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Cocaine Headaches: Causes, Timeline, & Treatment

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

June 4, 2024

Table of Contents

Cocaine headaches can occur from using the drug and stopping it. A headache from cocaine can be severe, and it can be hard to find relief because of how cocaine affects the body

However, there are treatments and steps you can take to make cocaine headaches less severe. Read on to learn more about this issue and find out how to connect with effective cocaine addiction treatment.

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What Is a Cocaine Headache?

A cocaine headache is a severe headache that happens after using cocaine or during detox. This type of headache can be painful and hard to treat.

Cocaine affects the blood vessels by causing them to narrow, which reduces blood flow to the brain. This lack of blood flow can cause an intense headache after cocaine use.

People who use cocaine might get headaches right after using the drug, or during withdrawal when they stop using it. These headaches can be part of the withdrawal symptoms, which can include other issues like fatigue, mood changes, and cravings.

If you get headaches after using cocaine, it’s important to understand why they happen. Knowing the cause can help you find the right treatment and manage the pain more effectively. Seeking help from medical professionals and staying hydrated can make a big difference in managing cocaine headaches.

What Causes Cocaine Headaches?

Cocaine headaches happen for several reasons. Cocaine is a vasoactive substance, which means it affects blood vessels. It causes the blood vessels to narrow (vasoconstriction), reducing blood flow to the brain and leading to headaches.

Cocaine also impacts the brain’s chemical systems, like dopamine and serotonin, which can cause headaches. Beyond this, using cocaine can lead to dehydration, which is another common cause of headaches.

Cocaine can cause other serious problems, too, like strokes and seizures. It’s important to know that cocaine headaches can be a sign of these more serious issues.

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What Is the Timeline for a Cocaine Headache?

People can get headaches right after using cocaine, within 40 to 90 minutes, or even after stopping cocaine for a while. Whether or not you had headaches while using cocaine, you might get severe headaches when you try to quit. This is a symptom of withdrawal, not a direct effect of the drug.

As you become addicted to cocaine, your brain changes. When you quit, your body has to adjust and learn to function without the drug. During this time, you undergo withdrawal, which can be very uncomfortable. Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:

  • Intense drug cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Changes in appetite
  • Intense headaches

Withdrawal headaches can start a few hours after the last use and can last for several weeks. Because withdrawal can be hard and uncomfortable, it’s important to get help from medical professionals who can help you manage your symptoms and stay safe.

Treatment for Cocaine Headaches

Treating cocaine headaches involves several important steps:

  • Medical supervision: Seek help from doctors who can monitor your health and provide the right treatment. They can make sure you are safe and give you the best care.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water to help reduce headaches caused by dehydration. 
  • Medications: Doctors may give you medications to help manage the pain and other symptoms of withdrawal. These medications can make you more comfortable.
  • Rest: Get enough sleep and rest to help your body heal and reduce headaches. A regular sleep schedule can be very beneficial.
  • Healthy eating: Eat nutritious foods to support recovery and improve overall well-being. A balanced diet can help your body adjust and heal faster.
  • Support: Join support groups or talk to a counselor to help you cope with the stress and discomfort of withdrawal. Having emotional support can make a big difference.
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Get Treatment for Cocaine Addiction at Renaissance Recovery

Cocaine abuse affects body and mind, so get help at Renaissance Recovery if you or someone you care about is addicted to this potent stimulant. We have luxury beachside rehabs in California and Florida where you can begin your recovery.

If you need help with cocaine withdrawal, we can connect you with detox centers. Medical supervision makes the withdrawal process safer and easier. You can then move into ongoing treatment at Renaissance.

The outpatient nature of our programs lets you access effective treatments for cocaine addiction while maintaining your daily commitments at home, work, or school. We also offer more intense treatment options for those with more severe cocaine addictions and mental health issues like depression or PTSD.

All cocaine addictions are unique, so we offer personal treatment plans at Renaissance. Therapies may include:

Call our friendly recovery team today to get started at 866.330.9449.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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