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Psychological Symptoms of Withdrawal During Cocaine Detox

Cocaine’s Effects on the Brain

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that intensifies levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain circuits, which regulate pleasure and movement. However, users of cocaine will commonly increase their dose in an attempt to intensify and prolong their high, which is commonly short-lived. This increases the risk of adverse psychological or physiological effects.

When taken, cocaine can make a person feel more confident, alert, and happier, but the drug takes a serious toll on a user’s body, by increasing their heart rate, their blood pressure, and impairing their brain’s chemical makeup. Even after one use, a person has a higher chance of heart attack or stroke, which are both fatal.

addicted to cocaine

Anxiety and depression are two common psychological cocaine withdrawal symptoms.

If a person continues to abuse cocaine they can cause permanent damage to their brain, and many people who overcome a cocaine addiction have severe psychological withdrawals from the drug. Since cocaine increases dopamine in a person’s brain, after the drug is out of their body their dopamine levels will be depleted, and if a person continues to abuse cocaine, their dopamine levels could take years to return to normal, which may result in a person not being able to feel pleasure or happiness like they once used to.

Psychological Symptoms of Withdrawal during Cocaine Detox

According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, withdrawal symptoms occur when a person stops abusing cocaine and these symptoms are more severe the more heavily a person has been using cocaine. Many users continue using cocaine simply to relieve withdrawals. Symptoms of withdrawals can include extreme fatigue, depression, irritability, anxiety, and an intense craving for the drug.

The main psychological withdrawal symptom from cocaine is depression. Due to the depletion of dopamine that has occurred from cocaine abuse, a person’s brain may no longer produce dopamine, and this will lead to a person consistently feeling sad and unhappy. This is a severe mental illness to live with, and some people even feel suicidal once they stop using cocaine. In addition to depression, anxiety is also a common withdrawal symptom that people experience from cocaine detox. Anxiety can cause a person to feel like they are unable to breath and can cause a person’s heart rate to significantly increase. A person battling both depression and anxiety will need the treatment of a mental health care professional so that they can work on healing their brain. These two mental illnesses can negatively impact a person’s life and prevent them from rejoining society, which is why treatment is necessary.

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