How to Detox From Cocaine
The effects of cocaine are pleasurable, but they rarely last long. Cocaine ranks among the most addictive drugs in the world. The chance of psychological dependence is extremely high, and users can become addicted in as little as two weeks. The first step to overcoming addiction is detox--clearing the drug out of your system in a safe and responsible manner. Speak to a physician who can monitor your progress before attempting any form of cocaine detoxification. Set up a controlled environment. Ideally, this should be in a rehab clinic or similar medical center. If your doctor believes you can detox at home, remove all traces of the drug and associated paraphernalia from the residence. Have a responsible person in the house with you at all times. This person can provide support, help you stay calm and keep you from doing anything foolish while you detox. A physician or trained medical professional should check on your progress regularly during the detox period. Prepare for the first stage of withdrawal symptoms. Cocaine withdrawal starts within 12 to 24 hours after you stop taking the drug and can last up to a week. Symptoms include severe depression, sleepiness, fatigue or exhaustion, wild mood swings and a very powerful need for the drug. Studies have show that lab animals will forgo food, water and sleep in order to get the drug--don't underestimate the intensity of the cravings during this period. If you are detoxing at home, clear all traces of cocaine and drug-related paraphernalia out of your house, restrict your movement, and be sure any friends or family members are ready for any possible behavior. A doctor or professional counselor can further instruct you on what to do during the first stage. If are detoxing in a clinic, follow their instructions to the letter and do not deviate from them. Prepare for the second period of withdrawal. It starts about seven days after you stop using cocaine and can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months. Depression and lethargy continue, as do the cravings for cocaine. The cravings tend to be somewhat milder, but they may be offset by the experience of anhedonia, which is an inability to experience pleasure in any form. These symptoms will eventually recede if you stay off the drug but can be quite taxing as you go through detox. Stay clear of the drug--keeping any traces of it out of your home--and make sure friends and family members can handle your behavior in a responsible manner. Regular visits to the doctor are extremely important during this period so he can monitor your health and respond to any changes in your condition. Ask your doctor about prescription medication that can help with the detoxification process. Cocaine is a stimulant and, in some cases, your doctor may not wish to add other medications into your system. In other cases, he may prescribe medication such as amantadine or bromocriptine. Both increase the levels of dopamine in the brain, which drop severely during cocaine withdrawal and likely contribute to the depression and psychological craving that accompanies it. Make a plan for when the detox period ends. Even when your body no longer experiences symptoms, the cravings for cocaine remain. In some cases, they never truly diminish. A qualified rehab program or an organization such as Narcotics Anonymous can provide structure and support, teaching you ways to handle the cravings and stay free of the drug.