Crack Cocaine Withdrawal and Detox
Crack Cocaine Info
If you or a loved one wants to break free from the grip of crack cocaine addiction, the best way to go about it is through a medically assisted withdrawal and detoxification programme.
We know you didn’t set out to become a crack addict, because we understand how the drug works. You might have wanted to explore a different kind of ‘high’ from alcohol, heroin, or other types of cocaine. Because of the addictive power of crack cocaine, you became dependent and kept going back for more, until you slipped into addiction. Most addicts have suffered something similar.
Crack cocaine is different from other forms of cocaine, and from other drugs like methamphetamine, opiates and alcohol. It is fast-acting, its effects wear off quickly, and the effects of withdrawal hit harder and faster than with other drugs.
Crack is particularly fast-acting because it has been cooked into a ‘freebase’ form that very quickly gets into the bloodstream and easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, to create a near-instant euphoric high. The high induced by crack cocaine is short-lived, lasting for 5-15 minutes, so users who want to maintain this euphoric state have to take frequent hits. This is can easily lead to addiction to the substance.
Notwithstanding the potency and addictiveness of crack cocaine, you can get clean and break free from its shackles. Once you make the decision to get clean, you can get support to overcome your addiction. Through withdrawal and detox, at an accredited rehab centre, you can put your addiction behind you and lead a new, clean life.
Crack Cocaine Withdrawal: What You Should Know
Crack cocaine withdrawal hits especially fast and hard. This is partly because crack is more potent than the conventional powder form of cocaine.
Withdrawal symptoms will manifest after a binge or even following mild usage, and they can cause severe psychological and physical distress.
Before using crack, you should be aware that there’s a high risk of addiction, due to the potency and action of the drug, and that there will be a high risk of psychological distress during withdrawal.
Symptoms you’re likely to experience when you stop using the drug come in two phases: acute withdrawal symptoms, which are the immediate withdrawal effects of crack; and post acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS), which are symptoms that may arise weeks or months after quitting. Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on individual factors, including length of addiction, tolerance and metabolism.
Common symptoms of acute withdrawal include:
- Mood Changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Unpleasant dreams
Typical post-acute withdrawal symptoms are:
- Shaking or agitation
- Difficulty sleeping
- Lack of motivation
- Anger or emotional outbursts
- Inability to feel pleasure
Unfortunately, if you’re already an addict, withdrawal is a necessary evil that you must pass through if you’re going to break free from addiction. However, it can be managed and symptoms can be minimised in a controlled and supportive environment in a medically supervised detox clinic.
Why Does Someone Go Through Withdrawal After Quitting Crack Cocaine?
Crack cocaine affects the brain’s reward system, which modulates sensations of pleasure and well-being. As an addict, your brain becomes habituated to the effects that crack has on levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which regulates the reward pathways in the brain. You come to rely on the drug to trigger feelings of pleasure and euphoria, and may struggle to experience these without it.
When you quit using the drug, your body has to relearn how to cope without it, and process pleasure naturally. Withdrawal signifies that your body is rebalancing its natural equilibrium, and trying to function normally again.
Duration of Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Period
The duration of withdrawal symptoms depends on a number of factors, including your medical condition, level of tolerance, the amount of crack you consume and the frequency with which you consume it – the severity of your addiction.
Withdrawal normally begins anywhere from one to 72 hours after you last took crack. Although there’s no exact timeframe for the duration of withdrawal, physical withdrawal symptoms of crack normally last between one to three months. Psychological symptoms have been reported to last more than six months in the most severe cases.
The extreme symptoms of withdrawal subside during the first week after you quit, and you can recover from all the physical effects of withdrawal. At this stage, you might feel you’ve been totally cured, but letting your guard down could leave you vulnerable to a relapse, as the following days may bring severe cravings.
The best way to get treatment for crack cocaine addiction is through a medically supervised detox and withdrawal, where you can get clean under the watchful eye of experienced professionals.
What Is the Cause of Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
Because crack is smoked rather than snorted (like the powdered variant of cocaine), it gets into the bloodstream and travels to the brain faster. Because crack is the fat-soluble, freebase form of the drug, it can more easily cross the blood-brain barrier. This is why the intense effects of crack kick in within ten seconds of ingestion.
