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Coping with Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Cocaine addiction signs are obvious due to their physical characteristics, as are the signs of withdrawal. Along with the depression that occurs when the drug is suddenly absent from the body, abusers most commonly experience agitation and restless behavior, extreme bouts of fatigue and malaise, a sudden increase in appetite, difficulty in being active and vivid and unpleasant dreams.

Additionally, during withdrawal the cravings for cocaine can be intense and last for months, and as such cocaine addiction relapse rates are among the highest of any abused or addictive drug: more than 60 percent of cocaine addicts relapse at least once during treatment for recovery. However, today there are more tools available to healthcare professionals than ever before, including prescription medications that can ease the effects of withdraw by slowly coaxing the neurons into a relaxed state that curbs the cravings and depression.

And of course, addiction treatment specialists are constantly learning new and innovative ways to help cocaine addicts permanently kick their habit, most especially during the critical 90 to 120-day period when cravings for the drug are at their worst. Management of cocaine addiction withdrawal and recovery often focuses on changing the addict’s way of thinking, helping them cope with their feelings, identifying the triggers associated with the brain’s craving for the drug and instilling a series of self-reinforcing thoughts and behaviors to ease urges for the drug.

In some cases, as with persons who have been using cocaine regularly for many years, a condition known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) can occur. The condition of PAWS refers to symptoms that continue to bother an individual after the initial detoxification has taken place, and these symptoms can last for weeks, months and, in rare cases, for years. Characteristics of PAWS include persistent confusion, mood swings (including an outward defensiveness), wavering energy levels, a low enthusiasm for life, poor concentration, sleep problems and anxiety, Therefore, the risk of a relapse into cocaine use is substantially higher if the addict does not receive comprehensive support from an addiction counselor or treatment center.