Crack detox symptoms

Crack detox symptoms start within a few hours after the last use, and can last for weeks and even months on end. What is crack detoxification like? Can you detox from crack cocaine safely? More, here.

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Crack is one of the most addictive drugs in modern history. Repeated use can lead to physical and psychological dependence, which means your body and brain crave the drug to be able to function normally. If you are ready to quit crack there are ways to quit safely, but chances are you will experience crack detoxification symptoms.

What symptoms can you expect when coming off the crystal rock form of cocaine? How long does detox from crack cocaine last? Find out what you can expect during the initial and later detox stages from crack here. Then, if you have any questions about detox symptoms that we have not covered in the article, please post them in the comments section at the end. We always try to answer legitimate questions personally and promptly.

Symptoms of crack detox

Symptoms of crack detox usually onset within couple of hours after the last dosing. These symptoms can last for days, weeks, and even months. The severity and duration of symptoms varies for each individual, but heavy users can expect to experience more intense effects that last longer.

Physical symptoms of crack detox peak in the first week and start to subside with each passing day.

Psychological symptoms of crack detox
can be more complicated. In fact, the brain’s adaptations make sobriety maintenance a lifelong process, as triggers may cause cravings even after years of successful recovery.

The most commonly experienced acute crack withdrawal symptoms include:

  • aggression
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • cravings
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • flu-like symptoms
  • impulsive behavior
  • increased appetite
  • irritability
  • lack of concentration
  • mood swings
  • sleepiness
  • suicidal thoughts
  • vivid dreams

While these withdrawal symptoms usually fade away within two weeks following cessation, post acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) can linger for a longer period of time. PAWS are common for heavy and long term users. They occur because continuous drug use alters the way our brains function, making the healing and restoration of normal brain functioning a process that can take 6 months or more. The most commonly experienced PAWS include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • insomnia

Protracted symptoms should be medically addressed by an addiction professional, psychologist, or psychiatrist. If left untreated, PAWS can make a person feel as if s/he is in a desperate, endless situation and increase the risk of relapse.

Crack detox side effects

To start detoxing your body from crack, you have to get ready to face and endure the symptoms of the upcoming period. Knowing that the side effects experienced during withdrawal WILL GET BETTER can help, but it can also be de-moralizing to feel stuck and helpless. So, what do we recommend?

How can you stop using crack? Regardless of whether you are a heavy or an occasional user, it is highly recommend that you talk to a medical professional prior to commencing the detox. Do not attempt stop crack suddenly or abruptly before consulting with a medical professional. Going cold turkey off crack cocaine on your own could have serious consequences.

Undergoing crack detox treatment under medical supervision is the safest and best way to quit the drug. Detox clinics have skilled teams of doctors and nurses that can monitor your state 24/7 and assist you medically in case of severe withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, you may benefit from the temporary prescription of drugs like antidepressants or even medicines that are used during alcohol/opiate withdrawal. Although no official medication is used specifically for crack withdrawal, seeking medical help before, during, and after detox can help!

Crack detox: How long?

Once you stop using crack, the first withdrawal symptoms usually appear within a few of hours, peak at about 72 hours, and persist for a few days, or weeks. There are predictable patterns about what happens during this period. Here is how long it takes to detox from crack generally.

0-72 hours

Between the time when you stop crack and through the following 3-4 days you will experience a “crash”. This period is characterized by the presence of symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, sleepiness and intense cravings. You may also feel depressed and have suicidal thoughts. It is highly recommended to be surrounded by medical professionals and/or close friends and family for safety and support.

1-2 weeks

In the first 1-2 weeks after cessation, people usually experience a persistent compulsive behavior to use again that gradually lessens with time. During this period, your brain is struggling to adjust to the absence of crack and you may experience severe cravings triggered by thoughts about using, being around people or places where crack is available, behaviors that remind you of your crack use, or even smells similar to the drug. People usually feel very hostile, impulsive behavior, irritable and moody during this period.

3-4 weeks

The phase after 3-4 weeks of sobriety you may experience what is called “the honeymoon phase”. By now you can expect cravings to be generally reduced and your mood improved. You start to feel energetic, confident and optimistic, and may think that your addiction is now in the past.

And, this is where most people are wrong!

It has been estimated that two-thirds of relapse in crack cases takes place within the first 3 months after you get clean. Addiction doctors suggest you should continue with ongoing psychological treatment after acute detox to increase chances of long-term sobriety.

Questions about crack detox

Do you still have questions about the symptoms of crack detox? Please leave your questions, comments or share your experience in the comment section below and we will answer promptly.

