Withdrawal symptoms of crack abuse are more severe and dangerous than those of normal cocaine, because of crack’s mechanism of action. Managing withdrawal can be difficult, but with medical help, these symptoms can be alleviated. Symptoms can be best managed through a medically-assisted detox process which will help flush the remnants of crack from your body in a safe manner.
If you use crack over a certain period and but suddenly reduce your intake, you’ll be faced with ugly withdrawal symptoms that may force you to continue using, even if you don’t want to. Your body will make efforts to eliminate the drug through a process known as detox, but this phase will introduce you to certain difficulties. It’s important that you understand what to do if you or a loved one is faced with the ordeal of crack withdrawal.
Withdrawal is the result of our body’s response when a frequently-used drug, such as crack cocaine, is suddenly removed from the system. While unpleasant, the symptoms are merely adjustments your body has made in order to compensate for the drug’s presence in your daily life.
The body makes these adjustments in an attempt to maintain stable internal conditions. Maintaining this stability, called homeostasis, is a bit like keeping a see-saw balanced when weights are constantly being added and removed.
Whether it’s alcohol, opiates, or caffeine, all recreational drugs trigger the release of dopamine in the brain’s reward system, which is what makes them so addictive. This is like adding extra weight on one side of the seesaw. With long-term drug use, brain reward systems will slow down, returning the seesaw to its level position.
Typical crack withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, depression, cravings, agitation, insomnia, shaking, as well as irritability. These symptoms will be tackled by medication therapy and psychotherapy during the detox process. Your doctors will also put you through other healing processes such as exercising, to help your body cope during this time.
Every crack cocaine user will experience withdrawal uniquely, depending on factors such as how long they have abused crack, the amount of crack abused, and their physical and mental health. Withdrawal begins to take hold within one to 72 hours after last use and physical symptoms may peak within this period.
The first 72 hours may see you experience symptoms like body aches, paranoia, as well as auditory and visual hallucinations. Paranoia may be extreme during the first 24 hours but will begin to subside, alongside hallucinations, after three days. After this, other symptoms including fatigue, irritability, lethargy, and insomnia will set in going into the first full week.
After seven days, you may begin to experience powerful cravings that may compel you to use again. This symptom is also accompanied by anxiety and mild depression. The 3rd and 4th weeks will see cravings and other physical symptoms reduced, but you may continue to experience psychological symptoms like mood swings, lack of motivation, and depression throughout the first month.
You should remember that this is a generalised timeline for withdrawal. Your case may mean you experience entirely different symptoms during the various stages laid out in this guide. Your doctors will always devise a detox plan after carrying out tests and evaluating your unique situation.
The initial stage of detox can be the most difficult, as this is the period when withdrawal symptoms are at their most intense. However, going through a medically-assisted detox will see these symptoms significantly reduced and made more bearable. Going through a medical detox will also help avert health complications that may otherwise flare up.
During a private medical drug detox, your physician will develop a medical therapy based on your medical history, unique body chemistry, and addiction situation. Unlike alcohol and other drugs, you won’t undergo a tapering method for crack cocaine, rather, you’ll be assisted to quit cold turkey but will be given medication to manage the rush of withdrawal symptoms you may experience. There are two main drugs that are used during crack detox, they are:
This is a medication which is officially used to treat seizures, hot flashes, restless legs syndrome, and neuropathic pain. During crack detox, it is often used to alleviate withdrawal symptoms like seizures, insomnia, and anxiety. The drug works by attaching itself to the brain’s GABA receptors to counteract some of the neurological impacts of crack cocaine abuse.
Vigabatrin is an antiepileptic drug which is mainly used to neutralise feelings of anxiety during detox to help avoid relapse.
The best way to go through detox is under 24-hour medical supervision in a detox facility. This is because of the dangerous effects of crack cocaine. However, if your doctor finds your crack use to be mild, you may be allowed to detox from home. You should never go through withdrawal without medical assistance, even if you want to do it from home. There are a number of risks associated with withdrawal, such as heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and neurological problems. When attempting to detox at home, it can be difficult to spot these dangers, which is why it is always recommended that you seek medical help. Trying to detox in a familiar environment such as your home can also leave you vulnerable to relapse, as you’re more likely to be surrounded by triggers and temptation.
The best way to go through detox is under 24-hour medical supervision in a residential drug treatment clinic. This is because of the dangerous effects of crack cocaine. However, if your doctor finds your crack use to be mild, you may be allowed to detox from home. You should never go through withdrawal without medical assistance, even if you want to do it from home. The initial stage of detox can be the most difficult, as this is the period when withdrawal symptoms are at their most intense. However, going through a medically-assisted detox will see these symptoms significantly reduced and made more bearable. Going through a medical detox will also help avert health complications that may otherwise flare up.
The best way to put an end to your crack abuse is by starting a safe and detox process in a crack facility dedicated to this purpose. There are competent detox clinics in the UK that can help you achieve this and see you get on the right track to recovery. However, some detox clinics have long waiting times that may make it frustrating for you. At UKAT, our crack cocaine rehab clinics can admit you in as little as 24 hours, with an option for immediate intake also available.
Call us on 0203 553 9263 and discuss your options for crack cocaine recovery