If you or a loved one has ever struggled with crack cocaine addiction, you may have asked the question, “How long does it take to detox from crack?” In this article, the addiction specialists at Better Wellness Group aim to answer that question and provide you with the right information about addiction and substance abuse so you can take the steps to live a happy and drug-free life.
Withdrawal During an Active Addiction
When people think about withdrawal symptoms, the drugs that usually come to mind are alcohol and opiates. It is commonly known that alcohol can produce a bad hangover the night after use, but when people abuse alcohol for long periods, it can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. Most people simply don’t think about crack when the subject of withdrawal comes up, and the information on crack withdrawal is not nearly as extensive as other drugs.
Rehab Helps with Detox
Did you know that every drug has some form of withdrawal that comes with its use? From crack to marijuana, after using these substances, the body goes through a state of withdrawal as it tries to get its brain chemistry back to normal. If a drug is used for a short period, the withdrawal symptoms may be mild or almost non-existent. Still, through prolonged use, a person could develop a serious dependency, leading to severe withdrawal symptoms. It’s recommended that if a person reaches the point of dependency, they seek medically assisted treatment through an outpatient clinic or a detox facility.
Facts About Crack Cocaine
Crack cocaine is the cheaper and more addictive form of powder cocaine. Before the 1980s, cocaine was considered to be an upper-white class drug, and at one point, it was even claimed to be non-addictive. With the advent of the crack epidemic of the ’80s, the addictive nature of cocaine became painfully apparent. The cocaine problem got so bad that:
- By 2011 cocaine was the cause of roughly 600,000 trips to the emergency room for drug-related overdoses and injuries.
- Cocaine related deaths rose by 27% from 2013 through 2018
- The amount of cocaine-related deaths in 2018 was nine times higher in urban areas than in rural areas.
- In 2016 about 5 million Americans admitted to active cocaine use, which is about 2% of the U.S. population.
What Are Effects of Cocaine
Cocaine has short-term stimulative effects on the body. Dopamine, a naturally occurring neurotransmitter, is stimulated by cocaine to increase its concentration in the brain. This can cause feelings of pleasure or satisfaction. Cocaine can cause your dopamine levels to rise, causing you to feel euphoric.
Cocaine blocks the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, as well as dopamine, from reaching the nerve cells. This allows for large amounts of neurotransmitters to accumulate, stimulating the nerve cells around them. This increases the pleasure of euphoria.
Cocaine can also reduce your appetite for food and sleep. Many people claim that cocaine makes them more productive and helps them think faster. Many cocaine users feel the effects of cocaine.
A higher tolerance can result from the frequent use of cocaine. To feel the effects of cocaine, you will need more. This can lead to greater dependence on cocaine, which can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health.
The psychological effects of cocaine addiction include the following:
- Impaired judgment
- Repetitive or abnormal behavior
The physical effects of cocaine addiction include:
- Unhealthy weight loss
- Increased heart rate
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Heart arrhythmia
- Heart attack
Cocaine addiction can also be associated with medical conditions such as:
- Respiratory diseases
- A weak immune system
- Gangrene in the bowels
What are the Effects of Crack Cocaine
The effects of crack cocaine are initially pleasant because it increases dopamine levels in the brain, which is the chemical that makes us happy. The euphoria from crack cocaine is much stronger than that of powder cocaine. The effects last for around ten minutes. The depression known as a “comedown” is usually followed by a deeper depression than before the drug was used.
Immediately after inhaling crack cocaine, users will feel a variety of effects including:
- Euphoria – This is usually intense and comes with heightened awareness, feelings of superiority and invincibility, and lowering inhibitions
- Depression – After the euphoria wears off, people can become depressed. They might become paranoid, anxious, and hostile. They may feel anxious, paranoid or hostile and want to get another “hit” immediately.
- Persistent reactions Occasionally, users may experience an elevated heart rate, convulsions, and muscle spasms. Common reactions include nausea, dizziness, and rapid breathing.
Crack cocaine has long-term side effects
The long-term effects of crack cocaine can be as severe as powder cocaine.
- Insomnia or loss of appetite can cause nutritional problems
- Both men and women may experience sexual dysfunction or infertility.
- High blood pressure and permanent damage to blood vessels can cause severe heart attack and other serious health problems, such as kidney failure and liver damage.
- The respiratory system can be damaged. Crack cocaine users are at greater risk for respiratory problems because of the way they use it. Smoking can cause lung damage, bleeding, shortness and coughing.
Crack cocaine users also have problems with their oral health. They also experience burning lips because the pipe they use to inhale the drug is very short. The smoke can also cause extreme decay of their enamel.
Crack Withdrawal Symptoms
The withdrawal symptoms from crack cocaine are similar to other types of stimulants and include:
- Mood swings
- Severe depression
- Increased appetite
Because of the addictive nature of the crack and the severe short-term withdrawal symptoms associated with the drug, it’s understandable how hard it can be for someone struggling with crack addiction to stop using on their own. That’s why a detox facility is the best option for breaking the cycle of crack addiction.
The Timeline for Crack Detox
There are three distinct phases of withdrawal for crack cocaine, and each stage has different symptoms associated with it.
- Stage One: The first stage of crack detox is the crash. The first symptoms of crack withdrawal can start as soon as 20 minutes after the last use. The first symptoms that one would experience in the first stages of withdrawal are extreme fatigue, depression, and irritability. If the individual has been on a binge or is a lifetime user, the symptoms may be more severe. Shortness of breath, higher or lower blood pressure, and coughing attacks can also be associated with crack withdrawal symptoms. Crack withdrawal by itself is not enough to cause death, but if the person suffering from the withdrawal symptoms has other health issues, crack withdrawal could be life-threatening. Not to mention that the risk of suicide due to the extreme depression felt from crack detox increases exponentially.
- Stage Two: The second stage of crack detox is withdrawal. The withdrawal stage starts about 24 hours after the last use and can last up to 30 days. The symptoms for this stage of crack detox are intense cravings, weight gain, and concentration problems. This is the phase of crack detox where people most often relapse due to the intense cravings for the drug. Inpatient treatment is highly recommended for people that are trying to detox from crack cocaine safely. The chances that a person will successfully detox from crack without relapsing increases greatly when they get into a detox clinic or inpatient treatment instead of trying to do it alone.
- Stage Three: The third stage is “post-withdrawal” This is the stage of crack detox where the withdrawal symptoms start to go away. The cravings for cocaine will be less frequent and nowhere nearly as intense as during the earlier stages of detox. You can expect to enter this stage about 30 days from the last use. This is when the individual suffering from crack addiction needs to enter an intensive outpatient program or sober living to develop the life skills needed to have a healthy and drug-free life.
Does Someone You Love Need to Detox From Crack?
Successfully detoxing is the first step a person must take to start the road to a drug-free life. A detox center will allow you or your loved one to recover from drug addiction. Besides the 24/7 medical assistance they would receive in a detox clinic, they will be in a safe and encouraging environment where they can get through the withdrawal symptoms without the weight of the world on their shoulders. Contact the addiction professionals at Better Wellness Group to develop a treatment plan and put it into action. You can call us at 770-615-8958. Pick up the phone, make the call, and get on the road to recovery and a life of success and happiness.