Cocaine withdrawals start almost immediately. Even a casual user will experience cocaine withdrawals a few hours after the last time the drug was ingested. That craving that you get after your last hit is the first sign of withdrawal. That initial “crash” is just bona fide withdrawal. This should be your first clue to understanding why cocaine is one of the most powerful and addictive drugs in the world.

It grabs you quickly and it doesn’t let up without a little bit of a fight.

Cocaine addicts will experience some form of withdrawal during cocaine detox. There’s no avoiding it. There are a number of treatment options for cocaine addiction, including PHP and IOP. Be sure to read up on both to decide which is best for you.

Our goal here is to paint a realistic picture of what cocaine detox feels like, start to finish.

What Cocaine Detox Feels Like

Well it’s no summer vacation. Cocaine addiction is subjective and so are our experiences and feelings, which means that this description of cocaine withdrawal is generalized. Keep that in mind.

We also want to note something that is very important: THIS TOO SHALL PASS. This is all temporary; a necessary step you have to take to regain control of your life. Remember that one day you will look back on this stage in your life and realize it was just a small speed bump on a long journey.

The short answer is that it feels like you’re being punished for a number of concurrent terrible decisions. It also feels like the worst flu you’ve ever had.1

What To Expect From Cocaine Withdrawals

  • Anxiety

Isn’t it funny how quick that get “up and go” feeling can turn into jitteriness and then into a black hole of despair? Addicts call the onset of anxiety being “gakked out.” Psychologist call that anxiety. Recovering cocaine addicts call it the first sign that something is wrong.

  • Paranoia

You know what kind of people are gripped by paranoia? People who need help in the most genuine way possible. You’ll feel like the walls are closing in on you. Nothing another bump can’t fix right? Only if you want to delay and intensify your eventual withdrawal. Make good choices.

  • Insomnia

Who needs sleep when you can take on the world? Eventually you will pray for sleep. The prolonged insomnia only feeds into the anxiety and paranoia creating a cycle. Just hang in there. It will be over soon.

  • Helplessness

That up feeling that cocaine gives you comes with a debt – a cost you pay in the end. Pure pleasure’s counterpart is absolute dread. Welcome to the feeling of helplessness.

  • Crippling Fear

Loss of control leads directly into fear. If there’s one thing that can trigger existential fear more than loss of control, then we haven’t found it. Though most addicts talk of the loss of control as a means of escape, you’ll come to learn how absolutely wrong this is. Just trust us for now.

  • Worthlessness

The best part about addiction is that it has a knack of kicking you when you’re already down. Just thought it couldn’t get any worse? Not so fast, now you get to hate yourself for the choices you’ve made. This comes at the tail end of the initial crash. This is not specific to cocaine withdrawal, but a stepping stone in all addiction.

  • Loneliness

There is nothing more isolating than addiction. At least that’s how it feels. Don’t fret, don’t do anything stupid. You’re loved, you matter, and right now somewhere someone is rooting for you. Someone is remembering something great you did for them. Someone cares.

Loneliness is temporary and beatable. It’s no coincidence that all addiction treatment hinges on communities like AA and NA. Sharing is caring.

Cocaine Detox Timeline

Cocaine withdrawal is broken into three distinct “acts.” Though this is not the kind of play you signed up for, you are there until the curtain call.

Act 1 – Crash, Crash, Baby

As mentioned, the crash is the initial onset of cocaine withdrawal. This will begin when the physical effects of your last hit wear of and usually last a few hours or up to a full day. The cravings will be intense.

Act 2 – PAWS

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome2 – because just when you got out of the frying pan, you find the fire. This can last weeks or months and throughout this entire act you are highly susceptible to relapse. You will just not feel “right.” Your beautiful brain is trying to rebuild the highways of neurons that were reprogrammed to reward cocaine use.

This is going to take time, and the most common feeling during this act is frustration and despair. “It has been months – why do I feel like I will never be normal again.” Trust the process. Your brain is one smart cookie and will get you back on track. Give it time.

Act 3 – Constant Vigilance

The final act never ends. It is the play of your life – the everyday hustle and fight against this simple white powder that controlled your life.

Take it one day at a time. If you need help, reach out to a South Florida cocaine detox center. We’ve been there: 1-877-958-3839.



[1]: American Addiction Centers – Drug Withdrawal Symptoms, Timelines, and Treatment

[2]: – Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

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