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How Long Does It Take To Detox From Cocaine

Going through a cocaine detox can look different for everyone. Read on to learn about how long it takes to detox from the substance.

What Is Cocaine

If you’re ready for a cocaine detox or are getting ready to help someone else through a cocaine detox, it’s important to know what cocaine is, what detox looks like, and how long you can expect to be in detox. 

Cocaine is both a powerful stimulant and highly addictive. Cocaine is derived from coca leaves, which have been used for millennia for their stimulant effects. However, the purified stimulant from coca leaves, cocaine hydrochloride, was only isolated in the early 1900s.1

Scope of Cocaine

Today the drug is a Schedule II drug, which means that doctors can administer it for specific uses, like being used as local anesthesia for certain surgeries, but that the drug also has a high potential for abuse. It’s estimated that about 1.9% of people in the United States have used cocaine in the last year, which is roughly over five million people.2

Side Effects of Cocaine

  • Paranoia
  • Intense happiness
  • Intense sensations/sensitivity to certain sensations
  • Headaches
  • Anger
  • Decreased appetite
  • Mood problems
  • Strong cravings for the drug
  • Loss of smell
  • Nosebleeds
  • Runny nose
  • Trouble swallowing

These are just some of the common side effects of cocaine addiction. There are others, and they can affect everyone differently in terms of severity and how long they occur for.

What Is A Cocaine Detox?

Cocaine detox is the process of slowly removing the drug from your system. Detoxing is important because cocaine, like many other recreational drugs, alters the way your body functions. Over time, cocaine can change the balance of chemicals in your body, making you chemically dependent on the drug.

When someone is going through detox, their body won’t function normally because it takes time for the body to readjust to normal function without the drug after becoming chemically dependent. While chemical dependence is different from addiction, most people with an addiction also have a chemical dependence.

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Cocaine Withdrawal Timeframe

Detox and withdrawal can be unpredictable, and how long it takes to fully detox will depend on how much of the drug you’ve used and how long you’ve been using it. Withdrawal can begin as quickly as ninety minutes after your last dose, and detox and withdrawal symptoms can continue for as much as ten days or longer after your last dose.4

Symptoms of Cocaine Detox

Common symptoms of cocaine detox include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hostility
  • Depression
  • Vivid dreams
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Cocaine craving
  • Paranoia
  • Slowed movements

This is not a complete list of possible symptoms, and you should be prepared for other psychological and physical symptoms while you’re detoxing.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay In My System?

Cocaine is one of many drugs that interact with your brain’s reward system, which is also involved in regulating emotions and motivation.5

Cocaine stays in your body for a relatively long time, and half-life estimates range from fifteen to fifty hours, with detectable levels of cocaine remaining in your urine for anywhere from ten to twenty-two days after your last dose.  However, that doesn’t mean that your body is still actively using cocaine during that period or that you will still be high on the drug for that long. You should expect a cocaine high to last up to several hours after taking the drug, and withdrawal symptoms to begin shortly after the high ends.

Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline

There is a distinct timeline to withdrawal that falls into three phases. The exact length of each phase varies from person to person, but everyone should experience these three phases.

  • The Crash Phase: The crash after taking cocaine is the first phase of withdrawal. Most people feel anxious during this phase, and you may also feel exhausted, dysphoria, or have other negative feelings. Cravings may be lower in this phase, but you may want cocaine to relieve the negative feelings.
  • The Craving Phase: During the craving phase, you'll likely crave cocaine more often, may struggle to concentrate, and feel lethargic and fatigued most of the time. This is likely to be the longest phase of withdrawal.
  • The Extinction Phase: The extinction phase is the last phase of withdrawal and is ongoing. You may experience occasional cravings, but those should decrease over time. You will also become more aware of your risks for cravings and will develop coping mechanisms to deal with these specifically.

How To Detox From Cocaine Safely

When you are detoxing from cocaine, your body is readjusting to lower levels of the chemical in your system. The body is also dealing with lower levels of dopamine expression and other neurotransmitters involved in emotions of pleasure and motivation.

That can translate to lower moods and generally falling into the “comedown blues,” which can be severe in some people, especially if you are prone to depression or low mood, if you have a history of suicidal thoughts or actions, or thoughts of self-harm or actions. It’s important to have people around you who can help support you and who are prepared for your moods.

Cocaine isn’t a drug that has as many physical symptoms as others, but it’s also important to make sure you’re getting good nutrition and proper hydration while you’re detoxing. Electrolyte support drinks are generally better for your needs than plain water, and you may crave more carbs than normal while you’re detoxing.

Cocaine Detox & Withdrawal Symptoms

It's important to be prepared for the full range of cocaine detox symptoms and to be aware that these symptoms can be intense for the first week to two weeks after you stop taking cocaine. They will gradually get less intense over time.

Common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Slowed activity or slowed thinking
  • Hostility
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Vivid dreams or nightmares
  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Increased cocaine craving

What Are The Benefits Of At Home Cocaine Detox?

Detox From Cocaine

Because cocaine is a less physically stressful detox, and the main stressors and symptoms are likely to be psychological, there can be some benefits to detoxing at home, even if you choose a treatment program after detox or need additional support in other phases of recovery. These benefits include:

  • Privacy: The main advantage of at-home cocaine detox is that you'll have greater privacy and will be able to manage things in the comfort of your home. Familiar surroundings can also help keep your stress levels lower. 
  • Personalized Care: Working with friends and family, or even medical care providers that can come to your home can also help make sure you get top-notch individualized care throughout your withdrawal. 

Remember that it’s important to have support throughout withdrawal, which likely means having help from more than one person who can help make sure you’re safe and taking care of yourself while you’re detoxing.

Connect With Ripple Ranch Recovery

If you or your loved one is experiencing drug addiction or withdrawal, it is important to know the resources available to you. At Ripple Ranch Recovery, we can equip you with the necessary tools and techniques to achieve and maintain long lasting wellness and sobriety.

Your wellbeing is our top priority. Reach out today and begin healing.

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