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Cocaine Withdrawal & Treatment

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Cocaine and alcohol or any other drugs, even if taken in small amounts, is an incredibly dangerous polysubstance abuse. Many famous personalities have died or encountered fatal consequences when they took “speedballs” or “power balls,” a mixture of heroin (depressant) and cocaine (a stimulant).

However, when addicts finally acknowledge their cocaine addiction issues and decide to take control of their lives, they should not quit using the drug suddenly. Due to the short half-life of cocaine and since your brain gets habituated to receiving generous amounts of dopamine production, abruptly halting its use will cause a quicker appearance of debilitating withdrawal symptoms like repeat cocaine abuse.

Factors Affecting The Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline

Length of Drug Use: Physical symptoms of cocaine withdrawal may be less severe for people with short-term cocaine abuse cocaine and the phase itself will be relatively short. In contrast, people who have a long-term cocaine addiction, for years, may suffer lingering withdrawal symptoms after several weeks partly due to the drug buildup in their bodies.

Average Dose Taken: People that take fewer amounts may experience basic symptoms like cocaine withdrawal headache, and those that take larger doses may experience more intense symptoms.

Underlying Health Issues: Co-occurring medical conditions and mental health disorders, such as cardiovascular disease or depression, eating disorders, anxiety, etc. can make for intense signs of cocaine withdrawal symptoms. They will be more complicated than being addicted to cocaine alone.

Polydrug Dependence: Having physiological dependence on 2 or more drugs is called polysubstance abuse. This situation may cause severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and more – all of which can potentially complicate the journey to recovery for a detoxing person.

Environment: If an individual had started abusing cocaine as a way to deal with being in a stressful environment, more stress-inducing situations can trigger the urge again, and users may face intense cravings for cocaine.

Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline

Up to 90 Minutes – Crash Phase

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of concentration
  • Fatigue

7 – 10 Days – Detox Phase

 
  • Cravings 
  • Nightmares
  • Chills
 
  • Nerve pain 
  • Muscle aches
  • Increased or reduced appetite
 
 

10 weeks and Beyond – Extinction Phase

  • Decreased cravings
  • Reduced response to triggers 
  • Less risk for relapse

However, the severity of these symptoms or the duration of each phase may differ with the individuals. 

Some Shocking Statistics

  • In 2017, nearly 6 million U.S. people over the age of 12 admitted to using either cocaine or crack.
  • The highest rate of cocaine abuse occurs in the age bracket of 18-25, with 1.9 million adults admitting to its use.
  • Over 527,000 people above the age of 55 are found to have an addiction to cocaine.
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the majority of road traffic accidents happen due to reckless driving of those who abused cocaine.
  • Between 2015 and 2016, polydrug abuse and cocaine overdose deaths have increased from 12,122 to 17,258.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment Options

The first step to get the proper treatment for cocaine dependence is to admit that you have a disease. Cocaine addiction is nothing to be embarrassed about. However, on your path to recovery, you should an important fact: there is no FDA approved medicine to treat the addiction completely.

What medical professionals recommend is a comprehensive treatment plan where you can get detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and group therapy sessions to learn from peers. Besides, you may be asked to undergo a rigorous drug treatment program consisting of yoga, meditation, exercise, and much more. The treatment will be based on the drug rehabilitation center you choose.

First, medical professionals examine to determine the severity of your addiction. Simple testing may diagnose the condition – it involves:

 
  • Blood tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • ECG 
 
  • Toxicology 
  • Urinalysis
  • Cardiac enzymes test
 
 

The medically-supervised programs are designed to implement safe and effective detox processes first, and then start with your training and rehabilitation procedures that nurture your mind, body, and soul back to health. The drug rehab centers also help you learn coping mechanisms for cocaine dependence issues to prevent future relapse.

Here are some of the modules used in cocaine addiction treatment:

Medical Interventions

As mentioned above, there are no FDA-approved medications currently, although researchers are looking into various treatment types for cocaine addiction. By exploring ways to impact neurobiological targets, they primarily focus on dopamine and how cocaine use alters the brain’s other neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, glutamate, and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).

