A detox from cocaine use, where the aim is to rid the body of any trace of the drug, is often less severe than with some other drugs. However, the intense cravings that occur when trying to quit can be overwhelming, sometimes causing the user to relapse.

Going ‘cold turkey’, where you quit cocaine completely without using any form of medication, is the most uncomfortable, but often most effective, way of detoxing. It is also usually the quickest way to get clean; this is why it is often the preferred option, not only for drug users wanting to quit, but for supervised facilities overseeing a user’s recovery, too.

Detox can be dangerous for some people, especially if you’re trying to withdraw on your own, and the intensity of withdrawal symptoms are dependent on the length and severity of the cocaine addiction. It can be difficult to achieve full detox without support, so rehab is often the best setting for this. Accessing a detoxification programme, where you are under medical supervision, can make sure the process remains as safe as possible. You can find out more about inpatient vs outpatient rehab here.


Cocaine is one of the most highly addictive stimulant drugs in existence. Users experience an intense (though short-lived) ‘high’, followed by an equally intense crash when the effects of the drug wear off. Repeated use can lead to paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks and suicidal thoughts. Many users become over-confident and reckless while taking cocaine, which increases the chance of them hurting themselves and others while under the influence of the drug.

If cocaine is damaging your relationships, work, financial situation, ability to function in everyday life or physical and mental health, you need to get help to stop.

Detox alone won’t be enough to treat cocaine addiction. Long-term lifestyle changes will be necessary, too. Maintaining healthy habits like eating good food and getting some exercise is important. Staying as healthy as possible can help strengthen your body and mind. A strong support network is invaluable to addicts, as is the support of fellow recovering addicts who can offer advice and empathy.

Detoxing from cocaine isn’t generally life-threatening but it can cause a user to experience very low moods, depression and suicidal thoughts. This is why in-patient rehabilitation is a good option so that the user can be monitored carefully to ensure they are not at risk to themselves.


Generally, it takes around a week to detox from cocaine misuse; however, symptoms and cravings can continue for weeks or even months after quitting. Cravings are often at their most intense during the first few days – they then subside but can come back anytime at a later date.  It is these cravings which can make detoxing from cocaine so difficult.