Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine withdrawal is different from other types of drug withdrawal, but it can still have dangerous consequences for the person who is addicted to cocaine. This article will explain more about cocaine withdrawal, crack crashes, and symptoms of cocaine withdrawal.


People often use cocaine for the high they get from it, but cocaine also has negative effects that cause many people to want to quit using cocaine. Some of these effects occur when the initial rush of the cocaine wears off, which is called a crash, and can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritation
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Paranoia

These crashes may make people crave cocaine, which causes an addiction to the drug, where the person using it has trouble stopping and spends a lot of time thinking about the next time they will be able to use cocaine. People who are addicted to cocaine and continue using it may become paranoid or depressed, often engage in risky behaviors when using the drug, and may steal or commit other crimes to get cocaine.

A person who wants to overcome cocaine addiction must go through cocaine withdrawal. Even though the person may not like the effects cocaine has on his or her life, he or she will still crave cocaine while going through withdrawal. Cocaine withdrawal may last for several months if the person has been using it heavily or regularly.

Some of the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:

  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Increased hunger
  • Vivid nightmares
  • A general ill feeling
  • Moving and acting more slowly
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

The suicidal thoughts and behavior associated with cocaine withdrawal are the most dangerous part of going through withdrawal, as some people do commit suicide. Another serious concern during withdrawal is that the person will relapse into cocaine use, or will become addicted to another dangerous substance to replace the need for cocaine. The person is in danger of a fatal cocaine overdose  or another drug during cocaine withdrawals.

Because it is difficult to overcome a cocaine addiction, and there are dangers involved in going through withdrawals, a person who is overcoming a cocaine addiction should receive medical supervision and support during cocaine withdrawal. A doctor can help diagnose and treat any other problems the person may have, such as depression, and monitor the person for signs of suicidal thoughts or behaviors or other drug use. Medical supervision is especially important when the person is addicted to more than one drug.

Cocaine withdrawal can be supervised though inpatient or outpatient treatment centers. Outpatient treatments are often effective for a person suffering from cocaine withdrawal, but if the person is addicted to more than one substance, he or she may need more careful monitoring by trained medical staff.

Joining a support group is a good way for a person to get through cocaine withdrawal and avoid relapsing after withdrawal. Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous use the 12 Step program for recovery, while other groups like SMART recovery offer help to people who don't like the 12 Step approach.


MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, "Cocaine Withdrawal" [online]

Related Article: Crack Cocaine Overview >>