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How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Every year, millions of people abuse cocaine without knowing the answers to important questions about this dangerous drug. For example: How does cocaine affect your body and mind? How long does cocaine stay in your system? And how can you tell if you need treatment for cocaine addiction?

How Does Cocaine Affect Your Body & Mind?

Cocaine is a stimulant. As described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), cocaine binds to receptors in the central nervous system, preventing them from removing a naturally produced neurotransmitter called dopamine. This causes a buildup of dopamine, which is associated with reward, pleasure, and motivation. Excess dopamine causes the euphoric rush, energy boost, and heightened sensitivity that are characteristic of cocaine use.

The effects of cocaine can be intense, but they are usually fairly brief. If a person snorts cocaine, the effects will typically begin within a few minutes and last for no longer than half an hour. If someone smokes the drug, they may begin to feel the effects almost instantaneously, but they will fade within 5-10 minutes.

The intensity and brevity of cocaine’s effects can prompt people to use the drug multiple times within a short period. This can increase their risk for myriad negative outcomes, including addiction and overdose.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Determining how long does cocaine stay in your system can depend on several factors, such as:

  • How much cocaine you have been using
  • How frequently you have been using cocaine
  • If you have been combining cocaine with other substances
  • What method you use (snorting, injecting, or smoking)
  • Your size, weight, and metabolism

The answer to the question, “How long does cocaine stay in your system?” can also be influenced by which part of your system you’re referring to. In other words, different types of drug screenings can detect the presence of cocaine for varying lengths of time:

  • A saliva test can detect cocaine for up to 48 hours after the last time you used the drug.
  • Cocaine can also be detected in a blood test for up to 48 hours.
  • If you take a urine test, you may test positive if you have used cocaine in the previous 48-96 hours (or two to four days).
  • Evidence of cocaine in your system can be detected for the longest amount of time via a hair follicle test. This type of screening can detect cocaine use up to 90 days after your last use.

How Do You Know if You Need Treatment for Cocaine Addiction?

If you are researching the question, “How long does cocaine stay in your system?” you may suspect that you have a problem regarding your use of this harmful substance. 

To be diagnosed with cocaine use disorder (which is the clinical term for cocaine addiction) you need to be assessed by a qualified professional. The following questions can help you determine if you should make an appointment for an assessment:

  • Do you spend considerable amounts of time thinking about, acquiring, using, and recovering from the use of cocaine?
  • Have you missed school or work – or failed to meet other responsibilities – because of your cocaine use?
  • Once you start using cocaine, do you find it difficult or virtually impossible to stop?
  • Do you feel like you need to use cocaine to have fun or to deal with stress?
  • Do you find that you need to use larger amounts of cocaine to experience the effects that you used to achieve via smaller doses?
  • Have you begun to use cocaine in ways that are especially hazardous, such as combining it with other drugs?
  • Have you continued to use cocaine even after experiencing physical harm or a personal or professional setback due to prior use?
  • Have you lied to friends or family members about the amount and frequency of your cocaine use?
  • Do you become angry, agitated, or irritated when you can’t acquire and use cocaine?
  • Has anyone ever suggested to you that you might be addicted to cocaine?
  • Do you think you might be addicted to cocaine?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should consult with your family doctor or contact a cocaine addiction treatment provider to schedule an assessment.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Help?

The longer you struggle with untreated cocaine addiction, the greater your risk becomes for serious and potentially irreversible harm. Here are a few examples of possible negative effects of cocaine addiction:

  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Poor performance in school or at your job
  • Being fired and experiencing long-term unemployment
  • Financial difficulties
  • Being arrested and jailed
  • Malnutrition
  • Damage to the heart and lungs
  • Exposure to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other bloodborne disease
  • Memory problems and other cognitive impairments
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Stroke 
  • Overdose
  • Death

You don’t have to wait until you “hit rock bottom” before you get professional help. Delaying treatment only jeopardizes your health. It may also put your life in danger. When you get the care you need, you can regain control of your thoughts and behaviors, so that you can live a healthier and more satisfying life.

Find Cocaine Addiction Treatment in Atlanta, GA

Inner Voyage Recovery Center is a truly special place, where the darkness of untreated cocaine addiction can give way to the light of renewed hope and sustained recovery. Our outpatient treatment center near Atlanta, Georgia, is a trusted source of quality care and comprehensive support. Here, experienced professionals offer customized services in a safe and welcoming environment. 

When you’re ready to end your cocaine abuse and start living the life you deserve, the Inner Voyage Recovery Center team is here to help. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our admissions page or call us today.

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