When the drug reaches the brain, it disrupts the neurotransmitter system responsible for regulating pleasure. Levels in the brain of the neurotransmitter dopamine are boosted and this leads to increased levels of excitement and pleasure.
When you consume cocaine for a long time, especially in crack form, your body will come to rely on the stimulant to maintain elevated levels of dopamine in the brain, and the euphoria this induces. As time goes on, you’ll need to top-up the amount you consume, because your system will develop tolerance.
At this point, you’re addicted. If you try to stop using the drug your brain will struggle to regulate dopamine levels, leading to withdrawal symptoms.
How Long Does it Take Before Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Begins?
Rapidity of onset of withdrawal varies according to your state of health prior to taking crack, the amount of crack you have used, and the frequency of usage.
Withdrawal symptoms may not manifest in the first day after last use, although you may feel cravings during this time. With the right mindset, you should be able to make it through the first 24 hours.
Beyond 24 hours after last using the drug, withdrawal symptoms will probably set in, and they are likely to be the toughest you may encounter. It’s during this stage of withdrawal that most addicts relapse due to the severity of the symptoms. You may feel compelled to get back on crack, which is why it is imperative you get professional help to get you through this stage.
You should know that relapsing after a withdrawal increases the symptoms of a future withdrawal. Procrastinating over when to quit crack cocaine is never a good idea. You can make this the last withdrawal you have to go through.
Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline
If you make it past the first couple of days after quitting, you’ve almost certainly been through the worst. Withdrawal symptoms ease-up after a few days. After a couple of weeks, symptoms will continue to dissipate. However, strong cravings may recur weeks and even months after you last took crack.
Remember, the best place to manage withdrawal symptoms is in a medically controlled environment,
where you’ll be under the care of addiction treatment professionals.
The withdrawal timeline is likely to follow this pattern:
24 – 72 hours after last use: Common symptoms during this time include body aches and paranoia. Strong auditory, visual and tactile hallucinations normally occur during the first 72 hours, and they can be linked to severe paranoia and anxiety. You could also suffer from psychosis.
The first week: After the first 72 hours, symptoms will begin to diminish, but don’t let your guard down – you are not cured yet. You may experience further symptoms in the course of the first week, including lack of motivation, insomnia, extreme fatigue and irritability.
The second week: The second week post-usage brings strong cravings and depression. The withdrawal process will still be affecting your brain, as it isn’t properly regulating levels of dopamine.
Third – fourth week: At this stage, the physical cravings for crack will have dissipated, but you may experience continued cravings and frequent mood swings. You may also continue feeling anxious and depressed.
Crack Cocaine Cravings Timeline
Even though your symptoms may have eased, you may not be free from the hold of crack addiction, as you are likely to experience powerful cravings. Chronic cravings are among the most challenging symptoms for any drug addict.
Other physical and psychological symptoms should diminish in a matter of weeks, but cravings can linger for at least four months.
Cravings will continue to build up months after your last crack intake, and even after you might have gone through rehab. They worsen and peak in severity in the second and third month and begin to decrease from the sixth. Keep up your guard, as a single slip-up in a moment of vulnerability can cause a relapse and set you back.
This is why post-treatment aftercare is important when you eventually complete your rehab and treatment.
Treating Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
Although there are no approved medications to treat crack withdrawal, therapies are available to help people through this difficult phase. Other psychoactive drugs may be used to ease withdrawal symptoms, but only under strict supervision by medical experts.
Under normal circumstances, crack withdrawal does not necessarily require medical treatment, but if you have a medical issue, you may need treatment. If your withdrawal symptoms are severe, you will need to be admitted to a treatment clinic for close supervision.
Treatment For Crack Cocaine: Where To Start
The best thing to do if you’re struggling with crack cocaine addiction is to seek help. Breaking free from the grip of the drug is difficult, but it is possible. All you have to do is make a firm decision to quit and commit to your decision. Once you have taken this step, reach out to family and friends, seek help directly through your GP, and think about contacting a substance-abuse counsellor as your very first step.
