Cocaine withdrawal: Causes, Incidence, and Risk Factors
Cocaine withdrawal occurs when a heavy cocaine user cuts down or quits taking the drug.
Cocaine produces a sense of extreme joy through causing the brain to release higher than usual amounts of biochemicals. However, cocaine’s influence on your body can be extremely serious or even deadly.
Cocaine withdrawal occurs as cocaine use is stopped or when a binge ends. then a crash follows very quickly. This crash happens simultaneously with a strong craving for additional cocaine. Extra symptoms include fatigue, lack of pleasure, anxiety, irritability, sleepiness, and at times agitation or extreme suspicion.
Cocaine withdrawal often has no visible physical symptoms such as the vomiting and shaking that one sees during the withdrawal from heroin or alcohol.
Historically, people did not recognize the addictive qualities of cocaine. However, cocaine is very addictive if addiction is defined as a desire for more of the drug, even in the face of negative consequences.
The level of craving, lack of pleasure, and depression produced by cocaine withdrawal rivals or exceeds that felt with other withdrawal symptoms.
Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms may include:
- * Depressed mood
- * Fatigue
- * Generalized bad feeling
- * Vivid and unpleasant dreams
- * Agitation and restless behavior
- * Slowing of activity
- * Increased appetite
The craving and depression can last for months after ending long-term heavy use(especially daily). Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can also bring suicidal thoughts in some people.
During cocaine withdrawal, there can be powerful, intense cravings for the drug. However, the “high” experienced with continuing use becomes less and less pleasant, and can produce fear and extreme suspicion instead of joy. Even so, the cravings may continue to be very powerful.
Cocaine Withdrawal Treatment
Cocaine withdrawal may not be as unstable as alcohol withdrawal. However, the withdrawal from all chronic substance abuse is extremely serious. There is a always a risk of suicide or even overdose.
Symptoms generally totally disappear over time. People in the midst of cocaine withdrawal often attempt to self-medicate with alcohol, sedatives, hypnotics, or anti-anxiety medications, such as diazepam (Valium). Self-medication or replacement is not wise, because each simply transfers addiction from one substance to another.
Because at least fifty percent of those addicted to cocaine have a co-existing mental disorder (particularly depression and attention-deficit disorder), these conditions should be considered and treated proactively.
Relapse rates are dramatically lower when these conditions are properly treated. All prescription medicines need to be monitored carefully in patients who abuse substances.
Cocaine Withdrawal Support Groups
Cocaine withdrawal 12-step support groups, like Cocaine Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, have aided many people addicted to cocaine. Other groups such as SMART recovery should be considered for those who do not like the 12-step approach.
Cocaine addiction and cocaine withdrawal are difficult to treat, and relapse may occur. However, the chances of achieving stabilization are as good as those for other ongoing illnesses such as diabetes and asthma.
Treatment should start with the least restrictive option and become more restricted if needed. Outpatient care is as effective as inpatient for the majority of those addicted to cocaine, according to the research.
At this time, there are no effective medications to reducing craving. There are studies that have found that medications such as amantadine and bromocriptine may help to lower a patient’s craving, increase energy, and normalize sleep, particularly among those with the most serious problems.