Cocaine withdrawal can sometimes have severe symptoms, but many detox programs exist to help you through it.

Cocaine, sometimes referred to as “crack cocaine,” is a stimulant substance with addictive properties. According to statistics from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, roughly 4.8 million adults 18 and older in the United States reported using cocaine in 2021.

Because cocaine is a highly addictive substance, it can cause dependence ― which is where your body becomes dependent on the drug and needs more of it to have the same effects. Cocaine dependence can also cause withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop or detox from the drug.

Below, we’ll share what you need to know about detoxing from cocaine, including common withdrawal symptoms, how long cocaine detox lasts, and how to get support for substance use disorder.

When you use substances like alcohol or drugs over a long period of time, your body can develop a dependence on these substances.

Someone who’s dependent on cocaine, for example, will experience withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit using the drug. Detoxification, or detox, refers to these withdrawal symptoms, as well as the medical interventions that can help assist someone who’s in withdrawal.

Symptoms of detox and withdrawal from stimulants, including cocaine, may include:

Generally, withdrawal symptoms from cocaine during the detox period start within 24 hours after last using the drug.

Detox can look different from person to person. However, there are two types of substance withdrawal, each of which has a rough timeline:

  • Acute withdrawal: Acute withdrawal happens within the first few hours or days after someone abruptly stops using a substance, such as alcohol or drugs. Acute withdrawal from stimulants, including cocaine, can last for a few days to roughly 2 weeks.
  • Protracted withdrawal: Protracted withdrawal describes withdrawal symptoms that continue past the initial acute withdrawal. Because there’s very little research on long-term withdrawal from cocaine, there’s no timeline for this type of withdrawal.

Detoxing from a drug like cocaine can be difficult to do alone ― so it can be beneficial to seek professional support.

While some people are able to successfully detox from cocaine in an outpatient setting, others find that an inpatient program is helpful for managing acute withdrawal symptoms.

Whether you choose to do an inpatient or outpatient program, it’s still important to find one that fits your needs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), here’s what you should consider when looking for a treatment program:

  • What type of program is the treatment? People who have been using cocaine for a long period of time may find that their withdrawal symptoms are severe. In this case, an inpatient program may be better than an intensive outpatient program, for example.
  • What type of therapy do they offer? Behavioral therapies are also important for people who are recovering from substance use disorders. Consider whether you might benefit from individual therapy, group therapy, or a combination of both.
  • What other support services do they offer? If you’re recovering from substance use disorder, long-term support is essential to long-term recovery. A good program offers support for other areas of your life, such as your finances, housing, and more.

Both inpatient and outpatient programs are an effective way to quit substances like cocaine and find long-term support for recovery from substance use disorder.

Is it important to get professional detox help?

Many people who have substance use disorders will try to detox on their own because they believe that they can do so without support. But addiction can be difficult to overcome alone, and many people with these disorders may relapse without the right support.

If you or someone you love has chosen to stop using cocaine or any other substance, consider reaching out for professional help. With the right treatment ― whether inpatient, outpatient, or otherwise ― you or a loved one can get the help needed to overcome substance use disorder.

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Detoxing from cocaine is one of the best ways to get control of your life back ― because when you’re no longer dependent on cocaine, there are so many positive aspects of recovery to look forward to.

Once you’re in recovery, you can think about your future with a clear head and set some goals for yourself, whether personal, occupational, or otherwise. You can improve your relationships with others and yourself and take some time to allow your body and mind to recover.

Most importantly, treatment offers you the chance to learn how to manage your thoughts, feelings, and emotions without feeling like you need to use substances. You can learn not only your triggers but also the coping skills necessary to navigate difficult life situations.

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance that can cause withdrawal symptoms during detox, including agitation, fatigue, depression, and more. Cocaine detox can start as soon as 24 hours after the last dose, and it can take more than 1 to 2 weeks for acute withdrawal symptoms to stop.

If you or someone you love has been trying to detox from cocaine, there’s professional help available. Consider calling the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for resources near you ― and remember, recovery is for everyone, and no one has to go through it alone.