Cocaine withdrawal

Cocaine Addiction Causes

Cocaine addiction is a major problem in America. This article will review common cocaine addiction causes so you can get to the root of dependency issues. 

Table of Contents

What are the Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal?

In the United States, approximately 1.5 million people ages 12 and older have used cocaine within the last month. Sadly, this statistic is higher among adults ages 18 to 25. Once individuals begin using cocaine, they may start struggling with addiction and subsequently cocaine addiction withdrawal. This article will discuss signs of cocaine addiction, cocaine withdrawal symptoms, and cocaine withdrawal treatment options.

When a person becomes addicted to powder or liquid cocaine, their body will begin showing signs of cocaine addiction withdrawal. Cocaine withdrawal can occur even if trace amounts of the drug are still present in their blood. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms aren’t usually as physically apparent compared to withdrawal from substances like heroin or alcohol. A crash or cocaine addiction withdrawal can be indicated by sleepiness, irritability, anxiety, agitation, and paranoia.2
Read on to learn about the details of cocaine withdrawal symptoms as well as the various treatment options.

A Further Look at Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms


There are three main stages of cravings regarding substance abuse, set-up behaviors, trigger events, and the craving cycle. Set-up behaviors include a poor diet, euphoric recall or romanticizing the high, excessive stress, and lack of self-care.

Trigger events typically involve seeing, hearing, touching, or tasting something that creates a craving. Visiting a place where you used or seeing a friend you used to get high with are examples of this. Lastly, the craving cycle combines obsession, compulsion, physical craving, and drug-seeking behavior. Flashback euphoria, using dreams, and physical anguish are common symptoms of cocaine cravings.3

Unpleasant Dreams

Drug dreams are a well-known cocaine withdrawal symptom. During these dreams, individuals feel they can taste, smell, and feel the drug. People experiencing cocaine addiction withdrawal also describe waking up feeling like they’ve used, hangover and all.3


During the first ten weeks of cocaine addiction withdrawal, depression is a common symptom. People going through cocaine withdrawal also struggle with anxiety and poor concentration during this time. Cocaine addiction treatment paired with mental health counseling, if needed, can be an excellent tool for individuals overcoming cocaine addiction withdrawal.4

Suicidal Thoughts

Depressive symptoms paired with the guilt and shame people experience during cocaine withdrawal put individuals at higher risk of suicidal thoughts and ideation. For this reason, professionally administered cocaine addiction treatment is the safest place for cocaine withdrawal.4


For people going through cocaine addiction withdrawal, agitation, irritability, exhaustion, and restlessness are common symptoms during their initial crash and withdrawal periods.4

How Long Does Cocaine Withdrawal Last?

Cocaine addiction withdrawal comprises three stages: crash, withdrawal, and extinction.4 In the following few sections, we’ll dive into time frames and signs of cocaine addiction withdrawal to be aware of.

  • Phase I: Phase one or crash phase typically begins immediately and lasts a few hours or days, dependent on the person.4
  • Phase II: Phase two, or the craving phase, usually ranges from approximately one to ten weeks.4
  • Phase III: Phase three, or the extinction phase, is the final stage of cocaine withdrawal and lasts up to twenty-eight weeks.4

What is Cocaine Detox?

A person going through cocaine detox must move through the three phases of withdrawal. This section will explain the crash, craving, and extinction phases.
  • Crash Phase: Phase one of crack cocaine addiction withdrawal is the crash. This phase in the model usually begins within hours or days of last powder or liquid cocaine use. In phase one, the symptoms of cocaine addiction withdrawal are exhaustion, hypersomnia, increased appetite, and irritability. People typically don’t have cravings to use while in phase one.4
  • Craving Phase: Part two of this phased model is called the withdrawal or craving phase. During crack cocaine addiction withdrawal, symptoms include lethargy, erratic sleep, intense cravings, poor concentration, and emotional liability.4
  • Extinction Phase: The third and final stage of cocaine addiction symptoms during the withdrawal process is called extinction. Phase three includes episodic cravings along with some dysphoria.4

Factors That Can Make Withdrawal Longer

Cocaine withdrawal
Various factors, including potency, the amount used, duration of usage, and individual characteristics, can make the withdrawal period shorter or longer. This section will discuss these factors and symptoms of cocaine addiction.