Reference Sources: GAO: DRUG ABUSE The Crack Cocaine Epidemic: Health Consequences and Treatment
NCBI: Cocaine and Psychiatric Symptoms
NIDA: Cocaine Treatment: Research and Clinical Perspectives
NIDA: How is cocaine addiction treated?
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Treatment of Acute Intoxication and Withdrawal from Drugs of Abuse
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. Hi, was never a big user until the last year, I used big amounts every 3-5days,o am now on day 5,I have intense back pain on my mi right side of my back. Is this part of it, I’m also experiencing mood changes and sleepless nights.

  2. I’ve been cold turkey for about 3 days now. I am experiencing severe headaches. Aspirin isn’t working nor Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

    1. Hi Corina. Going cold turkey off crack cocaine on your own could have serious consequences. Undergoing crack detox treatment under medical supervision is the safest and best way to quit the drug. I suggest that you call our helpline and let us help you find the best treatment option for you.

  3. I moved from my town to another where I know nobody to cleanse myself of my 8 month crack addiction.Im three months clean and bought a plane ticket yesterday to return home to my family.Since then I have been experiancing anxiety,thoughts of crack and am worried that I may relapse.Im wondering if three months has made me strong enough to return and keep fighting my addiction or if I’m just setting myself up for failure and should stay here longer and continue fighting this battle where I know I will stay children are at home….uggggg what do I do…

    1. Hi Amber. Three months clean is a big thing. Stay strong and don’t give in to your old habits. But, if you keep on experiencing anxiety and you think that you may relapse call the helpline displayed on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find the best rehab for you.

  4. hi ani. to answer your question is he high or detoxing is hard. I have a friend that as soon as he opens his eyes you would think he was on speed or something as he is left like that for to years of abuse to amphetamines aswell as other drugs. does he seen like he id raising his voice aswell as scratching? if so then I would tend to think he is under the influence.
    he also could be detoxing but 3 – 4 months down the line id tend to have a think about him eh…

  5. I have used most drugs starting in the early 90’s. I found that while I have used crack cocain just at the weekend’s aswell as everyday use.I come to the same conclusion each time with crack. I have no physical illness really at all unlike heroin detox. I found that crack detox is mainly a mental thing. does anyone agree

  6. What happen! It all started with the first hit. The smell of cotton candy, the buzz, the ringing in the ear. It was the best hit ever. Then the chase begins. It doesn’t end until you lose everything. After the last hit. The scratching, crawling begins. Looking for left over that you might have drop. After finding nothing. You are in shock. Don’t panic! Pickup that phone. Call that number. Help is on the way.

  7. My wife is an 8 year addict. .my problem is that most addicts are poor with no health insurance. Yet most treatment programs are geared towards people of means. Govt programs for the indigent are so overwhelmed and back logged that in most cases there is a waiting time from 3 to 12 months to get a bed. Meanwhile the addict lives in that toxic environment and never really gets treatment they need. A treat that identifies addictions as a simpton of physical and or emotional duress. Why is it not set up so people like myself who stand in the gap for their loved ones able to access better programs on a sliding scale where we might afford monthly payments until treatment costs ate met? Any thoughts or suggestions? Economic viability should not be the standard criteria to receive quality treatmebt. This crack pandemic affects so many people in so many ways. Including non users. I have petitioned court on behalf of my wife. I have been to drug courts and saw the addicts and their heartbroken families desperate to save the lives of their loved ones. Often going away with no hope or recourse.please respond. Thank you Mel

  8. I cant find a place so i am detoxing off crack alone. Its been a month so far. The only withdrawal symptoms i have is the crave and depression. Will I be able to keep going without treatment?

    1. Hi Kellie. Call the Cocaine Helpline listed here on 1-888-497-6879 to get in touch with dependable hotline professionals available 24/7.

  9. I’m just finishing day 4 of detox from crack with a slip yesterday so really finishing day 1. I’m in a safe place. No crack here; no crack users. My throat is very sore. I suspect it is infected.

  10. Hi my step son have been using crack for 5 years know he crying for help anytime we arrange for help he may get go once or twice after he stops so please the best things to help this guy

    1. Hi Redwan. Call the Cocaine Helpline on 1-888-497-6879 to get in touch with dependable hotline professionals available 24/7. You will be talking to someone knowledgeable about cocaine abuse, rehab and recovery centers who can help your step son find a recovery program that fits his needs.

  11. I am a counsellor. I have a client who says he has stopped taking alcohol and cocaine for 3 to 4 months now. He has been addicted to cocaine on and off for 20 years. I notice he fidgets in his chair a lot and scratches himself. He also talks very quickly. Does this behaviour indicate that he is still taking cocaine or are they signs of detox. I would be grateful if you could help me with this.

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Abi. It seems to me that these are signs of detox. Your client may be experiencing post-acute withdrawal symptoms(PAWS), which is also a crucial period that may cause relapse.

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