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How long does crack withdrawal last?

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

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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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37 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 ?

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.

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

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/

lynn
3:01 pm October 26th, 2014

Im trying to trust my husband. He has been off crack for three months. The other day he fell asleep on the couch and talked jibberish in his sleep. Later after actualy going to bed he could not get an errction and talked all night in his sleep. When we woke up he still could not get an errection. In fact his penis was the smallest ive ever seen it. Do you think Im being paranoid now?

Dormay
6:48 am November 7th, 2014

my father was a crack addict,,,and while my daughter went to the house to see him,,,she found him and a disgustng and terrible sitiuatiion,,like he couldn’t stop peeing ….peeing in bed,,,,2 days with high fever,,,,dihyrdated and anxiety ,,,,2 months has passed in 2 days time,,,,with it he had an invertention on his heart …a Valve and a spring…..all the symtoms mentioned above already occured though he is still disturbed he is in intensive care and doctors had to cale him don but putting him to sleep…and a machine is helping him to breath…cause he cannnot make it ..breathing by himself…how can i be of any help pls…im so depressed….thank God for peope like you,,,God bless

Missy
11:45 am November 13th, 2014

My boyfriend and I have lived togather 25 years this drug crack is so bad I”ve put him out he’s been staying from pillar to past mostly at the mission I’m ashamed of him yet love him and have ran out of options except I can’t let him bring me down I’m going tto ask one more time for him to check in or the kids grandkids and I are moving on never looking back on someone so selfish

Riki
7:21 pm December 9th, 2014

My boyfriend was a crack smoker before I might him and was still using up to 5 months after we started dating he promised to stop for me and he did but now it has been 7 months clean for him but I am worried he might be showing signs of PAWS- My question is if he was smoking it once a week for 2 months and once a month for 3 months would he be showing sign of PAWS

Lynn
12:29 am December 14th, 2014

I am in the same situation as Riki. My husbannd smoked every day for two months. He’s been clean since the beginning of August. He sleeps through the night but is talking in his sleep every night. He never did that before. Is this PAWS?

david
12:28 am December 31st, 2014

Hi, my name Is david.i was addicted to crack for about 10 years didnt do it every day though, just on and off.i finally stopped doing it a year ago.ive been faced with alot of challenges.my body aches all the time.i have muscle spasms, numerous head aches, I have axciety and depression issues, that im taking drugs for, im always ittchy.im felling very fatigued.i wanna know if these are symptoms of bieng off the crack.i just wanna know what I can expect.

3:00 pm December 31st, 2014

Hello David. Fatigue is definitely a symptom of cocaine withdrawal. I’d suggest that you check in with a doctor for a full medical exam and for referral for psychological help; you don’t need to quit crack on your own, but could benefit from a support group or a community of people who have already successfully been off drugs for a while.

marcus
5:12 pm January 4th, 2015

I have a friend that is a long time crack cocaine user she wants to stop but can’t. based on what I’ve been reading it sounds like she is going to need long term treatment in a treatment facility she is physically and psychologically dependent on crack cocaine. I need to get her into a treatment facility but she does not have insurance. Can you recommend an inpatient facility in Houston texas that will help her.

5:04 pm January 14th, 2015

Hi Marcus. Your friend is lucky to have you! Now, first of all, I’d like you to explore the options for treatment for people who don’t have any health insurance. You can learn more here: http://addictionblog.org/FAQ/insurance/addiction-treatment-for-the-uninsured/ and for the location of the treatment center, you can use these search tools to find one that will fit your friends needs best: http://addictionblog.org/find-treatment/ or https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

KG
5:12 am January 17th, 2015

I have never used this drug but my boyfriend has in his past. Can you describe what cravings are for those that quit using but still have these at times. How long will these continue??
Anything on cravings would be appreciated.
Thank you

4:01 pm January 20th, 2015

Hi KG. Protracted withdrawal symptoms from crack cocaine can be experienced for 6 months and up to 2 years since completely quitting the drug. How long will the symptoms last and how severe the protracted withdrawal will be depends upon type, amount, and frequency of use. Low impact exercise and a good nutrioton program can help him with cravings, as well as counselling sessions or group meetings.

ampie
9:04 am February 26th, 2015

Ive been clean from crack for 26 months n still see things. I use for 26 years on n off,when I used I did it every day continually n I still hellucinate. Any idea how long will I see things?

Cynthia
4:00 am March 6th, 2015

Can i die from the witdrawls? Is there a free rehab that i can go to.

3:34 pm March 12th, 2015

Hello Cynthia. Every withdrawal is different, but is rarely life-threatening. The duration and severity of the withdrawal symptoms depend on amount of use, duration (over time) of use, frequency of use, level of crack cocaine dependency, your general health, level of hydration, etc. Another determining factor is how psychologically ready you are to quit using. To search for rehabs in your area and select payment options that wont cost you ‘an arm and a leg’ click on the following treatment locators: http://addictionblog.org/find-treatment/ or https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

tony
2:02 am March 25th, 2015

hi my name is Tony I’ve been smoking crack since I was about 21 years old I’m 47 now and I am so sick of using I used to use daily when I first started ….that’s when I used to sell ityou got to the point where I couldn’t even sell it anymore I was too busy using….then it came true vintage ale wants in and out of rehab so I don’t know how many times I stop for a while 6 months 8 months 6 months 5 months back and forth just to pick up again….now I’m at the point for the last 2 years I do or just about every two weeks

kellie
7:37 am March 27th, 2015

I only use twice a month. My kids father got me hooked on crack. I want to get off but I don’t know how and I don’t have support. What can I do

11:08 am March 27th, 2015

Hi Kellie. Quitting crack isn’t the easiest thing you’ll do, but it is very possible. You will need professional medical help, though. I’d advise you to seek your doctor’s advise and then start your search for a detox clinic or a treatment facility near your area that fits your payment possibilities, health insurance, needed treatment etc., here: http://addictionblog.org/find-treatment/ and here: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
Don’t forget that after the treatment program is done, you still need to stay committed to your recovery, go to counseling meetings or group therapy sessions. That way you will raise your chances of staying sober long-term. Good luck to you, Kellie!