Type of Drug

Cocaine is a stimulant street drug from coca leaves found in South America. Three different types of cocaine exist, including cocaine hydrochloride, freebase, and crack. Depending on the type a person uses, cocaine addiction symptoms and withdrawals can vary.5


How much cocaine a person uses regularly can determine how long their cocaine addiction symptoms from withdrawal last. Also, the strength of cocaine varies by batch and can affect the length of withdrawal.5

How Long

Suppose a person has developed tolerance and begins using more to achieve the same high. In that case, they’ll most likely experience residual withdrawal symptoms of cocaine use for a more extended period.5


A person’s size, weight, and health can impact how long the withdrawal process takes. Health conditions, including blood pressure, heart rate, and stress, can influence the intensity of cocaine addiction symptoms and withdrawal.5


As with any health condition, substance use disorder and withdrawals are impacted by a person’s emotional state and mental health. The possibility of suicidal ideation, depression, and anxiety are monitored closely during cocaine withdrawal treatment 5

Are There Any Medications for Cocaine Withdrawal?

In cocaine withdrawal treatment, professionals can use medication for cocaine addiction to alleviate a person’s symptoms and discomfort. Let’s look at the six most common drugs used during cocaine addiction treatment.

  • Neurontin: Substance use professionals use Neurontin or Gabapentin to treat cocaine dependence and cravings.6
  • Sabril: Sabril or vigabatrin is currently used to help individuals remain cocaine-free and reduce cravings.7
  • Topamax: Topamax or Topiramate is an antiepileptic drug that some professionals prescribe to manage cocaine addiction symptoms.8
  • Gablofen: Gablofen, an injection of baclofen, is a muscle relaxant that has been shown to help with cocaine cravings.8
  • Antabuse: Antabuse or disulfiram is a promising relapse prevention tool for individuals addicted to cocaine. This drug is currently used widely in alcohol treatment programs. Four clinical trials have shown positive results for reductions in cocaine use.8
  • Provigil: Provigil or modafinil is a medication commonly prescribed for narcolepsy. This drug has been shown to block euphoric effects and improve relapse prevention among cocaine users.8

Find Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

If you or a loved one are displaying symptoms of cocaine addiction, it’s essential to learn how to stop cocaine addiction. Inpatient treatment, outpatient therapy, and support groups are excellent tools for overcoming the symptoms of cocaine use. In this next section, we’ll explore what these types of treatment look like and how to access them.


After a person completes detox and is rid of cocaine abuse symptoms, inpatient or residential care is usually the next step in treatment. Cocaine abuse symptoms to look for when considering whether inpatient is necessary can include paranoia, anxiety, insomnia, and aggressive behavior. Inpatient is the ideal place for combating cocaine addiction effects. If inpatient isn’t possible, it’s critical to be aware of signs of a cocaine overdose in case of emergency. Signs of cocaine overdose can include hallucinations, irregular breathing, seizures, and stroke. If you or a person you love need inpatient or emergency assistance for overdose, call emergency services or a local treatment center for care.


Outpatient treatment is provided in various formats and at different levels of intensity. Contact your health insurance provider or call a substance use treatment center for admissions information to access outpatient care.

Support Groups

12-Step programs, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Cocaine Anonymous (CA), are free resources that encourage social connection in recovery. To find local or virtual meetings, visit their website.9

Ongoing Recovery

In addition to sober support, recovery environment, self-care, and faith-based organizations are excellent tools for maintaining sobriety.9


Many people in recovery choose to engage in mental health and substance use therapy on a long-term basis to resolve past trauma, create a relapse prevention plan, and learn coping strategies. Chatting with people in the recovery community is an excellent place to start when choosing a therapist. 9

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