How to Get Cocaine Out of Your System

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Cocaine is an illegal and highly addictive stimulant drug. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, roughly 1.5 million Americans over the age of 12 use cocaine, and rates of cocaine use have remained relatively stable in the U.S. since 2009. Cocaine can be used intranasally, intravenously or by inhalation. When people think of cocaine, they tend to think of cocaine in its powdered form, which is typically used intranasally (snorted) and absorbed into the bloodstream directly through the nasal tissue. However, cocaine can also be dissolved and injected or smoked. At Guardian Recovery we have extensive experience treating people of all ages who have been struggling with cocaine use disorders of any severity. Like all other addictive disorders, cocaine addiction is progressive, meaning associated symptoms continue to worsen in severity the longer they are left untreated. Even if your cocaine use has not yet resulted in serious personal consequences, we recommend seeking treatment sooner rather than later. The level of clinical care you choose will depend on several important factors, including how long you have been using cocaine, how frequently you use cocaine and whether or not you have been struggling with any co-occurring disorders. To learn more about choosing the most appropriate level of care for your unique case, contact us today.

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How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

If you have been using cocaine in any capacity, you might be wondering how long cocaine stays in your system. The length of time cocaine stays in your system varies based on several factors, including:

  • How fast your metabolism is.
  • Your body weight and body mass.
  • How hydrated you are/how much water you consume daily.
  • Your age.

People who use cocaine typically feel its effects almost immediately. The method of ingestion affects how quickly the psychoactive effects are felt. For example, a person who snorts cocaine might feel an onset of effects within the first five minutes after ingestion, and the effects might last for between 20 and 30 minutes depending on the amount taken. A person who smokes cocaine might feel its effects instantaneously, and the effects might only last for between 5 and 10 minutes.

The half-life of cocaine is roughly one hour, meaning half of the amount taken is generally eliminated from the bloodstream within roughly 60 minutes. Cocaine is metabolized rather quickly by enzymes in the bloodstream and in the liver, and it typically doesn’t stay present in the system for very long because of this. However, detection windows vary depending on how you are tested for the presence of the drug. Contact us today to learn more about how long cocaine stays in the system.

How Does Cocaine Affect the Body?

If a person uses a small amount of cocaine they might feel energetic, euphoric and mentally alert. Appetite might be temporarily reduced, and it might be difficult for the person to fall asleep. As far as the physical body is concerned, cocaine raises blood pressure, constricts blood vessels, increases body temperature and causes the heart to beat more quickly. If a person uses a large amount of cocaine in one sitting, they might feel anxious, paranoid and restless. They might experience dramatically increased heart rate and blood pressure, and start shaking uncontrollably. Cocaine overdose is also a possibility. People who overdose on cocaine ingest too much of the drug in one sitting, and the majority of cocaine-related deaths are due to seizures or cardiac arrest.

The long-term effects of chronic cocaine use can be severe. Over time the brain adjusts to the presence of the drug and reward pathways become less sensitive to naturally occurring reinforcements. This can lead to the development of certain psychological disorders, namely depression and anxiety. Physical tolerance develops with repetitive use, meaning a larger quantity of cocaine is required in order for the desired effects to be produced. As tolerance develops, withdrawal symptoms begin to take hold and it becomes increasingly difficult for a person to quit without professional help. If you have been experiencing the symptoms associated with cocaine dependence and withdrawal, Guardian Recovery is available to help.

Does Cocaine Show Up On a Drug Test?

If you have recently used cocaine and you are planning on taking a drug test, there is a good chance the drug will show up regardless of which type of test you take. Cocaine can show up on a standard urine test for up to three days, a saliva test for up to two days, and a hair test for months or years, depending on the length of time you were using the drug. If you are taking a blood test, cocaine can be present for between 12 and 48 hours depending on the amount taken.

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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Detox?

What symptoms are associated with cocaine withdrawal? Specific symptoms vary on a person-to-person basis and depend on the severity of the cocaine use disorder, whether or not any other substances were being used simultaneously, and whether or not any pre-existing physical or mental conditions are present.

The Most Common Symptoms Associated with Cocaine Withdrawal Are:

  • Restlessness/an inability to sit still.
  • Insomnia and other sleep-related issues.
  • Mood swings, characterized by irritability and agitation.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Fatigue and excessive tiredness.
  • Sluggishness and a lack of motivation.
  • Anxiety or depressed mood.
  • Intense drug cravings.