Calling for help is the first step in the right direction to a crack-free future. Experts can recommend rehab clinics to cater to your treatment needs throughout your recovery journey, and connect you to the right specialists for your particular circumstances.
There’s more to recovering from crack addiction than merely deciding not to take the drug again. Withdrawal can be unpleasant and even life threatening. The psychological implications are massive and could be permanent, and the risks of relapsing are higher than in most drugs.
With the help of professionals, you increase your chances of a successful recovery. At your first appointment, you’ll be interviewed about your drug use and your medical history. This is to help us draw up a personalised treatment plan, carefully tailored for you.
Which Treatments Work for Crack Cocaine Addiction?
There are a number of treatments available at rehab centres for crack cocaine addiction, though there’s no ‘one size fits all’ treatment plan. Achieving success at recovery requires bespoke, individualised treatment plans, as different treatments work for different people.
There are presently no approved medicines for crack addiction. However, some behavioural, psychotherapeutic and educational treatment options have been deemed effective. These include:
- Talking Therapies: Conversational therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) seek to address thoughts and beliefs that affect your moods and actions. This method of treatment follows the premise that thoughts facilitate emotions, which go on to dictate behaviour. CBT provides you with the skills needed to avoid relapse. You’ll learn to recognise high-risk situations and manage them appropriately.
- Motivational Incentives: This method involves rewards for achieving various recovery milestones and maintaining sobriety, with gift items such as vouchers that can be exchanged for healthy activities like cinema tickets and gym membership. It has been praised as an effective treatment method for crack addiction.
- Couples Therapy: Your therapist may recommend this treatment plan if you have a partner who doesn’t use crack.
Other Help for Crack Cocaine Addiction
You can receive other forms of help to aid your recovery, especially when you have completed your rehab. Your rehab clinic will typically offer aftercare and relapse prevention services when you are finished with rehabilitation. There are other forms of help you can access outside your rehab centre that can be of additional assistance.
Cocaine Anonymous: This is a support group modelled on the philosophy and practice of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is geared towards helping people with addiction problems understand what they face and encourages them to hand over their issues to a higher power, through a 12-step programme.
Community Programmes: You can try out various support groups around your community to connect with other addicts who are trying to rebuild their lives. In this setting, you can get insights on how other people are coping and learn new methods that can help you stay sober. You can also join community reinforcement programmes that employ a motivational incentives approach to foster healthy mentality for recovery.
Staying Close to Friends and Family: There’s no better support group than those who love you. As a recovering addict you need all the help you can get, especially from friends and family members who are willing to be there for you. They are the people who understand you on a personal level. Your addiction might have put a strain on the relationship between you and your family, but one amazing thing about recovery is how it enables you to repair damage caused by addiction.
Where Will I Have My Treatment?
The details of treatment depend on your level of addiction and individual situation, and this includes the venue for your treatment.
For severe addictions, you are advised to stay in a treatment facility to increase the likelihood of successful recovery, but out-patient treatment can be suitable if your addiction is mild. In this case you will need the support of family and friends, to assist you through recovery.
You can get treatment through hospitals, but the National Health Service does not provide inpatient treatment services. To get holistic treatment, you’ll need a fully-fledged, dedicated inpatient rehab clinic.
Inpatient Treatment: At an inpatient facility, you’ll be under close medical supervision with support around-the-clock. You’ll also have access to intensive individual and group therapy sessions for psychological treatment. From the time that your abstinence begins, your withdrawal will be managed and eased through medications and treatment. You’ll also be offered full detox assistance.
During post-detox, qualified professionals will be available to treat further issues and co-occuring psychological complications that may result from severe withdrawal.
Outpatient Rehab: Outpatient treatment can be beneficial if your addiction is mild or you’re uncomfortable staying away from home.
Depending on the severity of your addiction, you might be offered full medical supervision throughout the day, spending nights with your family. Other arrangements can be also be made to fit into your daily schedule.
You’ll get regular check-ups and undergo therapy sessions. Normally, you can choose between individual or group therapy sessions. You can even have both if you wish. If your addiction is severe, inpatient treatment will be recommended.