Lewis
2:34 am March 28th, 2015

This is so much bullshit lol.. I have been a heroin and crack addict for years, and one thing I can categorically tell you is that withdrawals from Crack do not exist! I once spent 12 months smoking Crack Cocaine everyday, obviously there was days where I couldn’t get any money, but pretty much. On those day where I couldn’t get any money, I wasn’t ill lol and when I finally stopped, because I moved away, there was no withdrawals, only mental cravings. Believe me I know what withdrawals feel like because I have been a heroin addict too.., It just so happened that at that time I wasn’t using heroin, only crack, and believe me, there is no withdrawals. Every single person I know that is also an addict will agree too. It’s almost offensive hearing people complain about withdrawals because its obviously just a placebo… they do not exist!!!!
Physical dependence on crack? I dont care what science you show me, I have experienced it myself! Of course it is possible to experience phsycological issues like hallucinations but argghhh! Physical withdrawals? Its actually offensive… Crack is the most addictive drug I have ever taken, and it continues to give me problems, but if i want to stop, the only problem I will have is mental cravings… and thats the same for everyone. The power of the mind if obviously extremely strong!

calvin
8:06 am April 28th, 2015

Everytime I call one of these crisis hotlines all I get is private facilities that only care about what insurance I have! I want help and um reaching out for it but it seems hopeless. I dont know wat to do!

11:03 am April 28th, 2015

Hi Calvin. All medical facilities have expenses, that your health insurance will help cover. The point is to set up a treatment plan that fits your needs best, and that won’t leave you in debt. That’s why treatment programs need this kind of info – to set up a payment plan that you can afford. When dealing with addiction it’s one of the last things on your mind, but it is important for your life in recovery.

Craig
12:06 pm May 27th, 2015

I have been a drug addict for 23 years, I first used marijuana, lsd, mdma and then moved on to cocaine. I did cocaine for 8 years on average 8 grams a day, I then moved onto crack which I did eveyday for 9 years averaging a quater moon a day, sometimes half a moon (South African size description for crack) I then moved onto using ty white (heroine) using a tenth to two tenths of a gram a day and crack for roughly the last year. I died from a shot of heroine exactly five weeks ago, luckily my girlfriend, who is a long term heroine user, knew what to do and did CPR and brought me back to life. I tapered off my usage and two weeks later did cold turkey. Today I am 3 weeks and 1 day clean from herione and crack, however I am feeling worse now than ever. Intially I used 8mg Suboxone for 14 days. I stopped using them about a week ago. My doctor has prescribed a short term presciption of 10mg Valium and .25mg of Zanor to help me deal with my depression and general feeling of discontentment. What do you think of this?

3:10 pm May 27th, 2015

Hi Craig. Your doctor is definitely following the recommended guidelines for helping someone medically during withdrawal. Have you discussed any other aspects of recovery? Are you going to counseling or psychotherapy?

Craig
5:58 pm May 27th, 2015

I trained as a pastor, before all this, and I specialised in counselling and I went to rehab about 6 years ago. Even though I went to rehab purely to get a few clean days under my belt and re-nourish my body as I only weighed 54kgs at the time of admittance (I am 6″ tall and when I left school I weighed 80kgs), and I had started going blind from using to much crack and my liver and kidneys had started to shut down. At rehab I learnt wonderful tools to use to aid my recovery and I am putting them in practise today. I have recently started going back to church. I live in a very small coastal town which is a minimum of 200km of from any major center, there are no programs here for recovering addict except AA and the psychologists here don’t have a clue how to deal with someone here like me. I was doing well initially, detox was a breeze compared to how I feel now. I read up today about PAWS and a lot of the symptoms mentioned are what I am experiencing, memory loss, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, thoughts about just using because it seems easier than feeling like this, mood swings and anger and frustration. I am determined to stay clean for good, but hell, I feel like I am in hell.

4:41 pm June 12th, 2015

Hi Craig. PAWS are really a hell, but they come and go in periods. At least now you will know what’s happening when it happens. Those are all results of the disrupted and changed chemical balance in our organism. When experiencing the PAWS try to find yourself a strong support system that will keep you on the right track and ease the process.

olivia
10:49 am June 20th, 2015

Iv stopped smoking crack 2months ago I went trough stages of using every day then once week and just stopped completely I also had been a benzo addict and stopped taking them to and cut my methadone dose in half iv been HIV positive for over 10 years my status is undectable iv been on antiviral for six year maybe little bit less iv just realised how badly my body has been affected , my family tell me I imagine a lot of things that are not there I so body concious it affects my every day life will this stop over time or is it something i need to accept

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