How to Detox From Cocaine

a black woman counselor sitting in office with Black man patient sitting on a couch.

The most recent statistics available show that at least 1.3 million people are currently struggling with a cocaine disorder. While that statistic is staggering, what’s most important to understand is that regardless of the severity of your addiction, help is available.

From intensive outpatient programs to groups that work to create a safe space for those struggling with substance abuse, various resources exist to help you access the care and treatment you need. 

However, knowing how to detox from cocaine is the first step toward recovery. Cocaine detox can be an intense experience, but it’s necessary to break the addiction. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss what happens during detox, as well as some tips for making the process easier.

The Negative Effects of Cocaine

Before you start the cocaine detox process, it’s helpful to understand the negative effects of cocaine use. While it doesn’t cure addiction, sometimes understanding how a substance affects your body helps realize just how damaging the effects can be to your health.

The negative effects of cocaine can be divided into two categories: physical and mental

Physical effects are both short-term and long-term. Short-term effects of cocaine include increased heart rate, paranoia, and anxiety. Long-term effects of cocaine can include kidney damage, heart disease, and stroke.

Mental effects can include paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations. Cocaine can also lead to seizures and death. In some cases, cocaine addiction can also lead to depression and anxiety disorders. 

If you’re struggling with cocaine addiction, it’s important to understand the negative effects of the drug to decide to seek help. 

Recovery from cocaine addiction is possible, but it takes time and effort. With the help of a treatment program, you can overcome your addiction and get your life back on track. 

We’ll help you make sense of your treatment options below. But first, let’s explore what happens during a cocaine detox and how to navigate the symptoms.

Cocaine Detox Symptoms

Cocaine detox symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they can vary depending on how much cocaine you’ve used and how long you’ve been using it. Some common cocaine detox symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors
  • Nightmares
  • Difficulty sleeping

You may also experience physical cocaine withdrawal symptoms like muscle aches, headaches, and nausea. These symptoms can make it hard to stick to a cocaine detox plan, but it is important to persevere. 

Those who can make it through the cocaine detox process often find that they have more energy, better focus, and a greater sense of well-being.

Mild Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

While the above-mentioned withdrawal symptoms are quite general, most cocaine detox symptoms are divided into two categories: mild and moderate-to-severe. Mild cocaine withdrawal symptoms include all of the symptoms mentioned above plus:

  • Slowed motor skills
  • Increased appetite
  • Sense of joylessness
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Cravings

It’s important to understand these symptoms as it’s part of understanding that the emotions and physical sensations you’re feeling are normal. While they might be uncomfortable, it’s part of the recovery process.

Moderate-to-Severe Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

What are moderate-to-severe cocaine detox symptoms? These are symptoms felt by long-term cocaine users or users who use larger quantities of cocaine regularly. Some people with co-occurring mental disorders may also experience more intense detox symptoms.

These symptoms include all of the basic symptoms mentioned above plus:

  • Vivid dreams
  • Deep feelings of depression
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Extreme agitation

It’s important to note that these symptoms can last for a period of up to about ten weeks in severe cases. Again, while this is uncomfortable and difficult to experience, it is part of the cocaine rehabilitation process.

It’s also why we recommend a medical detox as part of an intensive outpatient program as this is where you will receive the most medical attention, care, and support throughout the process.

How to Detox From Cocaine

If you’re ready to recover then you might be wondering how to detox from cocaine. Typically, you have two options: a natural cocaine detox or a medically-assisted cocaine detox. So, which is better?

A natural cocaine detox usually involves tapering off your use of the drug gradually. This can be done with the help of a professional or on your own. 

The main advantage of this approach is that it’s typically cheaper than a medically-assisted detox. However, the downside is that it can be difficult to stick to and may take longer than a medically-assisted detox. In severe cases, it can also be potentially dangerous.

A medically-assisted cocaine detox usually takes place in a rehabilitation facility. During this type of detox, you’ll receive professional medical care and support 24/7. This can help to make the process easier and more comfortable. 

You also benefit from emotional support and highly-trained addiction professionals.

So, which is better? The answer depends on your situation and preferences. Often, for those struggling with cocaine addiction, a medically-assisted cocaine detox can provide the support you need to get through withdrawal and start on the road to recovery. 

This is because, as mentioned, medically-assisted detoxes are overseen by trained professionals who can help you manage your symptoms and cravings. They can also provide you with medication and other treatments that can make the detox process more comfortable. 

In addition, medically-assisted detoxes provide a safe and monitored environment in which to detox, which can help to reduce the risk of relapse. If you’re struggling to quit cocaine, a medically-assisted detox may be the best option for you.

Cocaine Detox Timeline

Regardless of which treatment option you choose, what can you expect during a cocaine detox? There are typically three phases of any cocaine addiction recovery that you can expect to experience.


The crash phase of a cocaine detox is the period immediately after quitting cocaine when withdrawal symptoms are at their most intense. 