Luxury Rehab Services: In luxury rehab centres, you’ll be treated in a boutique environment with additional holistic therapies and recreational facilities. Luxury rehab provides services you may not find in standard residential rehab clinics. These centres are more expensive.
Does Treatment for Crack Cocaine Addiction Work?
Lots of addicts have recovered from crack addiction and gone on to lead healthy lives. Success in recovery depends on a number of factors, from being willing to seek help to choosing the kind of treatment plan and the rehab centre that is best for you.
There is no straightforward cure for crack addiction. Treatment is a process and requires a firm commitment on your part to be effective. You’ll get support from health experts and friends and family, but you’ll also need to self motivate, so that you don’t have to go through the harrowing ordeal of relapse and repeated withdrawal.
Treatment is also more likely to be successful if you get a plan that is tailored to your particular situation, medical history and personality. When treatment fails it is often because addicts are not matched with the ideal treatment plan for their situation. Your goal is to eliminate cravings, learn to get back to a more normal routine, and maintain a sober life. Remember, relapsing is not the end of the world. Although relapse is painful, many successfully recovering addicts have experienced it.
Information on Crack Cocaine Detox and Treatment
For safe withdrawal you are advised to seek professional detoxification help.
Detox is the first stage of treatment once you’ve been admitted to a rehab centre. The process can be painful, but with the help of healthcare personnel you can reduce the symptoms of withdrawal and successfully complete your detox.
Although some users choose to quit cocaine by going ‘cold turkey’, health professionals will often try to wean you off the drug gradually, to limit withdrawal severity. Going cold turkey without medical care can be risky; clinical detox can dramatically reduce the risks.
Treatment can be sought through the NHS or from dedicated rehab facilities. These are entirely focused on providing bespoke care to help you transition from detox to further treatment stages in a medically controlled environment.
What is Crack Cocaine Detox?
Crack cocaine detox involves getting rid of cocaine toxins from the body. This can be attempted at home or in a clinic. Self-detox is risky and can cause severe psychological complications.
The first step in recovering from addiction is to get clean with detox, and this is followed by therapy to help overcome the temptation to use again, in the post-detox stages of your treatment.
Medically Assisted Crack Cocaine Detox
This involves the use of medication to help you through the detox process. Although there are no medicines approved specifically for cocaine detox, other drugs can be prescribed to help manage withdrawal symptoms.
Medically assisted detox is important, as it can help make the detox and withdrawal stages safe and bearable for you. It can also help to minimise co-occuring issues, such as depression or anxiety.
Medications used in detox
Notwithstanding the absence of medicines that directly clear cocaine from your body, several pharmaceutical drugs are commonly used to relieve symptoms of withdrawal during detox. Some of these drugs include:
- Baclofen, a drug that helps to relax the muscles and reduce the intensity of cravings
- Propranolol, which may be helpful in treating agitation, anxiety and hypertension
- Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant
Other drugs are also used to limit the effects of psychological symptoms, while antidepressants and anticonvulsants have shown promise in reducing the risks of relapse.
Research is ongoing to find medicines that can specifically treat crack addiction. Researchers are even trying to develop a vaccine to counter the euphoric effects of cocaine.
Crack Cocaine Detox: What to Expect
Detox from cocaine, especially the freebase form (crack), can be challenging. Be prepared and try to maintain focus on your ultimate goal – freedom from crack addiction.
During detox you may be prescribed medication to help with depression, anxiety and other withdrawal symptoms.
You may also be given vitamin and other supplements to help support your general health, which often suffers because of poor nutrition and disordered sleep linked to crack abuse.
No matter how tough detox is, you will get support and care every step of the way.
Detoxing from Crack Cocaine at Home
Successfully detoxing from home are is difficult and high risk. Withdrawal from crack is very challenging and there is a high risk of relapse.
Your chances of successful home detox are boosted if your addiction isn’t too severe, but this approach is still difficult. If you have no other option but to detox at home, keep friends or family close, eat a nutritious diet, keep away from other addictive substances like alcohol, and try to get plenty of rest. Do not be afraid to seek help immediately if withdrawal symptoms become overwhelming.
