Cocaine Detox Programme and Withdrawal Symptoms

Safe and nurturing environment for the start of your new, healthier life.

At Sanctuary Lodge, we understand the difficulties and fears you may feel if you have cocaine addiction. We’ve helped many people get through cocaine detox and withdrawal symptoms and surmount some of the most serious dependencies. There is hope for anyone who struggles with addiction, and a huge step toward recovery is recognising the problem. Reading this now is the first of step on your road to health and happiness.

At our state-of-the-art facility, care is provided 24 hours a day by our on-site medical professionals, nurses and doctors to help you detox from cocaine safely. Our care plans are individualised to fit your unique needs, and we have many options and strategies, such as holistic therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy and a 12-step programme.

How Does a Cocaine Detox Work?

Cocaine detoxification can be split up into three distinct phases: a come-down, withdrawal and recovery. Our programmes at Sanctuary Lodge help to support you through these phases while lessening their impact on your physical and emotional well-being.

Due to the drug’s short-acting effects, a come down may be experienced after a period of heavy use should its intake be suddenly stopped. This phase can go on for a few days, and it is associated with symptoms such as exhaustion, depression, anxiety, hunger and irritability. The next phase, withdrawal, comes with a risk of relapse throughout its duration.

Withdrawal can last for up to 10 weeks, and some of its symptoms include a constant state of tiredness and inactivity, cravings for the drug, lack of concentration, mood swings and irritability.

The final phase, called recovery, can last up to six months, and it’s associated with a low mood and some cravings. Long-term users of cocaine may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS, which causes a lack of impulse control and difficulty controlling moods and emotions.

image showing how cocaine detox affects someone

How long does a cocaine detox last?

The length of a cocaine detox can vary from person to person, but the typical answer is seven days. The first and most difficult phase, the come-down, can last up to one week. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms usually last between one and four weeks but can last up to ten weeks. Recovery typically takes place from week 5 onwards. Mastery of your cravings is the best way to complete your recovery phase, but the prevention of relapse can be ongoing.

If you’re taking prescription medication

There are no drugs currently accepted that can treat a cocaine addiction, but there are several medications that can help lessen the psychological symptoms, as well as secondary and co-occurring mental disorders. Speaking to one of our psychiatrists about your current medication throughout the detox process can greatly decrease the chances of relapse and promote successful rehabilitation. Beta blockers such as propranolol can be used to lower anxiety during detox and diminish cravings for the drug, and antidepressants can be used to raise dopamine levels in the brain (3).

If you’re taking other drugs

Polydrug use involving cocaine can open you up to other risks. One of the most common combinations with cocaine is alcohol. As a depressant, alcohol can diminish the drug’s negative side effects, such as anxiety, tension or twitching. Those who drink too much alcohol may take cocaine in order to reduce alcohol’s negative effects, including sluggishness and drowsiness. Simultaneously using alcohol and cocaine may cause high amounts of stress in the cardiovascular system and liver. Our highly trained psychiatrists will be able to assess and determine what cocaine detox programme will work for you.

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

The process of cocaine withdrawal typically takes anywhere between one and four weeks, but it has also been known to last up to ten weeks. Withdrawal itself has both physical and psychological symptoms, for example: intense cravings and co-occurring mental health disorders. It can be difficult to go through this alone. Alternatively, here at Sanctuary Lodge, we are fully equipped to help you through the process should you decide to stay with us for your cocaine withdrawal.

Physical withdrawal symptoms

Cocaine withdrawal is not associated with as many physical symptoms as other drug withdrawals, but there are a few. It’s important to remember that while symptoms can sometimes be challenging, they’re temporary and, with proper support, manageable.

If you were to experience withdrawal, may notice slowed movements while performing activities, and fatigue afterwards. You may also experience chills, tremors, muscle aches and nerve pain, as well as an increased appetite and constant tiredness. A symptom that could be considered a psychological and physical symptom is the inability to feel sexual arousal.

Psychological withdrawal symptoms

Cocaine withdrawal is primarily associated with psychological symptoms. In withdrawal you may experience slowed thinking and a lack of ability to focus, as well as some restlessness. You may also experience secondary or co-occurring mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety and the inability to feel pleasure. Additionally, you can have intense and vivid dreams, as well as suicidal thoughts. The most challenging symptom is the craving for cocaine.

