Interested in starting your healing journey? Speak with an admissions counselor now
We're Hiring!
Apply for Jobs Now

Crack Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Crack cocaine is a highly potent and addictive stimulant drug that is derived from, but more potent than, powdered cocaine. When abused over a long period of time, crack cocaine produces changes in the brain and body that make people crave more and more of the drug. Individuals who become addicted to crack experience dreadful withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. These symptoms can be so powerful that the mere thought of going into withdrawal can stop a person from trying to get sober.

How long crack withdrawal lasts, what symptoms are experienced, and how intense those symptoms become vary from one person to the next. The good news is drug detox centers in West Palm Beach can provide supportive, around-the-clock care for individuals who are addicted to crack. Doctors, nurses, and other addiction specialists can help these individuals make it through the entire crack withdrawal timeline safely and comfortably.

crack cocaine

Crack Cocaine Withdrawal symptoms

Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Withdrawal

Crack cocaine is a highly potent and addictive drug. When people who are addicted to it stop using the drug, they experience two different stages of withdrawal; acute and post-acute withdrawal. Symptoms may come and go as the crack withdrawal timeline progresses, and some symptoms may be more severe than others.

Acute withdrawal refers to the symptoms people experience immediately after sobering up. These symptoms begin in the first few hours after a person stops using crack and can persist for up to a week. Symptoms of acute crack withdrawal include:[1]

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion
  • Nightmares
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mood swings
  • Psychotic behaviors

These symptoms are generally not life-threatening, but they are best managed at an inpatient drug detox center.

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), however, refers to long-lasting withdrawal symptoms that linger for weeks or months after stopping crack. Not everyone who is addicted to crack experiences PAWS, but it is common in chronic users.

Symptoms of PAWS from crack include:[2]

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Shakiness
  • Cravings
  • Low sex drive
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Emotional outbursts

PAWS is best managed at a comprehensive addiction treatment program that combines behavioral therapy, holistic treatments, and peer support.

Crack Withdrawal Timeline

Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline

The exact duration of crack withdrawal (and the severity of symptoms) varies from one person to the next and depends on a variety of different factors. Here is a rough timeline of what people can expect during crack withdrawal.

1-3 Days After Last Use

The first 72 hours of withdrawal tend to be the worst. People may experience paranoia, body aches, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, cravings, irritability, and more. Most of these symptoms will appear within the first 24 hours after a person’s last dose of crack. After 72 hours, these symptoms may begin to subside in terms of intensity.

3-7 Days After Last Use

Individuals may struggle with lack of motivation, extreme fatigue, irritability, trouble sleeping, and drug cravings. These symptoms can persist for a week or more but will subside over time.

7-14 Days After Last Use

By the start of the second week, many physical symptoms of crack withdrawal will subside. However, symptoms like depression and drug cravings may reappear with severe intensity. Anxiety may also return during this time.

3+ Weeks After Crack Use

After week three, the acute phase of withdrawal is over. People with mild addictions may only experience minor drug cravings. People with severe addictions, on the other hand, may develop PAWS and continue to struggle with psychological symptoms like depression, anxiety, and irritability.

Factors that Affect Crack Withdrawal Timeline and Symptom Intensity

How long crack withdrawal lasts and how intense symptoms become varies greatly from one person to the next. Most people begin experiencing symptoms in the first 24 hours and can consider themselves fully recovered from withdrawal after 1-2 weeks. Some of the influential factors that dictate the crack withdrawal timeline include:

  • How long a person has been using crack
  • How much crack a person uses on a daily basis
  • What other substances a person has been using, if any
  • The presence of co-occurring mental health conditions
  • A person’s age, weight, gender, and metabolism
  • A person’s past experience with stimulant withdrawal and detox

Medical Detox for Crack Withdrawal

Although most of the crack withdrawal timeline is spent dealing with psychological symptoms, these symptoms can still be very painful. Additionally, some people who are detoxing from crack may also be detoxing from additional substances which have their own unique withdrawal symptoms. As a result, the best way to get sober from crack is to detox at a licensed medical facility.

Drug detox centers in West Palm Beach can provide a safe and secure environment for recovering individuals to go through detox. While there are no medications approved to treat crack cocaine dependence, doctors may prescribe certain medications to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal like anxiety and high blood pressure. Medications that may be used during crack detox include:[3]

medications used during crack detox


  • Clonidine
  • Propranolol
  • Seroquel
  • Trazodone
  • Valium
  • Gabapentin
  • Topiramate

Staff members also provide around-the-clock support and supervision to avoid any withdrawal complications. When a person finishes detox, he or she may work with a substance abuse counselor to come up with a plan for further treatment.

Find Treatment for Crack Cocaine Addiction Today

If you or someone you love suffers from crack addiction, it’s going to take more than a short medical detox program to get you sober. What is needed is a comprehensive, individualized drug treatment program. At Mandala Healing Center, our program includes detox, residential, and IOP treatment to help care for you at every stage in your recovery.

Our doctors and therapists are leading experts in Florida when it comes to treating crack addiction, and we can help you recover, too. Learn more about our West Palm Beach drug rehab programs or enroll in treatment today by speaking with one of our dedicated admissions counselors.