Detox from Cocaine

Detox from CocainePeople addicted to cocaine usually binge on the drug, partying all night by taking higher and higher hits. Coming down from cocaine then brings serious symptoms, leaving users feeling low, agitated and ready for a downer like alcohol or opiates.

Treatment programs that fight the roller coaster ride of cocaine use giver users a safe place to detox from the drug. Under medical supervision, patients receive available medications and therapeutic aids like massage to come off the drug in a compassionate way. Since many cocaine users also are addicted to other substances, the treatment center must manage all symptoms while monitoring patients for complications, including suicidal thoughts and heart rhythm abnormalities.[1]

The Importance of Detoxification

Users getting off cocaine experience fatigue, general feelings of unease and unhappiness and other uncomfortable symptoms. Managing these issues in a healthy way is crucial, because ongoing cocaine use damages the heart and immune system. When users also abuse other substances – such as alcohol and opiates – the effect on the body is even more harmful as these substances negatively affect the brain, heart, liver and kidneys. Addiction treatment programs that use scientifically based therapies give cocaine users the best recovery outcomes by treating all of their symptoms and coordinating follow up care that supports a person months and years after treatment.[2]

Understanding Cocaine

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant made from the leaves of the South American coca plant. Addiction to cocaine happens rapidly. Due to its potency and power, many people become addicted after just a few doses. Cocaine dramatically affects the life of the user, but also affects his family, friends and coworkers. Like other addictive drugs, cocaine changes the brain so users crave it constantly and become willing to endure many negative consequences to continue taking the drug.

Once addiction sets in, it is difficult to fight. Even if a person tries to stop taking cocaine, the psychological and physiological side effects are so unpleasant most people turn back to the drug. With proper help and treatment, however, it’s possible to fight cocaine cravings and overcome the psychological symptoms of withdrawal. Evidence-based programs screen patients carefully to determine the kinds of therapies needed. Cocaine users do well with specific therapies, including contingency management (CM). Through CM, patients receive rewards or prizes when they demonstrate abstinence from the drug. This works especially well as a maintenance therapy after treatment, because patients receive rewards, such as gym memberships or movie tickets, for clean urine tests. Having a positive incentive to work toward gives patients additional motivation to stay clean and seek out support.[3]

Is It Necessary?

Cocaine detoxification is important for people who want to break their addiction and learn to manage cravings and stress. People who use cocaine and then experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug benefit from professional addiction treatment. Symptoms include depression, cocaine cravings, fatigue, muscle pain and vomiting/nausea. The scientifically based therapies available at The Canyon give patients the ability to manage these physical and mental symptoms while also learning how to live without substances.

Psychological Symptoms of Cocaine Use

Cocaine is one of the most addictive substances because of its interaction with the brain’s reward system.

Users feel such a strong sense of pleasure and euphoria when they take cocaine, the brain learns rapidly to crave and demand the drug.[4] Once cocaine wears off, users feel intense cocaine cravings as well as depressed, anxious and fatigued. Because these symptoms occur during cocaine detox, medical professionals prescribe medications to ease discomfort. Withdrawal symptoms last from a few days to as long as a week, depending upon how long a history someone has with cocaine and the amount usually taken. For people who are long-term cocaine users or who are extremely addicted to it, inpatient residential treatment centers are the best option. Severe cocaine addictions bring on serious psychological symptoms in users. People who regularly use cocaine experience irritability, extreme agitation, panic attacks and paranoia, which may include auditory hallucinations.[5]

Physical Symptoms of Cocaine Use

Cocaine use also has a dramatic effect on the body’s systems. The drug damages organs. For example, cocaine is toxic to the heart and cardiovascular system. It also is linked to an increased risk of stroke and causes bleeding in the brain. Additionally, it reduces blood flow to the digestive system leading to ulcers and reduces a person’s appetite leading to malnutrition. Stopping cocaine use is essential to avoiding further damage and leading a healthy life.5

Detox at The Canyon Malibu

Detox at The Canyon MalibuAt The Canyon, our treatment program helps you reclaim personal goals and dreams. A variety of alternative and evidence based therapies allow our patients to break the cycle of cocaine addiction. Our highly trained and certified therapists and physicians regularly review and update individualized treatment programs, making sure every patient gets the individualized care they need to improve. If you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine abuse or addiction, give our admissions coordinators a call today.


[1] Heller, Jacob L. (2015). Cocaine withdrawal. MedLinePlus. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2017 from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000947.htm.

[2] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). What is cocaine? Retrieved Jan. 9, 2017 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine.

[3] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). How is cocaine addiction treated? Cocaine: Research Report Series. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2017 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-treatments-are-effective-cocaine-abusers

[4] Zheng, Fang; Xue, Liu; Hou, Shurong; Liu, Junjun; Zhan, Max; Yang, Wenchao; & Zhan, Chang-Guo. (2014). A highly efficient cocaine-detoxifying enzyme obtained by computational design. Nature. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2017 from http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms4457?WT.ec_id=NCOMMS-20140319#abstract.

[5] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2015). What are the long-term effects of cocaine use? Cocaine: Research Report Series. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2017 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-are-long-term-effects-cocaine-use.

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