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Cocaine Abuse and How to Come Down from Cocaine Safely

How to Come Down from Cocaine

Everything You Need to Know on Cocaine Abuse and How to Come Down from Cocaine Safely

report by the American Addiction Center shows that roughly 1.4 million Americans above the age of 11 suffered the effects of cocaine use disorder in 2022. However, only 309,000 received treatment to break free from the shackles of this highly addictive drug.

If you or your loved one is struggling from a cocaine addiction, you must learn about something called ‘cocaine comedown’ and what to do about it.

Snorting, injecting, or smoking a stimulant like cocaine is known to  impact brain chemistry and trigger the production of dopamine (the happiness hormone.) This leads to the feeling of euphoria, which is reflected in forms of elation, enhanced alertness, and increased sexual drive.

Now, cocaine’s intense high can be seductive, but its aftereffects, known as the comedown, can be brutal. This period of intense discomfort is a major reason why so many people struggle to quit. If you’ve also made the decision to detox from cocaine, you’re in the right place.

This guide is curated to help you understand how to manage the symptoms of cocaine comedown and route to the path of optimal recovery and sober life. It will also equip you with tips for cocaine relapse prevention which you can use to navigate this challenging period safely. We’ll explore what a comedown is, how it differs from withdrawal, and most importantly, how to manage its effects to support a healthy recovery process.

What is a Comedown?

Cocaine Abuse and How to Come Down from Cocaine Safely

A cocaine comedown, often referred to as a “crash” or “hangover,” is a set of unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms that occur after the effects of cocaine wear off. It’s the body’s response to the sudden drop in dopamine and other neurotransmitters that cocaine artificially elevates.

The comedown’s intensity can be surprising, especially for new users. This discomfort can sometimes lead people to take more cocaine to chase the high, creating a dangerous cycle.

Knowing what to expect from a comedown can help individuals resist the temptation to relapse and navigate this challenging phase of the drug’s effects.

Cocaine Comedown vs. Cocaine Withdrawal

Both a withdrawal and a comedown typically involve a period of intense discomfort after the drug’s effects wear off, but the reasons behind that discomfort and the severity of the experience are quite distinct.

A comedown is caused by the depletion of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which cocaine artificially elevates. Once the drug wears off, the brain struggles to function normally, leading to the crash.

The symptoms of a comedown are unpleasant, but they are generally not life-threatening. They’re mainly the body’s attempt to restore its natural balance after the intense stimulation caused by cocaine. It’s safe to say a comedown is merely a physiological and emotional cocaine hangover.

Cocaine withdrawal, on the other hand, is a more serious consequence that arises from long-term cocaine use. When someone uses cocaine regularly, their brain adapts to the presence of the drug.

Over time, the brain reduces its own production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. Cocaine artificially floods the brain with dopamine, creating a temporary high.

When cocaine use stops suddenly, the brain is left depleted of dopamine, leading to a more intense and prolonged period of withdrawal. Do note that withdrawal symptoms may vary from person to person.

The key difference between a comedown and withdrawal lies in the cause. A comedown is a natural response to the absence of the drug’s effects. Withdrawal, however, is a more complex physiological and psychological phenomenon caused by the brain’s dependence on cocaine. However, both are likely to require professional treatment in a well-established drug rehab center.

What Causes a Comedown?

During a high, cocaine floods the brain with dopamine, which creates the feelings of euphoria which gets the user high and filled with ecstasy.

However, as the drug wears off, dopamine and serotonin levels drop drastically, leaving your brain depleted and struggling to function normally. This depletion is what triggers the comedown symptoms.

Also, the body reacts to cocaine by trying to compensate for its effects. For example, cocaine constricts blood vessels, and as a result, the user’s heart rate and blood pressure spike.

Now, when the drug wears off, the body attempts to return to its normal state, which causes fluctuations in blood pressure and heart rate. All of these typically lead to physical discomfort.

Cocaine Comedown Symptoms

The severity of a comedown may vary depending on the amount and frequency of cocaine use, but it’s generally characterized by the following:

Physical Symptoms:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Increased appetite or loss of appetite
  • Stomach problems like nausea or diarrhea
  • Difficulty sleeping or restless sleep
  • Sweating or chills

Psychological Symptoms:

  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Depression and feelings of hopelessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Strong cravings for more cocaine

How Long Does a Cocaine Comedown Last?

cocaine abuse

Generally, a cocaine comedown can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Certain factors come into play to determine exactly how long your own experience would last. They include:

Amount Used

The more cocaine ingested, the longer it takes to get everything back in order. That’s why the amount of cocaine you use plays a big role. Larger doses take longer for your body to process, so expect a longer come down to clear things out.

Frequency of Use

If you’re a frequent partier (cocaine user), your body might be a little desensitized to the whole thing. It’s like needing more and more music to get the same party vibe going. This is called tolerance.

So, when you stop using altogether, the party suddenly stops, and your body has a harder time adjusting, leading to a potentially more intense comedown.

Purity of the Drug

With street cocaine, you never know what you’re going to get. Stronger cocaine, with higher concentrations of the drug, takes longer for your body to eliminate. In essence, you’ll experience a longer and potentially more intense comedown as your body works overtime to get rid of that extra punch.

