Futures Recovery Healthcare

Crack Cocaine Withdrawal and Detox


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Crack cocaine is a form of cocaine, which comes from the coca plant and is fast acting and potent. The DEA classifies crack cocaine as a stimulant drug, meaning that it speeds up both physical and mental processes, leading to a high that increases focus, attention, and energy all at once. Effects are felt immediately, but end about 5-10 minutes after initial ingestion. This is one of the factors that differentiate crack cocaine from cocaine, as the effects of cocaine, once ingested through snorting, are felt 3-5 minutes after.

The immediate and intense effects of crack cocaine are part of what makes it so addictive. Upon use, a user will feel extreme euphoria, activating the brain’s reward centers. Crack cocaine differs from cocaine in many other ways, including its form. Crack cocaine is the rock form of cocaine and is less expensive than its powdered counterpart. It is created when powdered cocaine is combined with water and baking soda. After these substances are mixed, the combination is boiled, creating a solid. This solid is then broken down into pieces and sold as crack cocaine.

Crack cocaine is commonly abused through smoking the rocks, alone, or mixed with marijuana or tobacco. It quickly moves throughout the brain and the body when smoked, as it is absorbed quickly from the user’s lungs into their bloodstream.

In the United States alone, there are an estimated one million people who regularly use crack cocaine, but is not directly tied to any specific demographic according to the National Drug Intelligence Center. Findings from their survey found that over six million people in the U.S. over 12 years of age have tried the substance at least one time.

Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline

Crack cocaine withdrawal timelines vary from person to person, and the length of withdrawal typically depends on a variety of factors such as tolerance levels, body chemistry, and the severity of drug dependence.

  • 24-72 hours without crack cocaine: Crack cocaine users may feel symptoms like body aches and paranoia in the first 72 hours without use. Some users have also reported auditory and visual hallucinations during this time, with periods of severe paranoia occurring in the first 24 hours. Generally speaking, periods of paranoia and hallucinations will subside.
  • 1 week without crack cocaine: During this period, users will often experience other symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, irritability, and a lack of motivation.
  • 2 weeks without crack cocaine: Cravings for crack cocaine become extreme during week 2 of the withdrawal period, often paired with feelings of depression. During this time, the brain is still trying to cope with the crack cocaine withdrawal. Usually, it cannot create enough dopamine to maintain positive emotions, with individuals also being at risk for high anxiety levels during this time.
  • 3-4 weeks without crack cocaine: In weeks three and four of the crack cocaine withdrawal process, a user’s brain chemistry is experiencing changes, and there are frequent mood changes. A person may still be feeling quite anxious or depressed with psychological cravings still present, but physical cravings will probably have softened.

Physical Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Withdrawal

Crack cocaine addiction effects users both psychologically and physically. Physically, withdrawal symptoms typically include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Body aches
  • Shaking

Psychological Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Withdrawal

Psychologically, there are two phases of crack cocaine withdrawal: acute and post-acute. Acute withdrawal is the immediate symptoms after use, while post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) refer to continuing psychological symptoms, which occur in the weeks and months without crack cocaine.

Common acute withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Unpleasant dreams
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Exhaustion
  • Mood changes

Common post-acute withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • A lack of motivation
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Angry outbursts
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Depression
  • Shaking

Factors Affecting Crack Cocaine Withdrawal

The intensity of a user’s crack cocaine withdrawal is dependent on a variety of factors, which may include:

  • The length of time crack cocaine has been used
  • The amount of crack cocaine used on a recurring basis
  • The severity of an addiction
  • If there are other co-occurring mental or physical issues or conditions
  • If other substances or drugs were used

For users experiencing crack cocaine withdrawal, there may not be obvious or visible symptoms like vomiting, shaking, or sweating. However, this doesn’t mean that withdrawal symptoms from crack cocaine are less severe, with some users craving crack cocaine so severely that relapse is almost impossible to avoid.

Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Remedies

When a user decides to stop using crack cocaine, it’s imperative that they seek the help of a medical professional. A person’s medical needs are dependent on their unique history and body chemistry, and the detox process can vary from person to person.

Crack cocaine usage isn’t slowly tapered down during detox, with users typically quitting “cold turkey” with the help of a medical professional and withdrawal medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms.

Crack Cocaine Detox Process

The crack cocaine detox process isn’t a quick fix, but a long-term recovery from a difficult addiction. During this time, a past user will feel intense emotional and physical symptoms that should not be dealt with alone. To safely detox from a crack cocaine addiction and avoid a relapse, a user should receive assistance from a medical professional in a drug treatment facility.

A professional drug treatment facility knows the correct detox process and can create a unique plan to help a user deal with severe withdrawal symptoms. As most withdrawal programs begin without crack cocaine usage being tapered off, medical supervision is critical for success.

In the weeks and months after crack cocaine usage ends, professional support provides the physical and mental assistance needed for long-term sobriety. Comprehensive crack cocaine detox programs from Futures of Palm Beach are designed to treat addiction and co-occurring disorders. Call today to learn how we can help you or a loved one overcome a crack cocaine addiction.


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(866) 351-7588
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