Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms – Detox Timeline


Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can be incredibly difficult to overcome, and many who are interested in entering a detox from cocaine have questions about what those symptoms might be. Though every individual’s experience will be unique, there are many symptoms that can be common. 

Read on to learn more about what withdrawal symptoms are for cocaine, what to expect when entering detox, and what the risks of cocaine withdrawal are. 

A woman is shown sitting outside office building looking upset and distressed.

What Are Withdrawal Symptoms From Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity and duration, and they may manifest differently for each individual. Withdrawal from cocaine is primarily psychological, and while it may not be as physically intense as withdrawal from some other substances, it can still be challenging. Common cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • General fatigue, and feeling extremely tired or lacking energy
  • Easily becoming agitated or irritated with yourself and others
  • Experiencing an increase in appetite
  • Intense urges or cravings to use cocaine
  • Experiencing heightened anxiety, nervousness, or tension
  • Feelings of depression, or consistent sadness and hopelessness
  • Difficulty with normal sleeping patterns, including over or under sleeping
  • Challenges with focusing or concentrating on things
  • Having vivid and intense dreams that can be disturbing
  • Feeling restless and having difficulty with not fidgeting or staying still

It’s important to remember that any of the above symptoms of withdrawal can be a powerful trigger for relapse. Undergoing detox within a professional health setting can help to protect you from early relapse and provide you with the ongoing treatment you need to ensure a long-term recovery. 

Cocaine Detox Timeline – What to Expect?

The cocaine detox process can vary from person to person, and the timeline for withdrawal symptoms may differ based on factors such as the individual’s level of use, overall health, and any co-occurring medical or mental health conditions. Additionally, as discussed above, detoxification from cocaine is often more focused on managing psychological symptoms rather than physical ones.

First Few Days (0-72 hours)

Expect to feel strong cravings for cocaine, along with significant irritability during the first few days. This can mean that you may lash out at others, or even question your decision to enter recovery in the first place. 

You will likely also have feelings of extreme fatigue, feeling lethargic and yet struggling to sleep. An overall sense of restlessness may make getting comfortable difficult. 

First Week (3-7 days)

Emotional symptoms like anxiety and depression will become more noticeable as the acute cravings begin to settle. This will be enhanced by your difficulty in achieving a quality night’s sleep. 

Disturbed sleep patterns are likely to continue. This can include either significant insomnia or significant oversleeping – both can be equally disruptive to establishing ‘normalcy’ in your wellbeing. 

Many people report an increased appetite, despite some difficulties with ‘normal’ digestion. It is important not to overeat and to focus on foods that are high in nutrients. Good quality whole foods will support your recovery of body and mind. 

First Two Weeks (7-14 days)

Cravings will noticeably decrease, and with this you may start to notice an improvement in mood. While focusing and concentrating for a long period of time may still be difficult, you will better be able to carry out day-to-day self-care tasks. 

This better concentration is a reflection of improved cognitive function as your brain starts to repair itself. Though you may continue to experience emotional ups and downs, you are better able to articulate your needs and feelings. 

Beyond Two Weeks

Many of the physical withdrawal symptoms begin to stabilise after the first two weeks. However, this is the stage where ongoing treatment and support become crucial for long-term recovery. 

Most people undertaking withdrawal will experience Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), which describes the long-term impact and effects of recovering from a period of addiction. These symptoms largely describe re-establishing normal relationships and executive functioning in the brain. 

This can mean that for up to a year post-recovery many people who are healing from addiction may struggle to make decisions or maintain appropriate relationships. Long-term professional treatment, and ongoing support from family and friends can help people to regain normalcy, heal from PAWS, and live a health-promoting life. 

Is Cocaine Withdrawal Dangerous?

Cocaine withdrawal itself is generally not considered physically dangerous in the same way that withdrawal from alcohol or benzodiazepines can be dangerous. However, cocaine withdrawal can still be extremely emotionally and mentally challenging, and in some cases can lead to complications that may exacerbate existing health issues. 

Psychological distress is the primary concern of cocaine withdrawal, with anxiety and depression being very common symptoms. These psychological difficulties can lead to emotional instability which is difficult to regulate when you are withdrawing from any substance. 

The sleep disturbances, especially insomnia, that are associated with cocaine withdrawal make self-regulation even more difficult. While some medical teams may provide a medically assisted withdrawal to support appropriate sleep patterns, this is only recommended in specific cases. 

These emotional ups and downs, when combined with cravings, make the withdrawal period a very risky time for relapse. Being in a medical facility to undergo withdrawal best protects patients from engaging in relapse during the most difficult period, therefore protecting and enabling long-term recovery. 

Can You Die From Cocaine Withdrawal?

Cocaine withdrawal itself is not typically considered life-threatening, however some complications related to cocaine use or co-occurring disorders may pose risks during the withdrawal process. It is always recommended that individuals seeking to start a detox do so under professional supervision to maximise chances of success and to make the process as safe and possible. 

As outlined above, the primary risks associated with cocaine withdrawal are psychological and emotional, rather than physical. While these symptoms can be distressing, they are not directly life-threatening. 

Clinic Les Alpes Can Help With Cocaine Detoxification

If you or someone you know is seeking assistance with cocaine detoxification, Clinic Les Alpes is here to provide comprehensive support. Our international team of addiction and mental health experts is dedicated to offering evidence-based and compassionate care in a private and secure environment.

At Clinic Les Alpes, we understand the unique challenges of cocaine detox, and our tailored treatment plans address both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. Our luxurious and serene location along the coast of Lake Geneva provides a tranquil setting for individuals to embark on their journey to recovery.

To take the first step towards a healthier and drug-free life, contact Clinic Les Alpes today. Our experienced team is ready to guide you through the detoxification process and provide ongoing support and treatment.


Cocaine withdrawal, while not directly life-threatening, unfolds with intense psychological and emotional challenges. From cravings and irritability to sleep disturbances and emotional ups and downs, each symptom poses its own difficulties to beat.

Your wellbeing and your recovery from cocaine addiction is the first step towards the healthy and full life that you deserve. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to overcome, but with the right medical care and support from loved ones, any person can find their pathway through to recovery. 

Clinically Reviewed By

Brittany Hunt

Brittany Hunt is an internationally experienced clinician, specialised in treating addictions and co-occurring disorders. Having worked in the public and private sector, she utilises holistic and evidence-based approaches designed to empower the patients in their recovery journeys. A graduate of The University of Auckland, she has a Bachelor of Health Sciences majoring in Mental Health and Addictions, a diploma in Psychology and Counselling and a Post-Graduate degree in Health Sciences, majoring in Addictions. She is a fully registered practitioner under the Drug and Alcohol Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (DAPAANZ).

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