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Stimulant Detox and Withdrawal

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If you are using stimulants, like cocaine or amphetamine, you may think you have it under control. But, if you have reached a point where you begin to feel sick when you aren’t using, then you are no longer in control and you need help.

Withdrawal can be scary. In fact, many people who attempt to quit using stimulants relapse rather than continue enduring withdrawal symptoms. But, the first step of treatment is detox, the process by which you transition from a state of intoxication to one that is drug-free. You can’t move on until you make it through detox, and you can’t get through detox without withdrawal.

But, how you make it through withdrawal doesn’t have to be cold turkey. Willpower alone is rarely sufficient to withstand withdrawal. So, what do you do? You seek out a structured, professional detox program.

You don’t have to figure all of this out on your own. There are resources—like—available to you. You can call 888-602-1971(Who Answers?) and get answers to all of your questions, directions to resources, and recommendations for treatment facilities. Don’t wait. Get started healing.


Before this post moves on to the ways detox can help, you need to know what detox is. As mentioned above, it’s the process of ridding your body of drugs and alcohol.

The process begins with an assessment and an orientation, during which the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports you will:

Stimulant Detox

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  • Identify your expectations
  • Learn the process and its rules
  • Negotiate treatment based on your options
  • Involve your family and/or significant other

Then, you initiate treatment. The priorities in the first weeks will be to:

  • Establish attendance, if you are in an outpatient program
  • Stop using stimulants
  • Assess possible psychiatric conditions
  • Assess possible stimulant-associated compulsive sexual behaviors
  • Remediate withdrawal symptoms

In the second week, the focus is on initiating abstinence. The detox program will:

  • Establish structure via goals
  • Establish Support via counseling
  • Address any secondary drug use
  • Develop avoidance strategies
  • Provide education
  • Respond to early returns to stimulant use

In the final weeks, the focus is on maintaining abstinence.

This is only a basic overview, the program will be much more thorough and this will allow it to ease many of your withdrawal symptoms.


Much of the listed functions of detox featured above have to do with imparting information and this is by design.

Professional detox actually encourages your attendance in the program and alleviates withdrawal symptoms by providing information.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states detox facilities increase your changes of participating and remaining in the program by providing you with an education in your withdrawal and its symptoms. A detox guide they produced reports: “Providing information concerning withdrawal symptoms may reduce discomfort and the likelihood the individual will leave detoxification prematurely.”

How Severe is Cocaine Withdrawal?


With an opiate or alcohol substance use disorder, medication management is a regular component in a professional detox. This is because there are medications specifically designed and approved to treat these types of withdrawal, but research into successful pharmacotherapy for stimulant addiction hasn’t resulted in a specifically proved pharmacological treatment.

There has been some limited success with antidepressant medications. When they work, they relieve some of the psychiatric and physical symptoms of withdrawal.

For those addicted to cocaine and alcohol, Disulfiram is often used. You may know this drug by its brand name: Antabuse. It causes an unpleasant reaction to alcohol and cocaine use.

For those addicted to opiates and cocaine, buprenorphine is often used. It was approved in 2002 by the FDA to treat opiate addiction.

Dual Diagnosis

One of the benefits of the thorough assessment professional detox facilities institute is that they identify other conditions you are dealing with. Having more than one condition diagnosed is considered a dual diagnosis.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the bulk of stimulant users have a dual diagnosis for a psychiatric disorder. Half of the cocaine users in treatment have been diagnosed as depressed within their lifetime. Twenty to twenty-five percent have been shown to have cyclical mood disorders. And a large percentage have:

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Borderline or antisocial personality disorder

All of the listed conditions are more common for stimulant users than for the general population.

A professional withdrawal program will treat both disorders so that they don’t interact and exacerbate one another.

For help making it through your withdrawal, give us a call at 888-602-1971(Who Answers?). We can help.

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By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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