Cocaine is a central nervous stimulant that some people use recreationally. If a person uses cocaine regularly and then stops taking it, they may develop withdrawal symptoms.

Cocaine is a potentially habit-forming stimulant drug. It comes from the leaves of the coca plant.

Cocaine can increase levels of dopamine in the brain. This can cause a person to experience:

  • extreme happiness and energy
  • mental alertness
  • irritability
  • paranoia

If a person uses cocaine often, such as daily or in increasingly larger amounts, they may develop dependence or addiction.

This article discusses cocaine withdrawal and outlines its symptoms. It also discusses how long it lasts and what treatment options are available.

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“Withdrawal” is the term for the physical and mental symptoms a person with a drug dependence or addiction experiences when they suddenly stop or reduce substance use.

Cocaine has the potential for dependence and addiction. If a person develops cocaine dependence or addiction and suddenly stops using cocaine, they may experience withdrawal symptoms.

Learn more about cocaine.

People may experience a variety of symptoms during cocaine withdrawal.


The symptoms of cocaine withdrawal are often mild and not life threatening.

Common cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • depression
  • excessive sleep
  • increased hunger
  • dysphoria, which is a general sense of unease
  • slowed mental and physical activities

A person experiencing cocaine withdrawal may have an increased heart rate and high blood pressure. A doctor can prescribe medications to help manage these symptoms.


If a pregnant person uses certain drugs, including cocaine, the drug may pass through the bloodstream to the fetus. Regular use during pregnancy may lead to the fetus developing a physical dependence on the substance. This means they need the substance for their body to function.

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is the term for the withdrawal symptoms a newborn experiences after birth when they are no longer receiving the substance in utero. NAS can develop from recreational or prescription drugs.

Initial NAS symptoms include:

Irritability can lead to sleep disturbances. The baby may have difficulty maintaining a calm state.

A newborn may also develop changes in their vital signs, which can cause them to experience:

Learn more about neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms generally begin within 24 hours of the last use. Symptoms may last for 3–5 days.

Once acute withdrawal has ended, a person may experience protracted withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can last for 1–2 months.

Protracted withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • lethargy
  • anxiety
  • mood changes
  • erratic or disturbed sleep patterns
  • strong cravings for cocaine

If a newborn has developed NAS, their symptoms can last 1 week to 6 months after birth, according to the March of Dimes.

A person experiencing cocaine withdrawal can consider reaching out to a qualified medical professional for support. The medical professional can help monitor the person’s withdrawal symptoms and mental state. They can prescribe medications if needed.

For example, a medical professional can prescribe medications to relieve muscle aches, mental health symptoms, or severe distress and agitation.

Other ways healthcare professionals may manage symptoms of withdrawal include, encouraging a person can drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids from diarrhea and sweat. Individuals can also consider taking multivitamin supplements that contain B-group vitamins and vitamin C.

Treatment for newborns

Treatment for NAS begins with non-pharmacological care. This care includes:

  • darkening and quieting the newborn’s surroundings to decrease visual and auditory stimulation
  • using calming techniques, such as:
    • gentle vertical rocking
    • side-lying in the C-position
    • containment with hands held
    • swaddling
    • swaying
  • providing skin-to-skin contact
  • applying a topical barrier cream to treat any diaper rash and reduce irritability
  • using a pacifier to decrease oral hypersensitivity
  • providing frequent, on-demand feeding

A doctor can also prescribe medications to help manage more severe NAS symptoms. The goal of pharmacological treatment is to improve these symptoms in the short term.

If a child with NAS is experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, they may receive intravenous fluids. These are fluids that a qualified healthcare professional administers through a vein. It can help prevent the child from developing dehydration.

Below are some addiction support groups that may be helpful for people with cocaine addiction.

Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a global, community-based organization that provides a range of services to people with substance use disorders.

NA offers helplines and websites for local support groups across the United States. A person can find a meeting in their area by following this link. NA also offers people the chance to take part in virtual meetings.

For general queries, a person can call NA at 818-773-9999.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a free, confidential helpline that a person can call any day of the year.

The helpline is open 24 hours a day. It offers a treatment referral and information service for people with substance use disorders. The phone number for the SAMHSA National Helpline is 800-662-4357.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is an organization that provides resources for people with substance use disorders.

They offer meetings, support groups, and programs across the United States. You can find informative resources on their website, including videos and podcasts.


LifeRing is a secular recovery organization that aims to help people share practical experiences and access sobriety support.

LifeRing’s website states that the organization is dedicated to providing a safe meeting space where people can experience a nonjudgmental recovery conversation with their peers.

They offer both in-person and online meetings and recovery programs.

Cocaine Anonymous

Cocaine Anonymous hosts meetings in person and online where people can share their experiences with cocaine addiction, connect with others, and get support.

Cocaine is a central nervous stimulant that some people use recreationally.

If a person uses cocaine frequently or in large amounts and suddenly stops using it, they may experience withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include depression, excessive sleep, increased hunger, and a general sense of unease. These symptoms can last from a few days to a few months.

A newborn baby may also develop cocaine dependence if exposed to it in utero. “NAS” is the term for the symptoms a newborn may develop due to withdrawal when they stop receiving the substance after birth.

If a person is experiencing cocaine addiction or withdrawal, they can contact a healthcare professional for support and treatment.