Cocaine detox and withdrawal

Cocaine detox is the process of allowing cocaine to clear from your system. When going through cocaine detox and withdrawal, your body and mind will be put to the test; your mental and physical state will be working hard to adjust to produce the chemicals previously produced by using cocaine. Withdrawal from cocaine can be complicated, but it is important to remember that detox is only temporary. With determination and motivation, you can overcome cravings, and your body can begin to heal.

Read on to find out what cocaine detox comprises, what to expect when detoxing, how to handle any issues that might arise and the benefits of going through the process.

What to expect when detoxing from cocaine

Cocaine is an extremely potent drug, which has an immense influence on your physical being, but more troublesome is the psychoactive influence. Due to the strength of cocaine, it can change and destroy brain structures. Cocaine leads our brain to pursue the release of dopamine, which in the long term induces mental disorders such as paranoia and psychosis.

When you use cocaine, your brain grows accustomed to cocaine inflicting the production of chemicals, such as serotonin. As a result, your brain will begin to rely heavily on cocaine to produce these chemicals. During detoxification, your brain and body will need to recalibrate and reset to ensure they can naturally produce these chemicals again.

You may experience some of the following symptoms during cocaine detox:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches

These symptoms will come and go during the detox process. Be prepared to deal with them on a daily basis.

Cocaine detox process and withdrawal symptoms

Below is the process your body goes through during cocaine detox from day one to week ten. Click on the timeline below to read what happens in more detail and how your body heals over time without cocaine:

1-3 hours after use
Cocaine has a short-lived effect of around one and a half hours, resulting in withdrawal symptoms appearing within a few hours.

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Changes in appetite
  • Severe fatigue
3 – 5 days after use
This is commonly the most physically testing time of detox; if you can manage these short few days, you are well on your way to recovery. Be sure to consume enough water and other healthy drinks to avoid dehydration.

  • Increased cocaine cravings
  • Depression
  • Body tremors and chills
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia and nightmares
1 – 2 weeks after use
This phase is physically less demanding yet still mentally taxing. It is particularly important to have emotional support during this period, as you are likely to experience a lack of motivation to stay clean, along with continued cocaine cravings. This week is the last phase of detox before your body and mind start to heal themselves, making it crucial to hold on tight and push through.

  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feelings of anhedonia (lack of pleasure)
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Some cocaine cravings
5 – 10 weeks after use
Withdrawal symptoms will start to dissipate as your physical and mental state start to heal. Some cocaine cravings still occur, and common anxiety can be prevalent.
Once you have conquered the withdrawal phase, you’ll be well on to the recovery process.

How to handle cocaine detox

If you are detoxing from cocaine, there are different things you can do to make the process slightly easier:

Have a support system

Have a support system in place. It is highly recommended to seek help from a specialised centre that has the experience to manage the severe symptoms cocaine withdrawal can pose, or have support from a group or professional that can help you through the process safely and keep you motivated.

Eat healthy foods

Eating healthy gives you the nutrients needed to rebuild mentally and physically and replace the supplements that were lost to cocaine addiction.


While exercise may be the last thing you want to do, exercising every day will make a world of difference, as it increases your heart rate.

Exercising allows fresh new blood to be circulated further and faster and will also improve your appetite and make it far easier to get good sleep. Take it step by step, building from week to week.

Rest well

To vastly improve your recovery time, look to get at least six hours of sleep a day.

Stay busy

It’s important to stay busy during detox. This will assist in keeping your mind off of the withdrawal symptoms and help the time pass quickly.

Set daily goals for yourself, challenging yourself to complete small tasks. This way, you are making a to-do list each day, and once completed, you will feel the satisfaction of completing what you set out to do.

It can be difficult to keep track of these important steps when dealing with withdrawal symptoms. That’s why it is paramount you make use of professional support to keep you on track and give you guidance.

If cocaine rehab is not a viable option, make sure to seek the guidance of a medical professional before attempting cocaine detox alone.

Benefits of detoxing from cocaine

Once you have completed your cocaine detox, the recovery process will become a lot easier. After the cocaine is out of your system, it allows you to clearly focus on your goals and what you want to achieve.
Other benefits include:

  • Improved mental health
  • Improved physical health
  • Improved relationships
  • Improved work or school performance

Detoxing and withdrawal are a small part of the road to a clean and clear life. Once you have made the all-important decision to quit and have done the hard work of going through the detox and withdrawal phase, you are well set up to succeed in whatever undertaking you choose.

The skills you will have gained from going through detox and withdrawal are going to have a positive impact on all your future endeavours. You will be in a stronger position, having overcome the difficulties of cocaine usage.

Always remember diamonds form under pressure, while olives are pressed to make oil, and seeds grow in darkness. Whenever you feel under pressure, pressed or in darkness, you’re in a powerful position of transformation. Trust the detox process.

Where to get cocaine detox

There are many options for cocaine detox in the UK; remember you are not alone and there is help available if you or anyone needs it. Bear in mind, although vitally important, detox is merely a step to recovery.
After detoxing, there are several more steps to follow in order to make a healthy recovery. Read more on our cocaine rehab page to find out more about the cocaine recovery process.

Call us now for help


Frequently asked questions

Is cocaine withdrawal dangerous?
While the symptoms associated with cocaine withdrawal are rarely life-threatening, complications can arise, particularly in those who have been abusing more than one substance. Dangerous complications can also occur when a person withdraws from cocaine while having underlying medical issues.

There is also the risk of overdose if cocaine addicts return to the drug after a period of abstinence. Using the same amount of cocaine that was used before the detox began could cause a fatal overdose due to the individual’s tolerance for the drug dropping dramatically while not using.

How severe is cocaine withdrawal?
The severity of a cocaine withdrawal will depend on how much of the drug was being abused before the detox started. Symptoms tend to be mostly psychological, but they can make you feel unwell. It is likely that you will struggle to feel pleasure and you may experience depression and anxiety. When cocaine withdrawals are severe, they can lead to vivid nightmares and even suicidal thoughts.
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