The situation regarding cocaine use in the UK is not good from a health and wellbeing perspective.
Giving up cocaine after prolonged use can be extremely difficult because the body is so used to functioning with the substance, which is why professional help is so successful in this quest. However, despite the escalating health risks its use is still seen as relatively risk free – which it's certainly not.
Cocaine is a stimulant, either in the form of crack/rocks or in its powder from. It’s absorbed quickly by the body, but it wears off quickly too. The short-term effects of cocaine do not last long. Snorting cocaine will produce a high that lasts about 45 to 90 minutes. Orally using the drug leads to a high that lasts about 90 minutes. The high from smoking crack or injecting it intravenously only lasts about 15 to 20 minutes. Whether you use cocaine every day or binge for days then stop suddenly, the timeline of cocaine withdrawal consists of three different stages
This stage occurs within 24 hours of stopping using cocaine and lasts for several days. For those that are using a lot the crash can go on for 7 days or so. During this stage cocaine cravings can be very intense, and many people end up using again because of this & so the cycle repeats.
The sort of issues individuals face during a crash are:
This part of the withdrawal timeline, often call distinction, can last for about 4 weeks but in some cases, It can drag on for up to 10 weeks and many of the symptoms experienced in the crash will carry over, albeit on a reduced intensity
Typical second stage symptoms include:
The third sage of withdrawal is also referred to as the “extinction” phase and can last up to 6 months after someone’s last use. During this time, managing cravings without professional help is extremely difficult. Many cocaine users will relapse into old behaviour patterns as they haven’t dealt with the underlying reason of their use or had professional help to create a comprehensive relapse prevention plan or to work out their triggers and create strategies to deal with their cravings.
Whilst many withdrawal symptoms will now have dissipated, third stage cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:
The following is a list of things that will help in the initial stages of managing a come down:
Attempts to develop a medication specifically for the use of minimizing withdrawals or reducing cravings for cocaine have been unsuccessful to this point.
Giving up cocaine after prolonged use can be extremely difficult because the body is so used to functioning with the substance. Dealing with the come down is one thing but learning to stop and stay stopped is another. Long term cocaine use will ultimately negatively affect the body and mind and in some cases, it is fatal and there is no chance of getting on top of it at that point. In some respects, cocaine use is akin to Russian roulette – you are never quite sure whether the next line will tip you over.
If you are concerned about your cocaine use, or someone else’s, and want to know what the options are for stopping and staying stopped then call us now on 0208 191 9174 or jump onto Live Chat/email us directly at https://helpmestop.org.uk/contact-us
Help Me Stop’s intensive non-residential outpatient Dayhab programme is an effective solution that also offers 12 months of free accessible aftercare and family support options. Treatment is delivered face to face either in the mornings or afternoons over 6 weeks.
For those adults who are working and can’t access services in the day or get to our centre in West London we offer a 6-week evening online outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programme, run by the same therapists that provide the face to face programme.
Chris Cordell is Help Me Stop's General Manager and is a senior associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine, Certified International Recovery Specialist, member of the International Society of Addiction Medicine and a member of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals.
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