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome primarily causes psychological symptoms. During the beginning of the PAWS phase, symptoms can change as often as every minute.

How Long Will Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

The acute withdrawal phase typically lasts between one and four weeks and can last as long as ten. This time frame changes depending on the length of use, the size of the last dose, environment, co-occurring and secondary mental disorders and polysubstance dependence. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms can last up to two years from the end of the acute phase.

Is a Cocaine Detox Enough for Long-Term Recovery?

Cocaine detox, by itself, is almost never enough to prevent relapse and ensure long-term recovery. Often, for people who have accomplished detox, require ongoing psychotherapy to discover the root cause of their addiction. This enables them to recognize these stressors and teaches them alternative methods to handle these situations successfully (6).

Cognitive behavioural therapy is also an effective tool to help those that have also gone through detox, helping them to move forwards through their journey to recovery. These therapies can help you approach stressful situations in a constructive manner and help you to understand the underlying problems that have caused your addiction. Another effective method is contingency management, which provides rewards for negative drug tests (6).

What Happens After a Cocaine Detox?

We provide you with many options for treatment following cocaine detox, and your treatment is individually tailored to fit your personal needs. Our facility has a 12-step programme, aftercare programmes and family workshops, cognitive behavioural therapy and holistic, individual and group therapies.

Our 12-step programme aims help you see your addiction more clearly. The first step involves acknowledging a lack of control. From there, you’ll participate in a lifestyle that promotes honesty, empathy and selflessness. We provide an introduction to the 12 steps, with an aim to deliver a passion and drive that replaces the grasp of what your addiction previously held.

The goal of our family workshops is to help repair your relationships with your loved ones – that may have been damaged during your addiction. We aim to help you separate your illness from you as an individual and show your loved ones how to best they can support you through your rehabilitation process.

Therapy is a large part of preventing relapse after detox. At Sanctuary Lodge, you’ll participate in group, individual and holistic therapies. Our individual and group therapies provide you a chance to share your story, and often helps identify the stressors in your life that have contributed to your addiction(s). Our holistic therapies are unorthodox treatments that help you find peace within yourself through meditation, acupuncture and art therapy.
Our cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is based on the notion that thoughts are responsible for feelings, so if a person’s thoughts are out of perspective, then their feelings and actions are negatively affected. This therapy aims to challenge your thought processes and change how you think, which opens you to growth.

After leaving Sanctuary Lodge, you’ll be armed with the tools required to maintain your recovery, but our support doesn’t end there. By participating in our aftercare program, which is free of charge for one-year after treatment, you’ll learn skills that will to help you confidently reintegrate back into your life with continued sobriety.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you detox from cocaine at home?
Cocaine detox is possible to achieve at home, whether alone or with others. However, this heightens the possibility of relapse and further addiction. Following detox, it is immensely helpful to have therapy to determine the initial cause of your addiction, allowing you to approach situations in a better way for the future.
Someone who goes through detox alone without seeking help may not be able to recognise the stressors in their lives that led to their cocaine addiction and may not be able to handle these situations. Going through detoxification and rehabilitation in a facility lowers the inherent chances of relapse by providing you with many strategies for handling daily life after recovery.
Is a cocaine detox dangerous?
Cocaine detox can be a long and difficult process to go through, sometimes accompanied by distressing symptoms. These include discomfort, mental and physical exhaustion and depression. This type of withdrawal is typically not life-threatening (7).
Will I be prescribed detox medication?
There are no approved drugs that can treat cocaine withdrawal and detoxification, but a doctor can prescribe some short-term medications to help diminish some of the psychological symptoms. Medications such as Valium, Xanax and Propranolol can reduce the anxiety caused by cocaine withdrawal (3).
One of the major issues presented by cocaine withdrawal is a lack of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the chemical responsible for the feelings of pleasure. The sudden drop of dopamine levels can cause mental disorders such as depression and the inability to feel pleasure. Antidepressants can be used to diminish this effect and heighten the amount of dopamine in the brain to balance your moods (3).
Is a residential cocaine detox necessary?
One of the major benefits of an inpatient programme is that it allows you to be removed from the environment in which you previously used cocaine. You’ll also have the benefit of having around-the-clock medical care and support to fight off those symptoms of withdrawal and cravings for the drug.
In general, inpatient rehabilitation is more successful and lasts longer than outpatient care. It also provides the benefit of removing many of the stressors that may have contributed to addiction.
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