A recent study found that exercise may help prevent a relapse into cocaine addiction.

Article at a Glance:

Exercise can help a person manage stress, which may help prevent relapse.

Addiction recovery can be challenging, but there are ways to overcome each obstacle.

Specialized rehab programs can effectively treat cocaine abuse and addiction.

The Role of Exercise in Preventing Recurrence of Cocaine Use

It’s difficult to recover from cocaine addiction on your own, but there are ways you can increase your chances of success. Both during and after addiction treatment, exercise can strengthen your body and help you achieve long-term recovery.

study from the University of Buffalo found that exercise may help reduce cocaine relapse because it elevates mood and reduces stress. This means that a person facing negative emotions or uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms can use exercise to help them cope. Ultimately, this approach may reduce a person’s odds of relapsing.

Relapse rates for substance use disorders are around 40% to 60%, even after treatment. You may still feel cravings for cocaine and end up relapsing after avoiding the drug for several months or years. Although researchers are still working to understand this vulnerability, they’re also learning more about how people can overcome difficult obstacles during cocaine addiction recovery.

Related Topic: Exercise in Addiction Recovery

Challenges in Cocaine Recovery and How To Beat Them

Cocaine addiction is a treatable condition, but the road to recovery can get rough at times. The following sections discuss the challenges you may face during recovery and how you can get through them.

Intense Withdrawal Symptoms

Cocaine withdrawal does not produce dangerous physical symptoms like alcohol or opioid withdrawal can. However, it can still feel mentally and physically uncomfortable. The most common symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:

  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams
  • Depressed mood
  • Agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety

Withdrawal symptoms often improve with time, but you may need help managing other discomforts. Withdrawal support may be included in some addiction treatment programs.

Romanticizing Previous Cocaine Use

Drug addiction can lead to serious and often life-changing consequences. When you’re sober and recovery becomes challenging, however, your mind may distort your perception of the times you used cocaine. You may romanticize the positive memories, pushing the bad times to the back of your mind.

To prevent this, surround yourself with people who support your recovery. They can help you remember what really happened when you used cocaine. Their support can keep you focused on why you’re in recovery now.

Isolation, Boredom and Stress

When you first use cocaine, the euphoric rush can be intense. However, cocaine tolerance develops quickly, requiring you to take more to feel the same effects. As you move through recovery, you may miss that initial rush of energy. Periods of boredom, isolation and stress may make the cocaine high seem attractive again.

To prevent these periods from tempting you, stay ahead of stress by developing healthy self-care habits. Avoid boredom by learning new things and exploring your interests. When you stay socially connected with positive people, you may feel less drawn to cocaine use as well.

Triggers and Cravings

Triggers may include old friends and hangout spots connected with your cocaine use. They may also include music, food, paraphernalia and many other objects. You may experience strong memories and sensations from your past use, along with powerful cravings. Some situations may also provide easy access to a cocaine supply when you’re feeling vulnerable.

To cope with these feelings and situations, do your best to avoid or remove reminders of previous cocaine use from your life. Staying clear of triggers can help reduce your chances of developing cravings and relapsing.

How To Recover From Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction is a serious disease that can negatively impact your life and the lives of your family members, friends and loved ones. Recovery is possible, but the process is a lifelong journey that often begins with professional treatment.

The Recovery Village offers specialized services for addiction treatment, including detox and a variety of intensive outpatient and inpatient services. Our addiction experts are equipped with the tools and resources necessary to help you end cocaine use and learn how to live a healthier, drug-free life. Contact us today to learn more about treatment programs and aftercare services that can work well for your needs.

Jonathan Strum
Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more
Erika Krull
Medically Reviewed By – Erika Krull, LMHP
Erika Krull has a master’s degree in mental health counseling and has been a freelance writer since 2006. Read more

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. “Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon[…]l, Drugs, and Health.” November 2016. Accessed September 14, 2021.

Thomas Jefferson University. “Cocaine Effects on Norepinephrine in the Amygdala.” Accessed September 15, 2021.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Cocaine withdrawal.” MedlinePlus, February 12, 2021. Accessed September 15, 2021.

Sofuoglu, Mehmet; Dudish-Poulsen, Susan; Poling, James; Mooney, Mark; Hatsukami, Dorothy K. “The Effect of Individual Cocaine Withdra[…]mes in Cocaine Users.” University of Minnesota, July 2005. Accessed September 15, 2021.

Nestler, Eric. “The Neurobiology of Cocaine Addiction.” Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, December 2005. Accessed September 14, 2021.

Robinson, Lisa; et al. “Chronic Forced Exercise Inhibits Stress-[…]ned Place Preference.” Behavioural Brain Research, July 2018. Accessed September 14, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.