Crack detox is the process of getting the highly addictive drug out of your system entirely. Detox is a major step towards overall drug abuse recovery. Crack is a form of cocaine that can be smoked; it offers a short yet intense high. People tend to think crack and cocaine are different.

However, there are no pharmacological differences between them. The only difference is the way the drugs are taken. Powder cocaine is usually snorted, injected, or swallowed. Crack cocaine is usually smoked; it also tends to be cheaper. It’s a very popular drug in the U.S. and worldwide: according to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 1.9 million or 0.8 percent of the population aged 18 or older are current cocaine users.

Due to its highly addictive nature, detoxing from crack is dangerous, the risks are high, and the withdrawal symptoms can be almost unbearable. That’s why crack detox is recommended to be completed under medical supervision. In this expert guide, we are taking a deep look into what crack detox is, including its withdrawal timeline and symptoms, how the detox process will work, what to expect from crack detox, and where you can find help.

What Is Crack Dependence?

There are many different warning signs when it comes to crack dependence. The majority of the effects are intense. If you are questioning yourself or a loved one, watch out for any of these warning signs:

  • Frequent ‘smoke breaks’ 
  • Unable to hold a conversation
  • Hyperactivity 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Aggressive behavior 
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Restlessness
  • Burns on fingers/hands
  • Cracked/blistered lips caused by a hot pipe
  • Irresponsible 

Dependance can become extremely likely even after only using one time. One of the most notable dangers of crack is the fact that it is so addictive. It releases an excess of dopamine. From the first time you smoke crack, your brain will already start to rewire itself from finding the high pleasurable. Fast fact; crack cocaine use among high school students is a major problem. Nearly 4 percent of high school seniors in the United States used the drug at least once in their lifetime, and more than 1 percent used the drug in the past month, according to the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Survey.

How Long Does Crack Detox Take?

There are two different ways to get crack out of your system. The first one is stopping cold turkey, this option can be brutal due to dealing with the full brunt of withdrawal symptoms. The second option is going through a medical detox program. This is a safer option as the withdrawal from drugs is under medical supervision. You may also receive certain medications to relieve some of the symptoms that come with detox. The actual amount of time it takes crack cocaine to leave your system is relatively short. On saliva, urine, and blood tests, it’s about 24 to 48 hours. 

Crack Withdrawal Timeline

A crack withdrawal timeline can vary for each user and depends on multiple factors, including; chemistry, tolerance, severity, and duration of the addiction. It usually can begin to occur around 30 minutes to 72 hours after the last use of crack cocaine. The length of physical symptoms of withdrawal can last anywhere from one to three months. However, there is no exact timeframe, so it’s dependent on the user. If a user is experiencing symptoms that last more than 3 weeks are considered post-acute-withdrawal-symptoms (PAWS). The term PAWS was created to describe the cluster of ongoing withdrawal symptoms, which are psychological and mood-related. They continue after the acute withdrawal symptoms have gone away. These psychological symptoms of crack cocaine withdrawal can be intense, and there have even been reports of it lasting longer than 6 months.

After the first week of crack cocaine withdrawal, a former user will generally be recovered from the more extreme physical symptoms. This can lead to relapse, however, as former users will let their guard down once they feel ‘cured.’ This is why it’s important to choose a medical detox program with the help of medical professionals and counselors. 

Here’s a detailed list of what you may experience within hours to days to weeks after detoxing from crack:

  • 24-72 hours: symptoms may include paranoia, body ache, hallucinations, anxiety, cravings, insomnia, severe fatigue, irritability. After this period, hallucinations and paranoia usually subside.
  • Week 1- Other symptoms will start to set it, including irritability, extreme fatigue, trouble sleeping, lack of motivation. 
  • Week 2: Cravings will start to become more intense, and depression often sets in. This happens due to the brain reacting to the withdrawal process, which typically does not produce enough dopamine. Anxiety is also common during week 2.
  • Weeks 3-4: The body’s chemistry will still be changing leading to frequent mood swings. The physical craving for crack will subside, but the psychological cravings will remain along with feelings of anxiety and depression.

Crack Withdrawal Symptoms

Crack Withdrawal SymptomsCrack cocaine is a powerful, addictive drug both physically and psychologically. We went over the timeline of withdrawal symptoms, but now we want to take a look at the actual symptoms a former user may experience. When it comes to crack cocaine, there are two phases of withdrawal: acute withdrawal, which refers to the immediate symptoms, and post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS), referring to the extended psychological symptoms that can occur for weeks or months. First, let’s take a look at the initial physical symptoms. 

Physical Symptoms of Crack Withdrawal

Physical crack withdrawal symptoms are often compared to the flu.  Your body may be sore and achy. There’s also a chance for pulmonary issues. Let’s break down the withdrawal symptoms of crack cocaine even further by stages.

Stage 1: Commonly known as the crash. This usually sets in 24 hours after last use. Extreme symptoms can include; extreme fatigue, increased appetite, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and suicide.

Stage 2: The acute withdrawal stage begins anywhere from three to 14 days after last use. Symptoms include; intense cravings, anhedonia, difficulty concentrating, short-term memory loss.

Stage 3: The ‘extinction’ stage, known as the decrease in the frequency of the withdrawal symptoms. The intense cravings are either sporadic or related to a trigger. 

Other common acute withdrawal symptoms may include:

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

Psychological Symptoms of Crack Withdrawal

Psychological Symptoms of Crack WithdrawalPsychological symptoms can happen for weeks or even months longer for former users. Not everyone experiences these types of withdrawal symptoms. It’s important to note psychological symptoms are because of drug use and not a disorder or fundamental problem. There are instances the overuse and abuse of crack cocaine can lead to a worse psychological impact, affecting the brain. Let’s take a look at the most common psychological withdrawal symptoms.

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation or shaking
  • Cravings
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of motivation
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Anger or emotional outbursts

How to Detox from Crack

There are different ways to detox from crack, the best route to choose is medical detoxification. This provides a safe environment for withdrawal from drugs under medical supervision and counseling services. It’s easier and safer than doing it on your own. It is important to note that there is a difference between a detox program and a substance abuse rehabilitation center.

They are often used interchangeably, but a rehabilitation center involves a conglomeration of ongoing services intending to rehabilitate someone socially and psychologically from drug abuse. Medical detox centers look to medically stabilize patients, minimize withdrawal symptoms, prevent harmful effects of withdrawal, and then transition the former user into a rehabilitation program. Let’s look at the overall process of medical detox:

Check-In and Evaluation

Once you arrive at the detox center, clinical professionals will perform a thorough evaluation of the patients’ physical and psychological condition and history. The initial evaluation may also assess a person’s acute intoxication and withdrawal potential, biomedical conditions, etc.

Customized Crack Detox Plan

After the initial assessment, the clinical professionals will know what detoxification level of care will be needed and create a treatment plan. These plans vary by individuals due to the different factors and levels of care a person may need. No one person is the same when it comes to crack addiction.

Medical Stabilization

This stage in the detox process will be after the individualized treatment plan is created and prescribed therapies and medications are brought in to assist a patient through a withdrawal experience that is safe.

Post Detox Recovery

This part of detox increases a person’s chances of sustaining recovery and ultimately avoiding relapse. Detox alone is not sufficient in helping a person sustain long-term recovery. After detox is finished, it’s time to address the complex psychological and social aspects of substance abuse which can be done at a rehabilitation center. Whether that be short-term, long-term, or outpatient care. Each is a viable option to help sustain recovery. 

What to Expect in Crack Detox

Crack Withdrawal SymptomsWhen it comes to searching for a detox program, it’s important to find a center that specializes in treating crack addiction as it markedly improves the chance of full recovery. This is also the first step. So, what can you expect when entering a crack detox treatment center?

Medications will be used on you to help reduce or alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal for crack cocaine, as you might’ve already noticed from this guide, is brutal and can cause great emotional and mental strain. So, when in a detox program, expect therapists, counselors, and doctors to be on-hand and provide support and guidance. 

One thing that happens during detox is the withdrawal symptoms can lead to a depletion in one’s health. During detox, nutritional supplements, hydrations, healthy diets, and medications will be used on a schedule to help you get healthier. A detox program most likely will help with the acute withdrawal symptoms, whereas a rehab facility will help with the lingering post-acute withdrawal symptoms.

Who Needs Crack Detox?

If you are smoking crack, you need a crack detox. In the ‘crack dependence’ section of this guide, we mentioned telltale signs of addiction. On top of the ones mentioned above, we have a few more we want to go over. 

If you are seeking out the crack, you could benefit from a detox program. Anyone who is looking for a way to get it shows a sign of addiction. Why? Because, not only as an addict would you want it enough to seek it out under any circumstances, the drug causes significant problems. If you know the impact and effects and don’t care, it may be time to seek help.

Another telltale sign and perhaps the most obvious is denial. This denial can happen in two ways:

– vehemently denying the drug is the cause of any of their problems

–  denying the addiction itself

Anyone who smokes crack even once has the chance to become addicted. Although it’s impossible to say that crack can cause addiction after one hit, many users have described themselves as being hooked and wanting more after only one time.

Addiction to crack will depend on numerous factors, including; other substance abuse, genetic influences, environmental/psychological factors.

If you or a loved one even ‘thinks’ about getting help for crack addiction, try detox and see how it can help you on your road to recovery.

Finding a Crack Detox Center Near Me: What to Look Out For

It’s time to take that first initial step and find a crack detox center. When looking for the right one, it’s essential to choose one that specializes in crack cocaine. Due to its highly addictive nature, choosing the right one can make or break your addiction.

If you are having trouble finding a facility, reach out to us here at Pathfinders Recovery Center. We are skilled in selecting the right detox center, or rehab facility that fits your needs. Taking the first step in recovery can be challenging, but we are here to help, let us. 


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