Dangers of Detoxing at Home
Detox and withdrawal are complex processes with multiple health impacts. Without medical supervision, you are at heightened risk from physical and psychological complications, including:
- Mental health problems
- Neurological complications
A common symptom of cocaine withdrawal is hallucinations, including auditory, visual and tactile ones. Sufferers may struggle to distinguish fiction from reality, and this can be dangerous. Hallucinations can also cause heightened levels of anxiety and paranoia.
Detoxing at home also requires you to take the ‘cold turkey’ approach, which exposes you to strong withdrawal symptoms, which may endanger your health.
The safest way to get through a detox is under medical supervision. The best option is to go to a rehab centre. Counselling services can help guide you to a suitable centre and make the necessary arrangements with discretion.
How Long Does Crack Cocaine Detox Take?
The duration of crack cocaine detox depends on you, and varies from individual to individual.
Withdrawal symptoms begin a few hours after last use and peak in the first 72 hours. Symptoms begin to fade in the following days and weeks.
The time you spend in detox depends on the factors such as:
- Your general health
- Length and frequency of crack use
- Level of addiction
- How you respond to medication
- How prepared you are psychologically
Detox may take from a few days to weeks, depending on the factors above. Another important factor is the kind of detox program you’re on. Outpatient detox could possibly take longer than inpatient treatment, as you won’t be under full supervision.
Remember that detox is just the introductory stage of your whole treatment and perhaps the toughest. The psychological and emotional strength that you’ve shown to get through detox will serve you well in the latter stages of treatment and recovery.
Crack Withdrawal and Detox: Symptoms, Medications and Treatment
Crack withdrawal does not typically incur life-threatening physical symptoms, but the psychological implications can be severe. The severity and occurrence of symptoms varies according to level of addiction, and medical status. Common symptoms include:
- Increased need for sleep
The timeline for detox also varies from person to person. If you do not respond well to treatment, or if your addiction is severe, your detox may be longer than normal. Other factors that may affect the duration of detox include your medical history and status, and any co-occuring symptoms.
Medications specifically designed for detoxification do not currently exist, but drugs are available to manage symptoms. These include antidepressants, anticonvulsants and beta blockers.
Treatment of crack cocaine starts with detox, but it is only the first stage. After detox, most of your withdrawal symptoms should diminish, but cravings will continue to build. This is why the post-detox treatment stages aim to equip you with skills to combat cravings.
Crack Detox Process
Medically supervised detox is intended to help clear cocaine from your body in the safest and least uncomfortable way. Although you will definitely experience difficult symptoms, it is still the best way to detox.
In the detox centre you will undergo a full examination and interview with regards your state of addiction, medical history, and tolerance level. Depending on the severity of your addiction and how much your body can handle, you may be weaned off the drug gradually, until you reach total abstinence. In milder cases, your doctor could choose to take you off crack cocaine ‘cold turkey’ and monitor your progress carefully.
Why Detox is a Must
You have to go through detox if you wish to recover from crack addiction. Until the substance has completely cleared from your system, your recovery cannot begin.
Withdrawal is unpleasant, but rehab clinics work to ensure your symptoms are managed and reduced as much as possible.
Care Programmes and Treatment Facilities
There are a number of care programmes that can help you through your recovery process, especially post-rehab. These include:
- Twelve-step therapy (which is based on the model of Alcoholics Anonymous) to help cocaine addicts recover fully and avoid relapse by addressing character flaws and submitting to a higher power
- Community reinforcement: This programme offers you incentives for staying sober and fosters a positive mentality to help you you maintain sobriety
- Group therapy (under the guidance of a professional therapist)
At an inpatient facility that offers full residential treatment plans, you’ll be monitored round-the-clock during detox and have access to different therapies.
At an outpatient facility your therapy take place during appointments on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.
There are also luxury rehab centres with boutique surroundings and state-of-the-art facilities that you won’t find in standard centres.
Crack Cocaine Rehabilitation Programme
Rehab for crack cocaine involves a number of therapeutic activities including group and individual therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational incentives.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy aims to address your behaviour and beliefs and how they affect your actions and moods. This method equips you with the ability to spot relapse triggers and avoid them.
