Cocaine Withdrawal & Detox

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Cocaine is a powerfully addictive illicit stimulant, but cocaine withdrawal and detox are neither as intense nor as challenging as detoxing from prescription opioids, alcohol, or illicit narcotics like heroin.

Like all Schedule II controlled substances, cocaine has some medical utility – as an anesthetic – combined with a strong potential for abuse and addiction profile. Tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction can develop with the sustained use of cocaine. Cocaine addiction is clinically described as stimulant use disorder. If you become dependent on cocaine, expect an array of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms to present in the absence of cocaine.

The more you learn about withdrawals from cocaine, the more effectively you can detox from cocaine and initiate your recovery. This guide shows you how to detox from cocaine as safely and comfortably as possible.

What is Cocaine Withdrawal?

Ongoing use of a stimulant like cocaine causes tolerance to form. When this occurs, the effects of the drug diminish, often leading to higher or more frequent doses of cocaine. Sustained stimulant use and abusive patterns of consumption will accelerate the development of physical dependence. If you become dependent on cocaine, you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you moderate or discontinue use.

Many factors impact the severity and duration of coke withdrawal, including:

  • Severity of stimulant use disorder (cocaine addiction)
  • Duration of cocaine abuse
  • Extent of cocaine abuse
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Abuse of other addictive substances (polysubstance abuse)

Cocaine withdrawal typically occurs over three distinct phases:

  1. Crash
  2. Withdrawal
  3. Withdrawal extinction

1) Crash

This phase begins from a few hours to a few days after the last use of cocaine and is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Exhaustion
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts

2) Withdrawal

Following the initial slump of the cocaine crash, your mood should start improving at the same time as your overall functioning.

Ongoing cocaine withdrawal may trigger anhedonia – the inability to feel pleasure or joy. You may also feel bored and irritated. Expect to experience intense cravings for cocaine during the acute withdrawal period. The chance of relapse is greatest during this phase of cocaine withdrawal.

3) Extinction

Mood swings may persist for many months after quitting cocaine. Cravings are likely to linger for six months.

What are the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine, then?

Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal

As you begin the detox process, you will experience the following physical cocaine withdrawal symptoms:

  • Sleepiness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Restlessness
  • Chills
  • Tremors
  • Increased appetite
  • Nerve pain

The presentation of physical withdrawal symptoms will be more intense in those who have been using cocaine long-term or in high doses.

Most cocaine withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, although cocaine detox is associated with the following adverse outcomes:

  • Delirium
  • Heart palpitations
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Grand mal seizures

You may also experience psychological withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Vivid nightmares
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Intense cravings
  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal thoughts

Can Cocaine Withdrawal Kill You? 

Cocaine withdrawal might be challenging and uncomfortable, but it is seldom life-threatening in isolation. That said, there are some potential health risks associated with cocaine withdrawal that could provoke serious and fatal medical complications.

One of the primary risks associated with cocaine withdrawal is the potential for seizures. Cocaine use can disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, and abruptly discontinuing use can trigger a life-threatening seizure.

Other complications associated with cocaine withdrawal that may be lethal include:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Respiratory failure

The risk of fatal outcomes during cocaine withdrawal is highest in those who have been using large amounts of cocaine long-term. Cocaine withdrawal may also inflame underlying physical or mental health conditions.

How long do cocaine withdrawals last, then?

How Long Does Cocaine Withdrawal Last?

How long does it take to detox from cocaine? This depends on factors including the frequency, duration, and extent of cocaine abuse, as well as overall health and wellbeing.

In most cases, cocaine withdrawal lasts for one to two weeks. Symptoms are most intense on the first few days. Physical symptoms like nausea and tremors accompany cravings for cocaine, fatigue, depression, and anxiety.


Here is a typical cocaine withdrawal timeline:

  • Within hours of the last use: The initial symptoms of cocaine withdrawal present. These may include cravings, fatigue, and mood swings.
  • 1 to 3 days after the last use: As cocaine continues to leave the body, withdrawal symptoms may intensify. Expect to experience increased depression, anxiety, and irritability. Physical symptoms like chills, tremors, and muscle pain may also present.
  • 4 to 7 days after the last use: Cocaine withdrawal symptoms usually peak during this time. These may include intense cravings for cocaine, along with symptoms like insomnia, lack of energy, and mood disturbances.
  • 1 to 2 weeks after the last use: As withdrawal symptoms gradually subside, you may still experience mild symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
  • 2 to 4 weeks after the last use: Depression and cravings for cocaine may persist.

What Is the Best Way to Detox From Cocaine?

Since there is no cocaine withdrawal medication available, what is the best detox for cocaine?

All addictions are unique so there is no single method of detoxing from cocaine that is universally suitable. There are many options at your disposal when you are ready to commit to recovery, though.

List of Best Methods

  • Medically supervised detox: A medically supervised detox involves detoxification in a medical facility or rehab center under the supervision of a healthcare professional. This approach can help manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent complications. Medical professionals can also prescribe medications to help manage symptoms, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or medications to help with insomnia or other physical symptoms. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat cocaine withdrawal.
  • Outpatient detox: Some people may choose to detox on an outpatient basis, taking advantage of regular medical supervision. This approach can be helpful for those with mild to moderate addictions who have strong support systems in place.
  • Holistic detox: Holistic detox may involve therapies like acupuncture, massage, and meditation, as well as exercise and dietary changes.
  • Support groups: Some people find support groups like Cocaine Anonymous can be helpful during detox and throughout the recovery process. These groups provide a sense of community, encouragement, and support, all especially helpful during the challenging early stages of detoxification.
  • Home detox: Some people attempt to quit using cocaine using the cold turkey method at home. This is inadvisable.

 What is Cocaine Detox?

Detoxing from cocaine is also known as cocaine detox or cocaine flush.

Cocaine detox is the first vital phase of recovery from addiction. The process involves purging cocaine and its metabolites from your system and managing the associated withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal may be medically supervised.

Cocaine detox addresses the issue of physical dependence and paves the way for ongoing treatment to unpack the psychological component of cocaine addiction.

If you’ve been searching for “cocaine detox near me”, we can help you at Ohio Community Health.

Cocaine Detox Program at Ohio Community Health

At Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers, you can kickstart your recovery from cocaine addiction. While we don’t offer detox at our facility, we can help you find the best treatment program for your situation and can help you later at our IOP.       

Cocaine addiction is fiercely psychological in nature, so transition from detox into ongoing inpatient or outpatient treatment to unchain yourself from stimulant use disorder. Choose from these Ohio Community Health treatment programs:

When you are ready to move from cocaine addiction, contact Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers online or call admissions at (877) 679-2132 for immediate assistance.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn