Friday October 24th 2014

How long does crack withdrawal last?

Crack withdrawal includes physical and psychological symptoms. But you can go through withdrawal, one of a few signs of crack addiction, almost every time you use.  While physical symptoms usually resolve within a week, or so, cravings for cocaine can persist for weeks or months after last use. More here on the duration of crack withdrawal, addictive qualities of crack, and what you can do to treat them. Then, we invite your questions about getting off crack at the end.

How long until crack withdrawal starts?

Crack is a form of cocaine that is smoked and is popular among drug users who want to get high immediately. Crack smokers begin to feel euphoric immediately after inhaling crack. But crack is highly addictive and withdrawal can begin shortly after effects wear off. This is often why crack abusers will do anything to get another hit.

Physical withdrawal symptoms from crack addiction may not last more than a week. However, there are many psychological issues that arise due to crack use. Psychological withdrawal symptoms of crack persist for many after you stop taking the drug. Symptoms of crack withdrawal can include paranoia, impulsivity, terror of impending death, hyper sexuality, bronchitis, extreme weight loss, lung cancer, spitting up black phlegm, brain seizures, heart attack and many more dangerous effects.

Crack withdrawal timeline

24 – 72 hours

Within twenty four to seventy two hours you may start to experience paranoia and tactile hallucinations like skin crawling. Many people report hearing sirens or people talking. This will make you extremely alert to the point of being paranoid and suspicious of everyone and everything around you.

Week 1

During the first week after you begin withdrawal from crack, you may attempt to convince yourself that you are cured and that you no longer need treatment. This is the time where most people let their guard down. It is during this period that fatigue has worn off and you start feeling more healthy. However, cravings persist and can lead to relapse. Crack withdrawal symptoms can typically last from 1-3 weeks and may also consist of apathy, irritability, disorientation, hunger, fatigue, and long periods of sleep.

Week 2

After two weeks of crack withdrawal, you may experience acute drug hunger and depression. The brain will have produced enough dopamine for you to want to smoke more crack, but not enough to affect your emotions and restore you to a happier state of mind. Alternating low and high drug craving, low to high anxiety, paranoia, and dysphoria (intense dissatifaction with life), are common during this time.

Weeks 3-4

After three to four weeks you can expect frequent changes in moods and your body will be chemically off balance without you being conscious aware of it. Psychological craving for crack persists and can be accompanied by anxiety and/or depression.

How long do crack withdrawal symptoms last?

Crack withdrawal symptoms can last up to six months or longer if you were a heavy user. Symptoms last longer for heavy users. The amount of crack you used determines the severity and length of the withdrawal period that you will experience. Seeking medical attention for untreated mental health disorders and to get your brain back in balance is recommended. Psychiatrists and addiction specialists can help, as can cocaine rehab centers and/or support groups.

Crack withdrawal: how long?

How long crack withdrawal lasts depends on how heavy of a user you were and how frequently you smoked crack. If you were a heavy user, crack withdrawal can last for months or longer. People who have used crack for long periods of time may also experience PAWS, or post acute withdrawal syndrome. PAWS occurs when the brain has been damaged to the point where it will take an extended amount of time to repair and get back to normal. Many drug abusers relapse during this time because they cannot handle the stress of PAWS. Symptoms of PAWS will appear usually three to six months after cessation of crack.

Crack withdrawal duration questions

If you have more questions about how long crack withdrawal lasts, please ask them in the comments section below. We will try to respond promptly and personally. And if we don’t know the answer to your question, we will refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources:  NCBI: Cocaine and Psychiatric Symptoms
Veteran’s Affairs: Treatment of Acute Intoxication and Withdrawal from Drugs of Abuse
NHTSA: Cocaine

Photo credit: zeeweez

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12 Responses to “How long does crack withdrawal last?
Mark
1:36 pm March 10th, 2014

Hi, I’ve been smoking crack for about 6 weeks now. I use everyday smoking about .2 of a gram n lately on some days .4 of a gram. I stopped for a week about 2 n half weeks ago n started again. My question is how long will my withdrawal last approximately and how severe will the symptoms be?

12:55 pm March 11th, 2014

Withdrawal duration and severity differ by person. Generally, the extreme fatigue should pass in the first week, or so after use. But cravings can linger for weeks or months. Have you sought medical help through a rehab center or outpatient clinic? Psychotherapy can help guide you AWAY from future crack use, and into a life of abstinence and contentedness.

Tamika
12:29 am June 2nd, 2014

I have a friend who is going through an extreme depression lately. Apparently on the 30th which was 2 days ago, the guy she was with drug her down with him and introduced her to crack. I’m unsure of how much she was smoking. It has been at least 12 hours since her last hit. I found out this morning and went and got her. I brought to my home where my children are. I want to help here but I don’t know where to begin or what I should do. Please give me some suggestions for getting my friend back on track. She is exhibiting some withdrawal symptoms and appears to be having cravings. I had hoped it was a joke but I can see that it is real. Please, please help us!

12:45 pm June 2nd, 2014

Hi Tamika. I know that you want to help your friend. The best thing to do is to get her professional help. Withdrawal is associated with VERY strong cravings. Rather than put your children through witnessing the potential difficulty, seek help by referring your friend to a detox clinic. Medical professionals will monitor her 24-7 and offer emotional support.

DMV
6:51 am July 4th, 2014

I was introduced to a guy I started hanging out with and I suffer form extreme depression issues. Have been using large amounts of crack for about 4 years. Over the last six months it has gotten to be increasingly more…after just a few hours of not smoking I get physical sickness so, I use ‘cuz I’m afraid of what is going to happen. What do I do to stop and how long can the withdrawal last ?

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
12:54 pm July 4th, 2014

Hi DMV. Crack withdrawal can last for about a month or so, the fist 2-3 day being the worst. But the withdrawal symptoms can last up to six months or longer if you were a heavy user. You can ease the withdrawal symptoms by Joining Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous, walking or cycling, and concentrating on eating a healthy diet, psychotherapy, social interactions with friends and family. Before you quit, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Doctors can help you by prescribing some medications to ease withdrawal symptoms, or even refer you to a detox clinic or addiction treatment center in your area.

TINA
6:49 pm July 7th, 2014

I have been clean for about 13 years and relapsed for about 3 months long. At first I was not using daily. Only about 2 to 3 times a week . In the last 2 weeks it was daily, about $60 to $100 a day. I am clean now for 8 days. I do get bad mood swings and feel a lot of anger. I know this is because of my crack usage. I just wonder do I fall in the 3 to 4 week period or am I going to be one of those that have mood swings for months? I hate I did what I did but fortunately I do know what life s like without crack so I know I can do this because I want to live more than I want to die. I just wanted an idea how much longer my loved ones have to put up with my irrational behavior and when I start to feel better. Thank you for your time and what you all do for people like me.

Golan
4:45 pm August 10th, 2014

Hi my question is. My girlfriend smoked what I think is crack she said crystle, I’m in israel now Sobieski what it is but she’s not not it for 15 hours or so and she has no apitaite for food is that common ??
She can only drink and she’s hot and cold ??
Thank u.. Golan

Dennis
1:43 am September 21st, 2014

I have a friend that went to a treatment center two weeks ago to get help with her crack problem. The first week she had a very good attitude and I can tell the she is feeling more depressed and upset as time goes on. Would it be better if I just left her alone or should I call her to give her some support at the treatment center.

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
9:59 am September 22nd, 2014

Hi Dennis. You can call the treatment center and speak to a doctor or a nurse and get their opinion on whether you should talk to her or not. I believe they will put the two of you on the line, since support from the closest is very important in recovery.

gabe
8:44 pm October 14th, 2014

my friend is on crack how do I get her off

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
2:49 pm October 17th, 2014

Hi Gabe. You can have an open conversation and say that you’ll help if she’s willing to stop. You can also plan an intervention. Whether she’s willing to quit crack or not, every drug cessation starts with detox. You can get more ideas, here: http://drug.addictionblog.org/crack-detox-treatment/

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