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Can Someone Die from Cocaine Withdrawal?

Treatment centers typically begin their services with medical detox to treat the challenging symptoms of drug withdrawal. When the brain and body are engaged and dependent on a substance to function, there are severe and disabling symptoms during detox.

Those dealing with cocaine withdrawal and preparing to deal with uncomfortable physical symptoms may wonder if they can die from cocaine withdrawal. It is essential to understand the importance of medical management for cocaine withdrawal symptoms because psychological withdrawal symptoms can involve suicidal ideation or self-harm, which could turn deadly. 

Signs of Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine withdrawal can begin as soon as the drug starts to leave the body. Medical management during cocaine detox monitors physical and psychological symptoms, ranging from mild to intense physical symptoms, keeping the patient as comfortable as possible.

A sense of disorientation and intense cravings may be initial symptoms of cocaine withdrawal. It is expected for someone to be fearful and anxious when entering detox. Fortunately, inpatient care offers emotional and medical support with hands-on monitoring.

Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can include any of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Disorientation, slowing of activity, fogginess
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Restlessness and edginess
  • Intense cravings for cocaine
  • Vivid or frightening dreams
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Fatigue, lack of motivation, and excessive sleepiness
  • Poor concentration, suicidal ideation, and thoughts of self-harm 

Can Someone Die from Cocaine Withdrawal?

The draw towards the misuse, abuse, and addiction through cocaine stems from the euphoric effect it produces. Once a decrease in dosage occurs, the euphoric state begins to dissipate, and cravings begin to pull the user to consume more of the drug.

Anxiety can begin, agitation, restlessness, but then finally, depression and suicidal ideation begin. While the withdrawal symptoms are manageable, the desire to use is magnified through depression and thoughts of self-harm and suicide. These thoughts could lead someone to die through cocaine withdrawal. 

Cocaine Abuse and Organ Damage

The physical effects of long-term cocaine abuse are most frequent in the cardiovascular system. Most often, heart rhythms are disrupted, and heart attacks occur. An increase in risk occurs for heart problems when cocaine and alcohol are used together.

When users mix cocaine and heroin, the risk of overdose and severe respiratory depression can occur. Furthermore, headaches, seizures, strokes, and coma are physical complications of cocaine abuse. The gastrointestinal system is directly affected by pain and nausea.

Cocaine use decreases blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract, causing ulcerations and tears to occur. Long-term cocaine use leads to a loss of appetite and eventual malnourishment. Significant weight loss is a common denominator with cocaine abuse. Overdose is another long-term and dangerous effect of cocaine addiction. 

Cocaine Abuse and Psychosis

Long-term cocaine abuse negatively affects the brain’s reward pathways, while circuits in the brain involving stress become increasingly sensitive. Increased stress is not conducive to maintaining sobriety and could lead to relapse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that other adverse effects of cocaine abuse on the brain include poor decision-making, an inability to cope with the negative consequences of using the drug and a lack of self-insight.

Continual cocaine use causes the brain to believe there is no need for nourishment or sleep. Paranoia and suspiciousness are prime initial symptoms of psychosis. According to Cocaine and Psychiatric Symptoms, paranoia is present in 68 % to 84 % of cocaine-using patients.

Psychosis, hallucinations, and delusions are frequently found in 29% to 53% of cocaine users. For those with a cocaine use disorder and another psychiatric condition, research has found more frequent hospitalizations for a combination of cocaine-induced paranoia and depression. 

Cocaine Abuse and Behavioral Effects

Cocaine abuse can significantly affect and change behaviors, which can lead to negative consequences. Already, there is a cognitive decline in long-term use, but a slow transition of behavior changes can cause an increase in stress, difficulties, and lifestyle disruptions. Behavior changes can lead to cocaine-related death through the following extreme behavior changes.

Behavioral effects from long-term cocaine abuse include:

  • Absenteeism at work or school, poor performance, and conflict in professional relationships
  • Poor hygiene combined with a sloppy appearance
  • Risky behaviors, such as reckless driving and unsafe sex
  • Financial problems
  • Intense cravings for cocaine
  • An inability to cut down on the dosage of cocaine being used
  • Loss of interest in previously essential social activities and hobbies

The Value of Cocaine Abuse and Withdrawal Treatment 

Medical monitoring in a professional detox program helps to manage the intense yearnings for dopamine release or the expectation of a euphoric event. Variations in timelines can occur due to personal addiction factors. Detoxification can vary from 3 to 5 days to a few weeks for the acute withdrawal to subside.

It is essential to realize that for some with a long-term habit, complete detox may take over a month. During detox, there is the possibility of relapse, which could trigger an overdose, and you could die from cocaine withdrawal. 

The Benefits of Therapy

After detox is complete, it is time to enter the next phase of addiction treatment. Evidence-based therapy is essential for recovery. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps learn how to change negative behaviors and choose healthy and positive coping mechanisms. Replacing negative behaviors, thoughts, and actions with healthy and positive behaviors can change the world.

Holistic treatment options are invaluable learning to carry forward and utilize in the future for happiness, clarity, and well-being. For those who need to put more work into a treatment program, inpatient and outpatient rehabs are available in certain facilities. It takes time to break habits and understand how to break obstacles to sobriety.

Many people have a fear of dying from cocaine withdrawal stemming from the intense discomfort of the symptoms to the mind-altering thoughts present while the brain is trying to regain a normal state. 

Defeat the Recovery Challenge With Treatment Options in Georgia

Understandably, fear and anxiety can surround the detoxification process for a substance use disorder. The Retreat of Atlanta in Georgia can relieve stress and fear through the help of its compassionate and professionally trained staff. It is possible to feel confident in treatment decisions and understand all aspects of enrolling in a program today.

Contact the center today to engage with an admissions specialist. 

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