How To Quit Cocaine

Recovering from cocaine addiction is possible with the combination of medications and behavioral therapies.

Cocaine Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, repeated cocaine use can result in addiction. In 2014, there were an estimated 1.5 million people who were aged 12 or older and used cocaine. Adults aged 18 to 25 years have a higher rate of current cocaine use than any other age group, with 1.4 percent of young adults reporting past-month cocaine use. In 2014, 931,000 Americans were dependent or abused cocaine in the last 12 months.

Cocaine or “crack” is one of the most addictive substances used in today’s society. It belongs to a family of drugs known as stimulants. Cocaine’s effects appear almost immediately after ingestion and disappear within a few minutes to an hour. Cocaine has numerous effects on neurotransmitters in the brain. It releases dopamine which activates the reward area of the brain, which is associated with pleasure and a sense of well-being. However, excessive dopamine levels in the brain are associated with anger, aggressiveness, hallucinations, delusions, and other psychotic symptoms.

Symptoms of Cocaine

Crack produces effects almost immediately, within seconds. The effects consist of intense euphoria, pleasure, and ecstasy. When a person uses cocaine excessively they can become dependent on it. Symptoms of cocaine addiction and dependence are developing a tolerance to the euphoric effects of the drug and needing more to produce desired effects, stopping cocaine use resulting in withdrawal symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, agitation or depression, using cocaine in large amounts, inability to successfully reduce the amount of cocaine a person is using, spending a lot of time trying to get cocaine, interference with work, school, or family life, and using cocaine despite the development of mental symptoms and/or medical consequences.

Health Risks of Cocaine Use

According to the Journal of the National Medical Association, cocaine use is associated with acute rupture of the aorta, cardiac arrhythmia, and sudden death. It has multiple negative effects on the gastrointestinal system, increases a person’s blood pressure, can produce seizures, loss of smell, perforation of the nasal septum, lung damage, abscesses, hepatitis, AIDS, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, suicidal ideation, paranoid psychosis, and severe depression.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also mentioned that repeated cocaine use can result in adverse health consequences. For example, in 2011, cocaine was involved in 505,224 of the nearly 1.3 million visits to the emergency room for drug misuse or abuse.

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How To Quit Cocaine On Your Own

Quitting cocaine on your own is possible for someone who is highly motivated. With that being said, a few tips for quitting cocaine on your own are to avoid your triggers, handle urges, make a plan, and seek out support.

Avoid Triggers

Triggers are people, places, activities, times of day, or other things that urge you to engage in cocaine use. You want to avoid these things in order to not feel that intense urge to use cocaine. While it can be hard to completely avoid all situations that trigger you, you can surround yourself with friends who don’t use cocaine, learn how to cope with stress and relax without drugs, and distract yourself with activities like exercise, listening to music, woodworking, or other hobbies.

Handle Urges

Sometimes you cannot avoid a trigger and it causes an intense urge to consume you. Putting your reasons for not wanting to use cocaine can help keep you motivated to stay drug-free. You can also talk to someone. If you don’t have any friends or family you feel comfortable talking to, you can call the SAMHSA National Helpline. This is a confidential, free helpline that puts you in touch with a counselor. Other things you can do is involve yourself in a healthy activity such as walking, going to the gym, or other hobbies that do not involve cocaine.

Make a Plan

Making a plan and wiring it down can help you commit and stay motivated to quit cocaine. Setting goals for your recovery journey can help make the process feel less stressful. It’s important to be realistic in your goals and make them specific and measurable. Also, don’t forget to reward yourself for your success with enjoyable, drug-free activities, such as going to see a movie. Remember, failure is often part of the recovery journey. Don’t give up!

Seeking Support

Quitting cocaine is not easy. Friends, family, doctors, counselors, or therapists can be great forms of support to help keep you on track to your road to recovery. Additionally, finding local support groups can be another great form of support for a person suffering from cocaine addiction. Cocaine Anonymous is a support group that uses a 12 step approach. This enables an individual to feel supported by being surrounded by people who are going through a similar difficult circumstance.

How Hard Is It To Quit Cocaine

Quitting cocaine on your own can be extremely difficult. The pain from withdrawal, lack of family and friend support, and cravings can make it feel impossible to quit. However, overcoming cocaine addiction is possible. With the proper medications, support, and behavioral therapy quitting cocaine is attainable. As difficult as it may seem at the time, finding the right support from doctors, friends, family, and therapists can make the road to recovery achievable.

If you or someone you love is addicted to cocaine, finding a high-quality rehab clinic can help. Rehab clinics will provide a person with all the support they need to overcome their addiction. Through trained medical and mental health professionals your loved one will be safe and comfortable as they detox from cocaine and begin their recovery journey.


Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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