During this time, people may experience extreme fatigue, depression, and anxiety. In some cases, they may also have trouble sleeping and eating. 

The crash phase typically lasts for up to a few days, after which the initial symptoms gradually begin to improve. However, it is important to note that the crash phase is just one part of the detox process.


After the crash phase comes the cravings phase of cocaine detox, which can be tough to get through. During this phase, your body is going through withdrawal from the drug and you may start to experience strong cravings for cocaine. 

These cravings can last for several weeks with some people reporting intense cravings and detox symptoms up to ten weeks after starting the recovery process. However, it is important to remember that they will eventually go away and you will be able to get through this phase.


After the initial detox symptoms subside, you’ll likely still notice mild cocaine cravings. This is normal. In the period after your crash and cravings, you will hopefully have received medical treatment and psychological care from a team of addiction professionals.

If you’ve learned to navigate the world of substance recovery and are armed with tools that can help you understand how to resist cravings then by about week 30 of the detox process you should notice a big difference in your healing process.

While cravings can last for a lifetime, most people notice that after about 30 weeks or so they feel like they are past the worst of the detox process and can successfully move on with their lives and navigate life in the real world again without extreme temptation.

Factors That Influence Cocaine Detox

Not everybody’s recovery process looks the same. In fact, it can vary greatly from one person to the next. That’s because there are a few factors that influence how your mind and body will process a cocaine detox.

Severity of Addiction

If you are a heavy user, it will take longer to detox than if you are a casual user. 

The reason for this is that heavy users have built up a tolerance to the drug, so their bodies are used to having it in their system. It will take longer for their bodies to adjust to not having the drug and to rid themselves of the toxins. 

Heavy users may also experience more severe withdrawal symptoms, which can make the detox process more difficult. On the other hand, casual users may find that they detox more quickly and with fewer withdrawal symptoms.

Length of Cocaine Use

If you’ve been using cocaine for a long time, you might be wondering how long the detox process will take. 

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the length of time you’ve been using cocaine can have a big impact on how long it takes to detox. In general, though, the longer you’ve been using cocaine, the longer it will take to detox. 

Underlying Conditions

When it comes to cocaine detox, underlying medical conditions can play a big role in how long the process takes. For example, someone with a heart condition may find that their detox takes longer than usual, as the heart needs extra time to recover from the stimulant effects of cocaine. 

Similarly, someone with a history of mental illness may find that they experience more intense cocaine cravings during detox, which can make the process last longer. Ultimately, everyone’s experience with cocaine detox is different.

What Happens After a Cocaine Detox?

After a cocaine detox, your brain chemistry has to readjust. During this time, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest. 

Again, this is often why we recommend medically assisted detox programs as they help ensure you’re getting what you need to help your mind and body heal properly. 

After you detox from cocaine, you can then start working on your recovery. This may include therapy, support groups, and other treatments. With the right help, anyone can overcome addiction and build a healthy, drug-free life. Here’s what that could look like for you.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Inpatient rehabilitation treatment for cocaine is a type of drug treatment that requires you to live at the facility for the duration of the treatment. These types of programs typically last for about 30 days and happen after a full cocaine detox.

During this time, you will receive around-the-clock care and supervision. The goal of inpatient rehabilitation is to help you both detox from cocaine and develop healthy coping mechanisms to avoid relapse.

You will also participate in group and individual therapy sessions. These sessions provide an opportunity to address the underlying issues that led to addiction, and to develop skills for dealing with stress and triggers. 

Ultimately, this treatment option is best for those who feel like they need a reset. You can benefit from individualized care and the attention of a counselor while focusing solely on your recovery.

Intensive Outpatient Rehabilitation

Intensive outpatient treatment for cocaine is a type of treatment that allows patients to remain at home while still receiving intensive treatment for their addiction. 

This type of treatment is often used for patients who are not ready to commit to inpatient treatment, or for those who have already completed inpatient treatment but still need intensive care. 

IOPs, whether intensive or regular outpatient treatment programs, typically meet several times per week for several hours at a time, and they may include individual and group therapy, as well as educational classes and support groups.

Relapse Prevention Therapy

Finally, you’ll often find that it’s beneficial to attend relapse prevention therapy as part of your ongoing recovery process. Relapse prevention therapy is a form of psychotherapy that is designed to help people who are struggling with addiction to stay sober. 

Different modalities can help here, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps people to change the way they think about addiction and sobriety. 

However, it can involve other methods such as contingency management, which uses rewards to motivate people to stay sober. Ultimately, therapy is an important part of treatment for cocaine addiction, and it can help you achieve and maintain sobriety long-term.

Get Help at the New Life Recovery Center

If you or a loved one are struggling with how to detox from cocaine or how to beat cocaine addiction, the New Life Recovery Center can help. We offer a variety of detox and recovery services, all designed to help you heal mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Click here to get in touch with us and learn more about how we can help you navigate the path to recovery.