Your Metabolism

Everyone’s body is different, and the way we process things varies. Your metabolism can be said to be your body’s internal furnace.

If you have a faster metabolism, it burns through things quicker, including cocaine. This could mean a shorter comedown compared to someone with a slower metabolism.

Cocaine Comedown Timeline

Here’s a breakdown of a comedown’s typical timeline:

  • Initial Phase (0-12 hours): As the cocaine wears off, the initial high is replaced by a sense of fatigue, mild anxiety, and irritability. During this phase, you might also experience headaches, muscle aches, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Peak Phase (12-24 hours): This is often the most uncomfortable stage for the individual, and without proper resilience, they might fall back on cocaine for relief. Symptoms like intense fatigue, depression, anxiety, and cravings for cocaine become more pronounced. Difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, and digestive issues are also common in this phase.
  • Resolution Phase (24-72 hours): The intensity of symptoms gradually begins to lessen. However, residual fatigue, low mood, and lingering cravings might persist for a few more days.

How Do I Deal With a Comedown?

The cocaine comedown can feel like the worst hangover ever, but there are ways to make it suck a little less. Here’s what you can do to get through this rough patch:

Drink Water Excessively

Cocaine dehydrates you, so drinking plenty of water is the best way to come down from cocaine. Aim for clear fluids like water, sports drinks, or even coconut water to replenish electrolytes. You should avoid sugary drinks and alcohol because they’ll just make you feel worse.

Eat Nutritious Food and Stay Hydrated (Even if You Don’t Feel Like It)

Your body is working hard to recover, so give it some good fuel. Fruits, veggies, and whole grains are your best options at this point. They’ll provide vitamins, minerals, and energy to help your body heal. You’ll also observe increased energy levels, which will positively reflect on your productivity and behavioral health.

Don’t worry about fancy meals, even simple things like toast or yogurt can be helpful.

Rest Your Body

Your body is exhausted from the cocaine roller coaster. Get some sleep, it might help you feel refreshed and focused! If you can’t fall asleep right away, don’t force it. Relax in bed with a book or listen to calming music. Resting your body is crucial for recovery.

Seek Support, Don’t Suffer in Silence

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Talk to someone you trust, or call a confidential helpline to help you navigate the emotional challenges of cocaine detox or comedown.

There are also addiction specialists and support groups who understand what you’re going through and can offer guidance and support and teach you how to come down off cocaine.

Harm Reduction

If you’re still struggling with cocaine use, harm reduction strategies can help minimize risks. Consider using smaller amounts, waiting longer between uses, or seeking out purer cocaine (though this comes with its own risks).

Remember, these are temporary measures; the ultimate goal is to stop using cocaine altogether.

Prioritize Your Self-Care

Do things you enjoy that help you relax and de-stress. Take a warm bath, listen to calming music, or spend time with a supportive friend (someone who doesn’t use cocaine). These activities can help distract you from cravings and improve your overall well-being.

What Helps a Comedown?

cocaine comedown

Here are a few tips that can help you manage your comedown and improve your physical and mental health:

Exercise Afterwards

While exercise is great overall, it might not be your best friend to beat drug comedowns.

If you do feel up to it, opt for gentle activities like taking a hot bath, walking, breathing exercises, or yoga. Avoid intense workouts that can put additional stress on your body.

Have Healthy Snacks Ready to Combat Cravings

Cravings are sneaky and will try to lure you back into using. Be prepared by having healthy snacks readily available.

Fruits, vegetables, yogurt, nuts, and whole-grain crackers provide a satisfying alternative to unhealthy options and can help curb cravings by stabilizing blood sugar levels.

Seek Drug Addiction Treatment in a Rehab Near You

To manage your cocaine high and comedown, it’s always advised to seek professional substance use disorder treatment. It will empower you to beat intense comedown symptoms and start your recovery journey.

Need Cocaine Addiction Treatment? Learn About Harmony Junction Recovery Cocaine Detox Program

You’ve navigated the discomfort of a cocaine crash and comedowns, and chances are, you’re yearning for a lasting change. Harmony Junction Recovery can be your partner on the path to a brighter future. We understand addiction’s grip and the way it disrupts lives and relationships. But here’s the good news: recovery is possible.

Our substance abuse recovery program goes beyond simply surviving a comedown. We’ll equip you with the tools you need for long-term recovery. This includes individual and group therapy sessions, educational workshops, and access to 12-step programs – a comprehensive approach to address the psychological and social aspects of addiction.

Our drug abuse and addiction recovery programs include medically assisted cocaine detox to safely manage withdrawal symptoms. Following detox, you’ll have the options of inpatient care and outpatient treatment.

Inpatient programs offer a structured, supportive environment ideal for focusing on recovery, while outpatient programs allow you to continue working or meeting other obligations.

Don’t let addiction control your life any longer. If you’re done feeling exhausted and lost and looking for help, take the first step towards a healthier, happier you. Contact Harmony Junction Recovery today for a free consultation. Our caring staff is here to listen and guide you on your journey to a brighter future.