Motivational incentives is a therapeutic method that involves rewarding you with gifts as you your sobriety progresses.
You may also have access to one-on-one therapy sessions with an expert counsellor. During individual therapy a counsellor may coach you on changing your habits and how to cope without crack cocaine.
How to Care for Someone Going Through Crack Withdrawal
People seeking to recover from crack addiction need extra care and support. They have made mistakes and poor decisions but they may be willing to make amends. The best support you can give them is to suspend judgement or blame.
Providing help might mean staging an intervention, offering to help them through rehab, helping with finance or keeping them busy.
You can also make yourself available for therapy if their therapists recommend it.
This is also called Contingency Management. It motivates addicts to stay sober by rewarding them with gift vouchers that can be exchanged for healthy activities like shopping, eating out or cinema tickets. This programme has been shown to be an effective means of treating cocaine addiction.
You can access free resources such as support groups, faith based programmes and programmes organised by community based organisations after your rehab, or if you can’t afford long-term residential treatment.
Key Facts about Crack Abuse
Crack gives a fast-acting euphoric high , which takes effect within ten seconds. But the euphoria is short-lived and crack can rapidly lead to addiction as users get locked into a vicious cycle of increasing drug use, with crippling consequences for their physical, psychological, social and financial health.
Rehab Centres Near You
Choosing a rehab centre close to you makes it easier to stay close to loved ones. Look for one that best suits your needs.
What Kind of Medication Will My Doctor Prescribe?
Your doctor may prescribe medications based on the symptoms you exhibit and their severity. For example, anticonvulsants like gabapentin may be administered in cases of seizures.
You may go through your entire detox without needing drugs. Supplements and extra nutrients might be recommended.
What Makes Crack Cocaine Addiction So Hard to Beat?
Crack addiction is hard to beat because the drug is very potent, thanks to its chemistry and the mode of delivery: because it is smoked it gets into the bloodstream very rapidly. It provides an intense but fleeting high.
How Long Does Detox Last?
Detoxification can typically last for days or weeks.
What is Crack Withdrawal?
Crack withdrawal is the set of cravings and unpleasant symptoms that manifest when you stop using crack.
What are the Drawbacks of Medication Therapy for Crack Cocaine?
Drugs used to help in crack cocaine treatment, such as anticonvulsants, may have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Drugs like vigabatrin and gabapentin frequently cause drowsiness, nausea and dizziness.
Antabuse or Disulfiram can have side-effects such as impotence, acne, rashes, fatigue, nausea and drowsiness. It’s important that your doctor reviews potential drug interactions and side-effects with you.
What are Some Popular Slang or Street Names for Crack Cocaine?
Street and popular slang names for crack cocaine include: jelly beans, gravel, dice, nuggets, rocks, piece, candy, cookies, base, grit, hail, sleet, tornado and chemical.
Are There Any Home Remedies for Safely Getting Clean?
There are no home remedies for safely getting clean at home. Home detox is dangerous and mostly unsuccessful.
Is Detox from Crack Dangerous?
If you choose to detox without professional help, it can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Detoxing under medical supervision is the safest means of detoxification.
Why Detoxing at Home Can Be Harmful
Home detox can result in severe symptoms which could leave you with permanent psychological and even neurological damage.
What Else Can I Do to Succeed at Crack Cocaine Recovery?
As well as a holistic, medically supervised treatment plan, try to avoid company that may reintroduce you to crack or other drugs. Adopt a healthier lifestyle with a nutritious diet. Use support groups.
Does Withdrawal Last Long?
The duration of withdrawal depends on your level of use. It can last for days or weeks.
What Are the Effects of Crack Cocaine Withdrawal?
Effects of crack cocaine withdrawal include:
- Mood swings
- Extreme cravings
- Strong need for sleep
What Are the Different Types of Crack Cocaine Detox?
The different types of detox for crack cocaine are inpatient detox and outpatient detox.
Inpatient detox involves going through the detoxification process in a residential setting, where you will be supervised 24 hours a day.
Outpatient detox involves receiving detox treatment by appointment. This method is better if you have a mild addiction or want to stay close to your family.
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