Cocaine Withdrawal is About Losing a Lifestyle, Not a Chemical

Cocaine Withdrawal is About Losing a Lifestyle, Not a Chemical

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Cocaine withdrawal is not really physical in nature.  Instead, it is a psychological withdrawal.  If you go to a drug rehab center and ask them for detox, they will most likely just put you into residential treatment directly if the only drug you have been using is cocaine.  There is no physical withdrawal from the drug and no reason for medical supervision when you are detoxing from it.  This is not to say there is no withdrawal at all, because there is a definite psychological withdrawal.  It is just not dangerous.

There is also a very real lifestyle and social withdrawal when you stop using a drug like cocaine.  Most people who are addicted to cocaine like the effect that it produces in them, and they like the lifestyle that comes along with these effects.  They like the late nights, the sharpness of thought, the heightened sense of perception, and the social aspect of using the drug.  They like partying with other cocaine addicts and using the drug in order to be able to drink more, and so on.  In other words, it is not just the high from cocaine itself that a person gets addicted to….it is the effects that come along with that.  As such, cocaine is really a lifestyle drug and giving this up requires the adoption of a new lifestyle.  If you take away this lifestyle from the cocaine addict, what do they have to live for?  If they cannot replace their lifestyle with something new that gets them excited about living, then it is likely that they will revert back to their drug of choice eventually.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: ElvertBarnes

Thus, the challenge for overcoming cocaine addiction is to get through this psychological withdrawal and then start creating a new life, and a new lifestyle, for yourself.  At first there is bound to be some degree of depression, and this is to be expected.  But creating a new life with positive habits should be the first priority on the list.  This starts out slowly, with abstinence from mood and mind altering drugs as the first objective.  As this new foundation of sobriety is laid down, the person can start aiming for new goals of personal growth in recovery.  For example, getting into shape, forming new and healthy relationships, quitting smoking, getting involved with sports or recreation–these are all possible goals in a healthy and balanced life in recovery.  None of it probably sounds very enticing at first, especially to the cocaine addict.  But in time, they can build a new lifestyle that has real meaning to them, and thus they can start to live again, drug free.

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