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Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms & Timeline

Going through cocaine withdrawal is difficult. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can range from feeling like a moderate flue to being much more extreme and even causing hallucinations. 

The severity of withdrawal symptoms from cocaine depends on several factors, including: 

  • duration and severity of abuse
  • how much was taken each time
  • your mental state before quitting
  • stress factors in your life
  • other physical or mental health factors

Timelines for withdrawal can vary widely, but here’s what you can expect during the process.

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What Are The Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms?

The physical withdrawal symptoms of cocaine include:

Changes in appetite and weight

This happens because you’re not taking in the nutrients your body needs, and that can lead to weight loss. You might get intense cravings for food, especially sugar and carbs such as bread or pasta.

Increased blood pressure and heart rate

Cocaine reduces blood flow while increasing blood pressure and heart rate. When you stop using it there’s a rebound effect where blood flow returns to normal while the other two factors increase suddenly. This leads to some potentially dangerous cardiovascular issues like hypertension or a stroke.

Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep disorder

This happens because cocaine disrupts normal REM cycles during sleep. This will lead to insomnia since it interferes with your ability to get restorative sleep. Waking up throughout the night is common.

Muscle aches, pain, and tension

Cocaine constricts blood vessels leading to muscle cramps all over the body, especially in the back and legs. They can be very painful and exhausting even though you’re not exerting yourself physically.

Restless leg syndrome (RLS)

This happens because of cocaine withdrawal’s effect on dopamine levels. With lower dopamine levels comes an inability to stay still or control your muscles as well as before — which leads to constant fidgeting nearly all day long until your system returns to normal. 

It can be uncomfortable at times but RLS isn’t dangerous like other symptoms are.

Extreme fatigue

Withdrawal from cocaine usually leads to a lack of energy and an inability to focus. You might feel like you have the flu all over again, even though you’re just going through withdrawal.

Sinus And Naval Cavity Issues

Sinus problems are a common side effect of cocaine use which can become exacerbated during withdrawal. It’s very common to have a very stuffed nose making it difficult to breathe. Snorting cocaine for an extended period of time puts extra stress on the nose which can become inflamed during withdrawal.

Nausea and vomiting

You may also get queasy or even vomit from the pain in your muscles, cramps, and stomach upset. Nausea typically gets better after a few days, but vomiting can go on for up to two weeks depending on how long you abused the drug. If not treated properly it can lead to dehydration or other health problems.

Extreme anxiety

This is one of the most dangerous symptoms because it’s an overwhelming sense of fear that doesn’t go away no matter what you do. It can feel like you’re on the brink of death, even when nothing is wrong with you. Other symptoms include:

  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • panic attacks 


This happens because your brain is trying to make up for a lost time while processing information properly. You might hear things that aren’t there or think people are out to get you – these feelings typically fade as time goes on though some people may need counseling or anti-anxiety medication during this process.


These also happen because the brain wants to make up for lost connections after it’s been blocked by cocaine abuse for so long. You might hear things that aren’t there or see things that aren’t real, but they typically fade as the brain regains its natural balance.

Some people have experienced the phenominon of formication which is commonly referred to in slang as “coke bugs” which is an auditory and visual hallucination that bugs are crawling on your skin.

Suicidal thoughts

This is more of a mental health issue than a direct symptom of withdrawal, but it’s very dangerous and can lead to an accidental overdose if you don’t seek medical help right away. Suicidal thoughts are common in people who quit cocaine because their reality doesn’t match their expectations for what life should be like without the drug.

What Is The Withdrawal Timeline For Cocaine?

The first stage of cocaine withdrawal timeline 7 days

This period starts following the end of using cocaine and lasts for around 7 days. In this stage, cocaine withdrawal symptoms can be very intense and almost unbearable. During this stage of drug detox, you may feel the urge to use more drugs than usual. Medical detox is important at this stage to ensure the individual is monitored 24/7.

The second stage of cocaine withdrawal timeline: 1-10months

The length of time it takes for someone to withdraw from cocaine depends on how long they’ve been using it. It might be anywhere from a few days to up to 10 months.

Third stage of cocaine withdrawal timeline: 6 months-1 year

The last stage of cocaine addiction, which may continue for up to 6 months after quitting the drug, is known as third-stage abstinence. While most symptoms will have decreased during this period, third-stage cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Panic attacks
  • Unable experience pleasure

What Are The Best Remedies for Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms?

Many people who go through cocaine withdrawal experience depression and low self-esteem. The first step is to see yourself as a person going through tough times. You made poor decisions but are not a horrible person. 

There are also other remedies for avoiding or stopping cocaine cravings including exercise. This helps minimize the effects of cocaine withdrawal by boosting serotonin levels in your brain. When serotonin levels increase, cravings for drugs decrease as well as general feelings of sadness and stress. Plus, if you start exercising regularly during your recovery it will help reduce stress and fatigue even more – which helps keep anxiety at bay.

Cognitive therapy involves learning to challenge your perceptions about yourself and your addiction. By learning to combat the irrational thoughts that cause stress, you gain more control over cravings for cocaine.

Talking about your recovery with family members can help reduce stress reactions in the brain which make it harder to resist drugs like cocaine. Plus, having strong emotional connections during recovery helps lower anxiety levels because you know there’s somewhere to turn when things get tough — even if it’s just someone to talk to or spend time with.

It also makes quitting cocaine easier because you have people who share your experiences and understand what you’re going through.

Avoiding other drugs is crucial because using them will only hinder your recovery from cocaine. If you get mixed up in another addiction, it will complicate matters by adding another substance for your body to process. Plus, it’ll make you more likely to turn back toward the drug that caused all this trouble in the first place.

Find Help For Cocaine Addictions

If you need help with cocaine addiction, please seek professional help as soon as possible. We can help you through the process and get you the help you need to cope with cocaine withdrawal symptoms. Contact us today for an immediate solution.

Questions And Answers About Cocaine Withdrawal

How Strong are Cravings During Withdrawal?

Cravings for cocaine develop as soon as 90 minutes after someone uses the drug and can become even stronger throughout the course of withdrawal symptoms. During withdrawal, it is common to have extremely strong urges and cravings to find a way to use cocaine. This is one of the reasons it can be beneficial to go through withdrawal in a residential detox center

Does Depression Increase During Cocaine Withdrawal?

Cravings for cocaine develop as soon as 90 minutes after someone uses the drug and can become even stronger throughout the course of withdrawal symptoms. During withdrawal, it is common to have extremely strong urges and cravings to find a way to use cocaine. This is one of the reasons it can be beneficial to go through withdrawal in a residential detox center

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Kuhar, M. J., & Pilotte, N. S. (1996). Neurochemical changes in cocaine withdrawal. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 17(7), 260–264.

Kelley, B. J., Yeager, K. R., Pepper, T. H., & Beversdorf, D. Q. (2005). Cognitive impairment in acute cocaine withdrawal. Cognitive and behavioral neurology : official journal of the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology, 18(2), 108–112.

Medical Advice Disclaimer

Magnified Health Systems aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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