Quitting Cocaine – What you Need to Know
Cocaine is a highly-addictive drug; many casual users find themselves quickly sucked into a vortex of cocaine use, withdrawal, and repeated binges. Cocaine produces a high that lasts a relatively short period of time when compared to other drugs – from just five to 30 minutes, and so cocaine users tend to snort, smoke, or inject cocaine with increasing frequency as they chase the elusive feeling of euphoria they felt at the beginning of their use. Once you’re spinning in that downward spiral, it’s almost impossible to stop yourself before you hit the ground. The only option is to quit cocaine for good, but it’s much easier said than done. If you want to quit cocaine, here’s some information that can help you understand what you’re up against and help you come up with a plan to quit cocaine once and for all.
Effects of Cocaine on the Brain and Body
Cocaine is a stimulant that increases the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in your brain. Usually, your brain will essentially recycle these chemicals, but cocaine stops that from happening, resulting in a buildup of neurotransmitters that causes the euphoric feelings that cocaine users experience. Cocaine causes feelings of alertness, increased energy, pleasure, confidence, increased endurance, and increased focus. Cocaine can also increase your heart rate, raise your body temperature, and elevate your blood pressure. It causes difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, itching, and dilated pupils. It can lead to a runny nose or nasal problems if snorted, and excessive use can cause paranoia and tremors.
Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal
When you try to quit cocaine, you can experience withdrawal symptoms – the severity of which will depend on your history of cocaine use. One of the strongest symptoms of withdrawal is cravings for cocaine (although they differ in severity and are not identical, symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are also felt by someone who is quitting meth).
People who try to quit cocaine can experience anxiety, depression, paranoia, hallucinations, fatigue, restlessness, appetite problems, and delusions.
How to Quit Cocaine
In order for you to quit cocaine safely, the best way to do it is in a detox center with the supervision of medical professionals. In detox, doctors and nurses can monitor your health. They may prescribe medication to ease your withdrawal symptoms. There are no drugs, however, that are FDA-approved to help people quit cocaine or ease cravings for cocaine.
Complete detox from cocaine can take several days, and the recommended course of action after detox is a stay in a rehab center. In-patient rehab can help you be successful in your pursuit to quit cocaine by providing you with a safe, controlled atmosphere in which to cope with cravings and learn to live without the drug.
Other Ways to Quit Cocaine
It is possible to quit cocaine without the help of a detox or rehab, but the do-it-yourself method isn’t recommended, because it can be dangerous, and it is less likely to lead to long-term sobriety. You should always consult a doctor before you try to quit cocaine.
No matter how you quit cocaine, it’s a good idea to receive some type of counseling. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you learn ways of modifying your thoughts and actions so that it’s possible for you to stay clean. Support groups, like Cocaine Anonymous and others, can also be a big help; a support system is essential to a sustained recovery.