How to Detox from Crack

Withdrawals, Symptoms and Effects

How to Detox from Crack

If you are addicted to crack, you are physically and psychologically dependent on it. This means you will experience crack withdrawal symptoms when you try to detox and quit. Crack is a more concentrated version of cocaine, which typically comes in powder form. This means both that crack is more potent, and that crack withdrawals are even more intense.

Using crack causes your brain and nervous system to change. This means that quitting triggers a “changing back” process, where your brain and body must readjust to living without crack. This may seem strange, since living with crack is unhealthy, but it is the reality of your situation. Crack

withdrawal is uncomfortable and even painful, and it brings various symptoms with it that you and your recovery team must be prepared to deal with.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Crack Use?

Abusing crack is a severe risk, because crack is a strong stimulant. It acts on the entire central nervous system, putting high stress on the lungs, brain, and heart as the pulse speeds up, the blood pressure rises, the muscles become tense, blood vessels constrict, and mood hormones are altered. Crack use nearly always comes with a major drop in quality of life.

Although you may have heard of crack use and abuse many times, it may not be so easy to tell when someone you know is actually using the drug. Identifying a crack abuser is usually even harder, because like all user, crack abusers try hard to keep their use a secret. Common physical signs and symptoms of crack use include:

  • Burns on lips, fingers
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Exhaustion
  • Heavy sweating
  • No or low appetite
  • Parkinson’s disease (in longtime users)
  • Premature aging

None of these symptoms alone can prove crack abuse, but in general, the more of these symptoms and signs you see in one person, the more likely it is that they are using. Moreover, the signs of crack abuse are not just physical. People who abuse crack usually also show changes in behavior, which you will surely recognize. Here are some behavioral symptoms and signs of crack addiction:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Defensiveness
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hallucinations, feeling of bugs crawling on skin
  • Hiding things
  • Hyperactivity, restlessness
  • Inability to sleep
  • Inflated sense of confidence, importance, and power
  • Isolation
  • Lying
  • Paranoia
  • Picking and scratching skin
  • Psychosis
  • Very talkative
  • Wild mood swings

Also keep an eye out for indirect symptoms and signs of crack addiction—this is behavior that isn’t directly about using crack, but often is connected to it, because it has to do with getting or using the crack itself:

  • Asks to borrow money frequently
  • Burn marks on aluminum foil or gum wrappers (from smoking)
  • Committing crimes to pay for drugs
  • Drinking heavily to calm down or sleep
  • Empty plastic pen cases (for smoking)
  • Frequent absences or disappearances
  • Missing or “lost” valuable possessions or money
  • Missing or “lost” prescription medications (that are sold for money or used to sleep or calm down after a binge)
  • Small metal or glass pipes
  • Tiny plastic bags with off-white rocks or residue
  • Unexplained jumps in mileage on car

What are the Risks and Effects of Crack Abuse?

Long-term crack use changes the physiology of the brain. Crack is extremely powerful and addictive, and it causes dependency quickly. It also produces dangerous psychological and physical effects. As a user’s tolerance grows, it takes more and more crack just to get the same effects, putting the user in more and more danger.

The physical risks and effects of crack abuse include:

  • Abscesses
  • Burns
  • Cold sweats
  • Convulsions
  • Coughing up black mucous
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Heart attack
  • Increased blood pressure and breathing rate
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lung damage
  • Malnutrition
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nose bleeds
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Skin infections
  • Death

The psychological risks and effects of crack abuse include:

  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Hyper-sexuality
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenic-like behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Violence

Crack Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the reasons that crack is so difficult to recover from is that it causes withdrawal symptoms. Some of these include:

  • Agitation
  • Angry outbursts
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Vomiting

These are unpleasant and may even be painful, but typically they are not life-threatening. However, they do make it very difficult to stay sober without support. The urge to relapse can feel overwhelming. The right crack detox program can assist you in getting past the worst of your crack withdrawals and in starting fresh.

Crack Detox Timeline

How long it takes to withdraw and detox from crack and how intense the withdrawal symptoms are different for everyone. Typically, the first symptoms of withdrawal present within an hour or two of your final dose and last for a few days, becoming the most intense and peaking at about 72 hours after the last time you used.

After the first one or two weeks sober, the brain continues to fight the process, and this is why you feel the cravings and the pull to use again. It is typical for post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) to last for months after your initial crack detox.

The total period of time you will undergo crack detox depends on several things, including:

  • how much crack you used
  • how long you were addicted
  • how often you used
  • how dependent you were on crack
  • your psychological support and readiness
  • your general health

Although there are individual variations among users, there are also predictable patterns that typify the crack recovery period:

0 to 72 hours: the “crash”

Between the time you stop and up to 3 to 4 days after your last dose you experience a “crash.” This is a time when you are coming down from this powerful stimulant, hard. This period comes with anxiety, intense cravings, and the strange combination of both extreme fatigue and inability to sleep. This is also a time when you might feel depressed or even suicidal, so it is critical to have support right now.

Weeks 1 and 2: the struggle

In the next one or two weeks, you’ll still struggle with compulsive behavior and cravings, although it will perhaps not be as intense, and should decrease as time passes. Your brain is fighting, and it will be triggered easily, so you will need to plan carefully and avoid anything that can set you off. You are likely to feel moody, irritable, and even hostile, and you may have trouble concentrating. You will regain your appetite, and you could experience strange dreams.

Weeks 3 and 4: the “honeymoon”

Although these weeks start what’s often called the “honeymoon” phase of recovery, the time for caution has not passed. You will feel better as you have fewer cravings and better moods, but it is critical to realize that your new-found energy and optimism will be haunted by the chances of relapse. Most relapses happen within a few months of quitting, so you’re not out of the woods yet. Remember to watch for protracted withdrawal symptoms (PAWS), and to seek ongoing psychological treatment.

Finding a Crack Treatment Program

Choosing the right crack treatment program is the first step in regaining control of your life. Clear Sky Recovery offers you your very best shot at success. Our high-end facilities and holistic approach will give you the support and tools you need to get through recovery, get away from crack, and get on with your life. Contact Clear Sky to learn why our crack treatment program is one of a kind.

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