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Cocaine Comedown

We all know the famous phrase and story. Newton was sitting under an apple tree and got hit in the head by a falling apple. Just like that, physics was born. But this phrase applies to more than just gravity. The human brain experiences this same philosophy when using substances like cocaine.

cocaine comedown

The effects of cocaine can become dangerous, and over 240 deaths between January and June 2022 were caused by or had cocaine present. These numbers are just for Hillsborough County alone. At Clean Recovery Centers, we are well-versed in all substance use disorders and utilize a holistic approach to recovery. Our wellness program includes various components including nutrition counseling, brain mapping, massage therapy, and more. We work with you to build healthy habits during treatment that you will use throughout recovery. But what can be done to help with the cocaine comedown? Let’s explore this further.

Defining the Cocaine Comedown

Cocaine is a stimulant that is derived from the coca plant grown in South America. In the brain, there are dopamine receptors that receive the chemical dopamine when it is released. Naturally, dopamine is released by pleasurable activities such as eating a good meal or having sex as it is the reward chemical. When cocaine enters this system, it binds to the dopamine transporter. This blocks the area where dopamine would be removed, causing a build-up within the brain. This produces the euphoric effects associated with cocaine use.

This process also affects the central nervous system by speeding it up. Breathing, heart rate, and body temperature all increase during cocaine use, but due to the euphoric feelings, there is a false sense of well-being. However, these effects are short-lived, leading to the person to continue using more and more cocaine. This begins the binge and crash cycle, and eventually, the person will experience the cocaine comedown – uncomfortable symptoms from prolonged cocaine use in one sitting.

Cocaine Binge and Crash Cycle

Cocaine is often consumed in a binge and crash cycle, meaning the person will use a lot over a span of hours or days and then experience a crash where the body cannot handle anymore. As we mentioned above, cocaine causes a surplus of dopamine in the brain, but it only lasts for around 30 minutes. The person will continue to use cocaine to keep feeling the euphoria and pleasure. However, as the effects wear off and the person does not take anymore, they will experience a crash. The crash stage is also a way to describe the cocaine comedown.

How Cocaine Comedown Effects the Mind and Body

Experiencing the comedown from cocaine can have various effects on both the mind and body. Cocaine comedown symptoms do not only affect someone who has been using cocaine for a long period, they can occur even after the first use. This is especially true if the first use was a binge.

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms of a cocaine comedown are often similar from person to person. Extreme fatigue and exhaustion are common but are often paired with an inability to fall asleep. Cocaine also causes blood vessels to constrict, raising blood pressure and increasing heart rate. As cocaine effects wear off, the blood vessels dilate, which can cause swelling in the extremities. The dilation of blood vessels can also lead to a runny nose as blood begins to flow to the nasal passageways again. Generally, flu-like symptoms appear during a cocaine comedown, including aches and pains. The person may also experience an increase in appetite, and often crave high-fat or high-carb foods.

Psychological Symptoms

The psychological symptoms of a cocaine comedown are often far worse than the physical symptoms. Cocaine floods the brain with dopamine, and when cocaine is no longer present, the brain adjusts by not producing any more of the chemical. This results in depression, agitation, mood swings, and anxiety. These feelings can range in intensity and are typically the cause for a return to use. Because cocaine speeds up the central nervous system, the person will feel slow and have trouble focusing during the cocaine comedown.

Does a Cocaine Comedown Last Long?

A cocaine comedown can last one to two days in someone who does not use the substance regularly. Someone who uses cocaine for the first time may have mild symptoms that go away as the substance leaves their body. Those who binge on cocaine on occasion may have a longer comedown depending on how long the binge lasts.

It is important to note that the cocaine comedown and cocaine withdrawal are not the same thing. The cocaine comedown only lasts for a couple of days and is more often seen in those who use cocaine on occasion. Cocaine withdrawal entails similar symptoms to a cocaine comedown, but with much more intensity. Mental health declines rapidly during cocaine withdrawal and cravings are at their highest. Those who use cocaine often are more likely to experience withdrawal as opposed to a cocaine comedown.

Cocaine Binging: How It Affects You Long-Term

managing symptoms of cocaine comedownBinging on cocaine can have long-term effects on you physically and mentally. Cocaine changes the brain and disrupts how chemicals are released. Over time, this causes reward chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin to only be released when cocaine is present. These chemicals help with feeling joy, pleasure, and purpose. When they are not naturally released and cocaine is not present, the person will feel intense feelings of depression and hopelessness. To make these feelings go away, they turn to more cocaine. The cycle continues until they seek help through treatment.

Cocaine causes a decrease in appetite, leading to malnourishment. This weakens the immune system which makes it harder for the body to fight infections. Cuts in the nasal cavity, gumline, or esophagus can become infected and take longer to heal. Cocaine also causes blood vessels to restrict, especially in the gastrointestinal tract. This can lead to bowel death and can be life-threatening if treatment is not sought. Blood vessel restriction also puts extra strain on the heart which can cause permanent damage.

Can I Manage the Cocaine Comedown Symptoms?

Managing the symptoms of a cocaine comedown is similar to dealing with a cold or flu. Be sure to drink plenty of hydrating fluids such as water or sports drinks. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen can help with aches. Despite craving fatty foods, eating healthier meals will help ease symptoms. It may be difficult at first, but getting plenty of rest is the best way to overcome a cocaine comedown. To avoid a future cocaine comedown, refrain from taking the substance.

Getting Help for Cocaine Addiction in Hillsborough County

Experiencing a cocaine comedown just once does not necessarily indicate dependence. However, if you find yourself constantly feeling the symptoms after using cocaine, or they are severe, it is time to start looking for help. Cocaine addiction treatment will be the beginning of feeling like yourself again. Different therapy models exist to pinpoint the root causes of your addiction and work with you to develop healthy coping skills for a successful recovery. You will be surrounded by support from peers and compassionate staff who will guide you into your new way of life. The mind and body do heal from cocaine use – all you have to do is take the first step.

If you or someone you love is managing a cocaine use disorder, help is available here in beautiful, sunny Florida. Clean Recovery Centers provides quality care with empathy and respect. Each of our locations offers housing that is certified by the Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR). You will never have to worry about where you will be staying as you recover. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to learn more about our program offerings.

Get clean. Live clean. Stay clean.

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