and anxiety, take to cocaine abuse or cocaine abusers start to suffer from mental illnesses.

During all such situations, dual diagnosis treatment can help a lot. Besides, it also motivates patients to follow up and continue with the next phases of drug treatment.

Behavioral Therapy

Caregivers should take their drug-affected family members to a supportive and efficient cocaine abuse and cocaine addiction treatment center for comprehensive behavioral treatment. Some of the evidence-based behavioral therapies for cocaine addicts are:

  1. Contingency Management: In this treatment, therapists motivate the patients to give up on cocaine. Thus, they reward patients for attending treatment phases and being sober.

  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: CBT is the most common and effective psychological support a cocaine addict can get. This form of therapy treatment helps control thoughts, emotions, mental instability, and behaviors. Further, patients are also taught to manage their cravings for substance abuse.

  3. Motivational Interviewing: In this treatment, addicts get motivational support to indulge in problem-solving and exploring new ways to be sober. This helps to motivate them towards independent living.

What Are the Triggers of Cocaine Abuse?

People may get triggered to engage in cocaine abuse depending on the underlying factors.


A stressful life course demotivates people, and they try to seek relief from it via the illicit use of drugs like cocaine. As they can get a feeling of happiness following drug intake, they start to become dependent on it, as a means to relieve stress.


The environment one is in can also trigger cocaine abuse. If a person stays in such an environment and among such people, where drug abuse is a common practice, they are likely to develop the urge to engage in cocaine abuse.


A family history of cocaine or any other substance addiction can also trigger cocaine abuse. Thus, children should be closely monitored and taken care of, if their parents are addicted to any substance.

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms and their respective treatment have their own challenges and often require utmost dedication on the part of an abuser and support from one’s family to attain successful recovery. With the proper amount of medicine and psychological treatment, one can overcome the adversities of these withdrawal symptoms.

Hence, caregivers should display patience and support and consult the right treatment center for a comprehensive and fast recovery process.

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Do you have more questions about cocaine withdrawal? Reach out.

Don't Risk Overdose, Job Loss, Isolation, and More: The Edge Treatment Center Can Help YOU Beat Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine abuse ruins lives, and has taken many people from us. Cocaine overdose is an ever-present danger, and even the lethal opioid fentanyl has been sold as cocaine. Fortunately, cocaine abuse is treatable with the right help.

The Edge Treatment Center provides comprehensive treatment for cocaine addiction and more. Additionally, we offer behavior therapy, education, and consistent management throughout the program. So, if you or a loved one needs help, contact The Edge Treatment Center today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the factors that determine the length of treatment of cocaine withdrawal symptoms?

The factors that determine the period of treatment for cocaine withdrawal symptoms are the quantity of cocaine that has been taken, the methods of cocaine intake, and the time period of cocaine abuse.

Is cocaine withdrawal dangerous?

Stimulant withdrawal, such as cocaine, often results in depression, suicidal tendencies and relapse. Hence, patients should be under constant supervision and monitoring.

What are the co-occurring disorders of cocaine abuse?

Some co-occurring disorders of cocaine abuse are schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder (ADHD), Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD), etc.

What is cocaine detox?

Cocaine detox or withdrawal refers to the process of treatment when professionals support a cocaine abuser to abstain from cocaine abuse. It includes medications, behavioral therapy, etc., for recovery from cocaine abuse.

What are some common signs of cocaine abuse?

Some common signs of cocaine abuse are euphoria, restlessness, hypertension, hallucinations, anxiety, irritability, excessive mood swings, and more.

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