Generally speaking, the symptoms associated with cocaine withdrawal are mild or moderate and can be effectively treated with a combination of rest, over-the-counter medications and counseling. Because the drug cravings associated with cocaine withdrawal can last for weeks at a time, it is recommended a person transition into a higher level of care immediately following detox.

Dangers of Using Cocaine Frequently

The degrees of cocaine use vary. Some people might use the drug recreationally and very infrequently, while others might begin using the drug habitually on a daily or near-daily basis. If you have been using cocaine frequently you are at risk of developing serious physical and psychological issues, including:

  • Cardiovascular issues including ischemia, arrhythmia or cardiomyopathy.
  • Depressive disorders.
  • Permanent lung damage and chronic pneumonia (if cocaine is smoked).
  • Permanent damage to the nasal cavities (if cocaine is snorted).
  • The development of physical and psychological dependence.

How to Tell if You Are Becoming Addicted to Cocaine

How can you tell whether or not cocaine use has become a problem? We recommend taking the Cocaine Addiction Quiz below to help you accurately determine whether or not professional treatment has become necessary. It is important to remember how difficult self-diagnosis can be when it comes to addiction, seeing as substance dependence and denial often go hand-in-hand. Feel free to reach out for a professional opinion on which type of treatment will best meet your personal needs.

Cocaine Addiction Quiz

Ask yourself the following questions — if you answer “yes” to two or more, it is a good indication professional treatment has become necessary.

  • Question #1: Do you often use cocaine in larger amounts or over a longer period than you intended?
  • Question #2: Have you wanted to cut back on cocaine or made unsuccessful attempts to do so?
  • Question #3: Do you spend a great deal of time finding, using, or recovering from using?
  • Question #4: Do you have strong urges or powerful cravings to use cocaine?
  • Question #5: Has your use of cocaine resulted in your inability to meet your obligations at work, home, or school?
  • Question #6: Have you had to cut back on or abandon social, professional, or recreational activities due to your use of cocaine?
  • Question #7: Have you repeatedly used cocaine when it was hazardous to do so, such as while driving a car?
  • Question #8: Have you experienced social or relationship problems due to your substance use and kept using anyway?
  • Question #9: Have you kept using cocaine knowing that it has caused or worsened physical or mental health issues?
  • Question #10: When you attempt to cut back on or stop your use of cocaine, have you experienced uncomfortable physical or mental health symptoms (withdrawal)?
  • Question #11: Have you needed more cocaine to feel the effects you’re seeking (tolerance)?

Treatment Options for Cocaine Addiction

The most common treatment option for cocaine addiction is a combination of intensive psychotherapy and a short-term stay in a residential treatment center. In residential treatment, people begin to develop a range of relapse prevention techniques while healing on a physical, mental and emotional basis. The best treatment option for you depends on your clinical needs and personal background. We are available to help make the decision as straightforward as possible.

How to Find a Cocaine Treatment Center

What is the best way to go about finding a cocaine treatment center? First of all, it is a good idea to determine which level of clinical care you are going to begin with. At Guardian Recovery we believe in the benefits of a full continuum of clinical care, which includes the following treatment stages:

To find a cocaine detox center near you, contact us today. If you have already undergone detoxification and you are looking to take the next appropriate step on your personal recovery journey, we are happy to point you in the right direction.

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If you or someone you love has been struggling with cocaine addiction, Guardian Recovery is available to help. We offer multiple levels of clinical care, from medical detox through intensive outpatient treatment and aftercare. Because cocaine addiction is not a one-size-fits-all medical condition, the most appropriate progression of addiction treatment looks different for each individual client. We are standing by to help you determine which recovery program is the best fit for you and your unique needs.

As soon as you make the decision to reach out for help, you will be put in contact with one of our experienced and compassionate Treatment Advisors who will guide you through every step of our admissions process. We begin by conducting a brief pre-assessment which helps us determine which level of care is right for you. We offer a free, no obligation insurance benefit check and explore alternative coverage options whenever necessary. As soon as you make the decision to reclaim your life we will be ready to help you in any way we can. All you have to do is reach out for help, and we will take care of the rest.


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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

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Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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