How long does crack withdrawal last?

Are you addicted to crack or know someone who is? Physical symptoms of crack withdrawal usually resolve within a week. But psychological symptoms can persist for weeks or months after last use. More on how long crack withdrawal lasts and what you can do to help ease the effects here.

minute read

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.

Need help finding the best crack addiction treatment program for yourself or a loved one? Learn more about available rehabilitation options, what does the process look like, and what to do after rehab to maintain sobriety. More in this comprehensive guide on Crack Cocaine Addiction Treatment. 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
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.
I am ready to call
i Who Answers?