Ready to stop doing crack? Ways to quit crack safely

Is cold turkey withdrawal from crack always advised? We review the steps you can take to safely stop taking crack here.

minute read

Have you made up your mind to stop using crack and wonder how can you quit safely, you’ve come to the right place. Deciding to quit crack and seek help may be the hardest part of addiction recovery, but it is also the best call you can make for yourself. But how can you prepare for withdrawal and detox from crack?

After using any form of cocaine daily or almost daily, you should be prepared for withdrawal symptoms to occur when you quit or lower your dose. In this text we will explain what you can expect when you stop using crack and how you do so safely. In the end, we invite your questions and comments, and we try to respond to all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly.

Can you stop taking crack suddenly?

It may be difficult to just stop taking cocaine in cases of daily or few times weekly dosing. Frequent use usually results in physical dependence to cocaine, which means that your body has adapted to the drug and the normal production of neurotransmitters in the brain has been thrown out of balance. If you are dependent on cocaine and just stop taking it cold turkey, the abrupt chemical change manifests a number of physical and mental symptoms which can be very uncomfortable.

If you aren’t sure whether your body has developed dependence on the drug, reflect on dosage. Have you increased the amount or the frequency of crack use in order to feel the effects cocaine once used to produce? If YES, then you may have developed tolerance to the drug. In these cases, the best way is to stop may be to gradually decrease dose amount or frequency. By tapering crack cocaine, you will give your body a chance to adapt to the absence of the drug slowly, over a period of time. Thus, the withdrawal symptoms you experience will be far milder and more bearable. Still, some professionals recommend cold turkey withdrawal to avoid relapse.

What happens when you stop smoking crack?

Once regular crack use is stopped or decreased, you can expect to go through a period of withdrawal as your central nervous system (CNS) reacts to the absence of crack. Chronic or habitual cocaine use influences the production of neurotransmitters and increases the release of the happy hormone – dopamine, hence its pleasurable effects. So, stopping crack after using it for a while will cause an emergence of withdrawal symptoms which can last for days, weeks, or months. What’s more, people have a hard time to feel pleasure again as a result of the decreased dopamine level.

Side effects when you stop taking crack

Quitting crack goes hand in hand with a number of withdrawal effects. Here is a list of what can someone who stops taking crack can expect during the withdrawal period:

  • aggression and violent incidents
  • agitation
  • anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure)
  • anxiety
  • crack cravings
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • flu-like symptoms
  • irritability
  • lack of motivation
  • mood swings
  • musculoskeletal pains
  • paranoid feelings
  • psychosis, hallucinations and other mental disturbances
  • restlessness
  • sleep disturbances and vivid nightmares
  • suicidal feelings

The severity and duration of these symptoms is proportional with the level of crack dependence. If you have been using cocaine for a while now, instead of attempting to go through detox on your own, you can reach out to medical professionals. Staying under medical surveillance during the beginning, acute stages of detox, can be the difference between a relapse and successful recovery.

Can you quit crack on your own?

You might. But, it’s not recommended.

Sudden cessation of crack can trigger intense withdrawal symptoms and a strong urge to use cocaine again. Crack has highly addictive properties, so your body and mind experience a strong desire for cocaine once it starts to leave the system. As you are starting to crave the drug, withdrawal symptoms occur and make it even harder for you not to use again. This is why emotional and psychological support is crucial during this time. Detox clinics will often refer you to counseling or support groups to help you through the first days of withdrawal.

Quitting crack cold turkey

Quitting crack cold turkey described the abrupt cessation of crack and the unpleasant experience that results from doing so. Cold turkey withdrawal from crack is the opposite of gradually easing the process through slower reduction over a period of time, with the help of replacement medication.

There are people who have successfully stopped crack cold turkey, but it can be both psychologically and physically difficult. Moreover, sudden withdrawal can be dangerous, and this is why it’s recommended to seek help from medical professionals before you attempt to do this on your own.

How to quit crack cocaine?

Start by consulting a medical or mental health professional, or an addiction professional for advice on community and medical resources. You can seek help from professionals such as a:

  1. licensed clinical social worker
  2. medical doctor who specializes in addiction
  3. certified psychologist
  4. psychiatrist

These professionals can help you find the right kind of treatment program that fits your needs and that can provide medical help, psychotherapy, and emotional support. The first stage of addressing possible addiction to crack is to “clean” your body from the toxins that have accumulated. This stage of the recovery is also known as detox and it’s the most critical one since symptoms of withdrawal are most intense during this period. While the duration of time it takes for crack withdrawal to end varies by user, it’s highly recommended that you seek medical assistance. This way, you may have the symptoms monitored and have best chances for recovery.

Stop taking crack safely

The safest way to stop taking crack is by following professional guidelines under medical surveillance. Medical detox is considered the safest way to stop taking crack safely, as physical and psychological symptoms can be addresses as they appear. Together, this treatment can decrease the chances of relapse. Do consult a medical professional before beginning any detox plan and follow their instructions.

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How to stop taking crack questions

Did we answer what you wanted to know about the ways you can stop crack use? We invite your questions if you want to know more. We try to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate comments and inquiries.

Reference Sources: NCBI: Outpatient treatment of ‘crack’ cocaine smoking with flupenthixol decanoate. A preliminary report.
NCBI: Cocaine and Psychiatric Symptoms
NCBI: Among long-term crack smokers, who avoids and who succumbs to cocaine addiction?
Clinical Trials: Contingency Management Treatment for Crack Addiction
U.S. Government Accountability Office: The Crack Cocaine Epidemic: Health Consequences and Treatment
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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