Depression and Anxiety

Detoxing From Cocaine: The First Critical Step in Recovery from Cocaine Addiction

Trapped by cocaine addiction? Detoxing from cocaine is the first important step in recovery. Learn more about this crucial step in recovery.

Detoxing From Cocaine: The First Critical Step in Recovery from Cocaine Addiction

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

July 7, 2022

The Forge Recovery Center

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance derived from the South American coca plant. As an upper, cocaine produces enjoyable sensations and increases energy. These enjoyable feelings are what drive cocaine abuse … and addiction.

In addition to its addictive potential, cocaine has many long- and short-term effects on the body that are extremely detrimental to the health and happiness of those using the drug.

Effects of Cocaine Use

Although cocaine is occasionally prescribed for medical reasons, it is a highly controlled substance.

Furthermore, it is not likely that people would develop a cocaine addiction from using cocaine for medical purposes. It is the illicit use of cocaine, which can be done in the form of snorting, injecting, swallowing, or smoking, that will typically result in addiction.

Substance use disorders (SUDs) resulting from cocaine use will vary depending on the method of consumption. All forms of usage have these short-term effects in common:

  • Euphoria

  • Paranoia

  • Decreased appetite

  • Anger

  • Sensitivity to touch, sound, and sight

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Increased heart rate

  • Dilated pupils

Prolonged use of cocaine not only increases the risk of an overdose, but also often causes long-term effects, including:

  • Spasms, convulsions, or seizures

  • Headaches

  • Depression and other mood disturbances

  • Increased risk of stroke

  • Psychosis

  • Addiction

Snorting cocaine may also have the long-term effects of costing the user their sense of smell and causing chronic nose bleeds and trouble swallowing. Injecting cocaine will increase the risks of contracting diseases such as AIDS or hepatitis. Ingesting cocaine can cause digestion problems and bowel decay. Smoking cocaine can affect an individual's lungs, liver, and heart.

Cocaine can also affect the user's behavior, personality, as well as their ife beyond their health. SUDs resulting from cocaine use will affect a person’s ability to take care of themselves. As the person tries to satiate their addiction, they will often make decisions that damage their relationships with friends and family, isolating themselves from their support system.

No one deserves to live with addiction. If an individual is addicted or potentially becoming addicted to cocaine, it is vital to seek the help of a medical professional immediately to begin detox and recovery. Avoiding rehab will only let the addiction grow stronger and make it more difficult to escape.

Detoxing from Cocaine: What to Expect

Choosing to detox is a courageous but necessary first step on the road to recovery. Cocaine detox is challenging because withdrawal symptoms can be painful and sometimes dangerous. These symptoms can include:

  • Agitation

  • Discomfort

  • Increased appetite

  • Slowed thinking

  • Fatigue

  • Nightmares

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Chills

  • Tremors or muscle spasms

  • Anhedonia

  • Depression

  • Suicidal ideation

Although cocaine withdrawal may not be as dangerous as withdrawal from opiates or alcohol, the side effects of cocaine withdrawal still need to be closely monitored to ensure severe complications do not occur.

This is especially true for individuals who have been injecting cocaine. Injection can increase the risk of contracting illnesses that compromise the immune system, which can exacerbate withdrawal symptoms.

Friends and family can help their loved ones go through detox by being supportive, patient, and encouraging through this very difficult process. More importantly, they can help by ensuring their loved one detoxes with professional supervision. Detox should never be attempted without the guidance of a qualified medical professional. For cocaine addiction, inpatient treatment facilities will offer the care and monitoring needed to ensure detox is completed safely.

Inpatient Treatment After Cocaine Detox

Inpatient treatment centers provide 24/7 care from medical staff to ensure that individuals can detox with minimal discomfort and no dangerous complications. At an inpatient treatment facility, the person detoxing will be given medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms and mitigate cravings.

Additionally, since the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal often affect mental health, group and individual therapies will also be offered to alleviate depression and any potential suicidal ideations. The person detoxing will learn new coping mechanisms to assist them when they leave treatment as well.

When choosing an inpatient treatment center, it is vital to ensure that the clinic and the staff are fully credentialed and licensed to treat substance abuse. Individuals should also see if their practices for treating SUDs are based on science.

Evidence-based programs can include medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), to name a few.

Rehab offers the first step to recovery, but the journey does not end there. After completing treatment at an inpatient treatment facility, the person recovering from a SUD will often need to rebuild their lives and make lifestyle changes to ensure they stay clean. Long-term care will be crucial to ensuring that the individual continues on a path to health, happiness, and peace.

Long-Term Care After Detoxing from Cocaine 

Long-term care can come in many forms, such as sober living homes, long-term rehab, or outpatient programs. Sober living homes and long-term rehab offer the benefits of environments that are completely free of drugs and alcohol as well as surrounded by medical professionals who can ease cravings and provide support through recovery.

Outpatient programs are an excellent option for people who leave detox with a support system that can cheer them on as they recover. In an outpatient program, the person in recovery will check in at the facility weekly and have the help of medical professionals to mitigate cravings and provide mental health support.

Start Your Recovery Today with The Forge Recovery Center

At The Forge Recovery Center, we believe that no one deserves to be chained by addiction. Choosing to get sober is a courageous decision. Everyone who goes through detox needs the support and supervision of medical professionals to ensure they complete detox safely and successfully.

Our expertly trained staff have years of experience helping people recover from substance abuse disorders caused by cocaine. Our science-based treatments include a combination of medications, therapies, and support to ensure that you or your loved one can continue the journey to recovery with the tools and resources needed to thrive.

If you have questions about cocaine addiction and the available treatment options, we are here to help. Contact The Forge Recovery Center today and learn more how we can help you through the entire recovery process, from detoxing from cocaine to recovery.

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