Can You Quit Cocaine Cold Turkey

Can You Quit Cocaine Cold Turkey?

Last Updated: Tue, January 23, 2024

Cocaine use can alter a person’s brain chemistry. For this reason, many want to quit using it. But can you quit cocaine cold turkey?

When someone’s addicted to cocaine, they might now know that they’re experiencing a problem with substance use. Therefore, those who want to recover from addiction must undergo cocaine rehabilitation.

 In this article, we will tackle the question: Can you quit cocaine cold turkey?

Effects of Cocaine on Your Body

The following are the several negative effects of cocaine on your body:

1.     Hallucinations 

Cocaine makes some people feel happier and more sociable. However, other people experience paranoia or symptoms similar to schizophrenia. 

When someone uses cocaine for a long time, the person might develop a condition referred to as cocaine-induced psychosis.

Several mental health conditions often have a symptom called psychosis. However, cocaine-induced psychosis only occurs during intoxication or withdrawal. 

2.     Depression

Cocaine directly changes your brain.  In addition to norepinephrine, cocaine also raises your dopamine and serotonin levels. 

When your brain gets flooded with increased levels of these chemicals, you feel euphoric. After this, your brain goes into recovery. During this period, these now-depleted neurotransmitters return to normal levels. 

As a result, you feel worse than you did before. This leads to depressive symptoms.

3.     Brain Damage 

Cocaine causes constriction of blood vessels. This also reduces the amount of oxygen the brain receives with consistent use. 

Reduced amounts of oxygen to the brain can lead to brain damage. It can also increase the possibility of aneurysms. 

Other risks associated with cocaine use include strokes, seizures, cerebral atrophy or shrinking of the brain,  and cerebral vasculitis or inflammation of blood vessels located in the brain and/or spinal column.

A person’s cognitive functions can also become impaired with long-term cocaine use. This can affect the cognitive areas that deal with one’s attention span, impulse inhibition, decision making, and motor skills. 

Cocaine can also contribute to the faster aging of the brain, leading to long-term memory problems.

4.     Breathing Problems

Cocaine stops oxygen from entering the bloodstream. Thus, it can cause respiratory problems. 

In addition, cocaine destroys capillaries, which carry oxygen to the rest of the body. 

Using cocaine can lead to a higher risk of medical problems as well. These problems include pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, and asthma.

The Appeal of Quitting Cold Turkey 

A lot of people are addicted to alcoholdrugs, or both. However, for some, quitting cold turkey appears to be more appealing due to a number of reasons. 

For one, it’s easier to avoid the drug than use it moderately especially when taking the drug in an unrestrained manner.

Many substance addicts also feel like they can easily separate themselves from drug use if they completely leave the drug world.  Sometimes, their definition of completely leaving may include avoiding all people, places, and other reminders of the drug. They do this in order to start anew.

Signs of Cocaine Withdrawal

While quitting cocaine cold turkey may look appealing, cocaine withdrawal comes with some symptoms. Here are the signs of cocaine withdrawal:

1.     Cocaine Cravings 

A person might experience a strong urge to take more cocaine. This urge is known as cocaine cravings. People who undergo withdrawal from addictive substances normally experience this. 

The desire to re-experience the pleasure of being high in cocaine might also trigger cravings.

2.     Mood Changes 

You will most likely feel mood swings when undergoing cocaine withdrawal. At times, this includes feeling anxious or irritable. 

However, these feelings are all normal. Oftentimes, these feelings are more intense during cocaine withdrawal. However, they tend to subside once you get over the stage of withdrawal.

3.     Fatigue 

During cocaine withdrawal, you might feel another common symptom― feeling extremely tired. 

In addition, you might feel exhausted naturally due to the stimulating effects of cocaine. Feeling tired can also be caused by a lack of sleep and energetic activity while you were high on cocaine.

4.     Sleep Problems 

People experience frustration during cocaine withdrawal due to difficulty in sleeping. 

Although a person might already feel exhausted, sleep problems might still be experienced due to withdrawal from cocaine. These include vivid and unpleasant dreams, insomnia or having trouble sleeping or staying asleep, or hypersomnia or too much sleeping.

Can You Quit Cocaine Cold Turkey? 

A person can quit cocaine cold turkey since the substance possesses only a short half-life. However, it’s not a safe option to do it alone.

Cocaine’s half-life lasts about 1.5 hours. Thus, the entire dose of the substance leaves the body in 7.5 hours. 

Whether you use the drug itself or as a replacement substance, the body quickly metabolizes cocaine. This happens too quickly for a taper to be necessary.

Hence, quitting cocaine is ideally done cold turkey. The best way to do this is with a drug rehab facility’s help.

During withdrawal, cocaine causes intense cravings. For many people, it’s one of the main barriers to long-term recovery. Detoxing alone from the substance usually causes difficulty in managing the cravings.

Cravings and other symptoms of withdrawal can be managed best with support from professionals and in the right facility. 


So, can you quit cocaine cold turkey?

Yes, you can. However, you must do so with the help of professionals. Doing so alone can be dangerous. Using a sobriety app can also help.

I Am Sober is a free app that helps you get some control back in your life.

Get The App