Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms And Stages

Crack cocaine withdrawal has two primary stages. Each stage has its own predominant symptoms that require specialized approaches.

Get Help Now!
Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Crack cocaine withdrawal can begin as early as a few hours following your last use. The initial stage of the withdrawal process is known as acute withdrawal.

This stage is dominated by physical symptoms.

Yet withdrawal does not always end after your initial detoxification. Post-acute withdrawal can continue for several months following detox from crack use.

The second stage is characterized by psychological symptoms.

Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

If you have only been using crack cocaine, you can expect withdrawal symptoms to be fairly mild in comparison to the symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol, opioids, or other drug use.

Common crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • agitation
  • cravings
  • fatigue
  • hunger
  • insomnia
  • mood swings
  • paranoia
  • psychosis
  • vivid nightmares

Keep in mind that your withdrawal symptoms may be much more intense if you have been “speed balling”, using alcohol, or have been using cocaine cut with other substances.

All of these factors make withdrawal from cocaine use unpredictable. For the safest detox process, you should seek a detox program that offers medical supervision.

Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

During acute withdrawal, your body is processing the remaining cocaine in your system and adjusting to the absence of the drug’s side effects.

In the short-term, cocaine:

  • increases your heart rate
  • elevates your blood pressure
  • suppresses your appetite
  • stimulates your mood

Your body has adapted to those changes. The absence of cocaine will cause the opposite effects.

Acute cocaine withdrawal will make you feel irritable, hungry, and tired. After five to seven days, your body will begin to adjust to these physical changes and your symptoms will fade.

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

The psychological effects associated with post-acute crack withdrawal can last much longer. Cocaine is a stimulant drug that affects the reward center of your brain.

Cocaine abuse causes several major changes in your brain chemistry. The increased saturation of dopamine is one of the most notable.

Dopamine Imbalance

Dopamine is one of the “feel good” hormones our body naturally produces. Under the influence of cocaine, you may feel more energetic, confident, and daring.

Unfortunately, your brain will adapt to these changes in brain chemistry. The effects will begin to dwindle. You will eventually need cocaine just to feel okay.

Mental Illness

Your brain chemistry can’t revert overnight. When you detox, you will almost certainly struggle with depression and anxiety. You may even experience suicidal thoughts.

Joining a qualified treatment program that provides support for your mental health during this time is absolutely crucial to your success. Without it, you may struggle with these conditions for years.

Stages Of Crack Cocaine Withdrawal

There are two primary stages of crack cocaine withdrawal. They can be broken up into smaller periods of time to better understand what you can expect.

The First 72 Hours Of Crack Cocaine Withdrawal

The first 72 hours of crack cocaine withdrawal are the hardest on your body. If you have other substance use disorders, this time is also the most dangerous.

You should never go through withdrawal alone, and you should always seek medical attention.

In the best case scenario you will only experience intense cravings, fatigue, hunger, agitation, and severe insomnia during this time.

If anything more dangerous occurs, you should have a healthcare professional on hand to administer aid as needed.

The First Two Weeks Of Crack Cocaine Withdrawal

Detox from crack cocaine can take as long as two weeks in some cases. You are more likely to be done with detox in seven to 10 days.

Once detox is over, the intensity of your cravings should drop a little. Your sleep patterns should be a bit more stable, and you should have more energy.

The psychological symptoms can be pretty intense at this point. Your paranoia should have subsided, but the depression and anxiety can be debilitating. You will need psychological support.

Weeks Three And Four Of Crack Cocaine Withdrawal

With proper support for your mental health through an addiction treatment facility, you should start to feel a little more like yourself by the third and fourth week.

The psychological effects can be lasting, and you will likely require therapy for at least a few months. However, you may be ready to resume some parts of your normal life.

Factors That Influence The Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline

You are a unique individual, so the breakdown of the average crack cocaine withdrawal timeline is just an estimate. There are a multitude of factors that will affect your personal experience.

Severity Of Crack Addiction

The severity of your crack addiction is one of the most telling factors. If you have been using cocaine for many years, then your withdrawal timeline will be extended.

Method Of Abuse

Powdered cocaine is associated with the shortest withdrawal timeline because it is less concentrated and has a delayed effect.

If your preferred method of crack abuse is smoking or injecting cocaine, you can expect withdrawal to take more time.


There is some evidence to suggest that certain people are biologically more susceptible to drug addiction, especially if they have a co-occurring mental illness.

If you have a pre-existing mental health condition, withdrawal may be more challenging. It may be harder, but you can still achieve your goal with the right support.

Underlying Health Conditions

Pre-existing health conditions can complicate withdrawal. If your conditions are purely physical, they are more likely to exacerbate symptoms than affect your timeline.

If your existing conditions are psychological, you may have a longer total timeline for post-acute withdrawal.

Treatment Programs For Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

You should never go through crack cocaine withdrawal alone. Treatment programs exist to provide the necessary support at every stage.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

There are currently no approved medications for cocaine addiction. However, medication-assisted treatment can help to reduce your withdrawal symptoms.

In a MAT program for cocaine, you may receive medication to help you sleep and to help with any psychological symptoms you’re experiencing.

Cocaine Detox

crack cocaine detox program will offer 24/7 observation with available medical professionals onsite. Any number of things could go wrong during your detox, and you deserve a safe environment.

Inpatient Programs

Inpatient treatment programs offer a way for you to focus on your new sober life and general well-being without the distraction of the outside world. Outpatient programs are also available if needed.

Find Treatment For Crack Cocaine Addiction At Bedrock Recovery Center

Bedrock Recovery Center offers all of these programs, as well as comprehensive therapy options for handling post-acute withdrawal.

We know how badly you want to start off fresh, and we’re ready to provide the support system you need.

To get started, give our Massachusetts treatment center a call today, and we’ll help you get past your crack cocaine withdrawal so you can begin recovery.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

Prefer Texting?
We've got you covered.

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for text support

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.
Ready to make a change? Talk to a specialist now.
(617) 657-2877
icon-angle icon-bars icon-times