Some of the cocaine withdrawal medications being tested in controlled clinical trials are disulfiram, which is an effective treatment medicine for alcoholism, has shown the most promise. It is a drug that can convert dopamine to norepinephrine, but its effects on reducing addiction are not yet proved. During the trials, scientists also confirmed that when a pregnant woman or lactating mother suffers from withdrawal, cocaine withdrawal symptoms in a newborn is also very common.

However, disulfiram may not suit everyone as some genetic variants that encode the DBH enzyme may influence its effectiveness in reducing cocaine abuse potential. So, before administering this medicine, it would help know each patient’s DBH genotype. 

Finally, researchers are now focusing on developing a cocaine vaccine that can prevent relapse by stimulating the immune system and creating specific antibodies that’s top the drug from attaching to the brain. In the trials, the vaccine has proved that antibody levels can increase in the patient’s body that can significantly reduce their cocaine use. However, its effectiveness is still under examination as the antibodies remained only for 2 months. Later, they started to show mild cocaine withdrawal symptoms like itchy skin. New vaccine technologies genetically engineered human enzymes are also being studied.

Contingency Management

One of the behavioral modification programs designed to help cocaine addicts is contingency management. These are programs that use motivational incentives, such as vouchers or prize-based systems where patients who refrain from using cocaine can receive substantial rewards. The prizes will be given out based on the drug-free urine tests conducted on the patients. They earn points or chips that they can exchange for items like gym memberships, local restaurant bills, or movie tickets.

It is an effective treatment methodology when patients first start their abstinence from cocaine, and also in community treatment programs.

CM may benefit a diverse population of cocaine addicts, from young people to old and even pregnant women. Women with young children or those who are expecting when receiving cocaine addiction treatment programs participated in CM methods and were able to relieve themselves of symptoms of cocaine withdrawal fever, headache, and heart rate abnormalities by being consistently abstinent.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy 

CBT helps patients develop critical skills that help them say no in the face of temptations. They can be more successful in their attempts at long-term abstinence, and support themselves in recognizing the situations that can trigger their cocaine use, and avoiding such circumstances. You can use these programs in conjunction with other treatments available. 

A new form of computerized CBT (called CBT4CBT) is developed by researchers, which helped the patients use interactive multimedia in a private room of a clinic to closely follow skill-development activities and key findings of in-person CBT modules. 

Adding CBT4CBT programs at least once a week to their counseling schedule helped them practice the needed skills and boosted abstinence with motivational movies, homework assignments, games, quizzes, etc. when followed for over 6 months.

Therapeutic Communities

Inpatient rehab facilities or drug-free residences can help patients recovering from cocaine abuse disorder to interact with each other. They can inspire each other, take others are examples, and change their behaviors. This is the main point behind therapeutic communities. These programs can be effective in treating people to detect addiction triggers, prevent relapse, and give up their vices. 

The duration of the stay will depend on the severity of their cocaine addiction and withdrawal; however, it is common for people to stay for at least 6-12 months. They will get onsite vocational rehabilitation and various supportive services that help them achieve successful reintegration into society. They also provide support in important life areas life facing the legal outcomes of their illegal drug use, finding or keeping employment, and mental health issues.

Depending on a patient’s situation, they may need individual counseling, such as vocational rehabilitation for career, couples counseling for marriage, etc. They also receive ongoing support after the inpatient treatment ends, called aftercare to avoid relapse. Some of the most promising aftercare processes are telephone-based counseling, community-based recovery groups like Cocaine Anonymous, which also uses the 12-step program similar to that in AA (for alcohol treatment). In these peer groups, recovering addicts get supportive fellowship with participants sharing their experiences and help them maintain abstinence. 

Find the Best Cocaine Addiction Treatment Center in Your Location

Getting the right treatment for cocaine addiction depends on finding the best drug rehab. At Addiction Aide, we can help you find top substance abuse treatment facilities near you that provide the most effective treatment options tailored for your situation.

Regardless of the specific type of substance use disorder treatment, it is important that patients receive services that match all of their treatment needs.

 

  • https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000947.htm
  • https://www.verywellmind.com/what-to-expect-from-cocaine-withdrawal-21990

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