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Crack Withdrawal

Crack withdrawal causes physical and psychological symptoms which occur when a heavy crack cocaine user cuts down or quits taking the drug altogether. Crack cocaine is the form of cocaine that looks like off-white nuggets with jagged edges. It is called "crack" because of the sound made during its manufacture and when smoked. Crack is for the most part smoked, although some users melt and intravenously inject the drug. Because crack is inhaled as a smoke, it reaches the brain a lot faster than inhaled powder cocaine. This is what makes it appealing to crack cocaine users, although the high doesn't last as long causing the user to seek out more of the drug.

Crack withdrawal occurs because of the drug's effects on the area of the brain that produce feelings of pleasure and euphoria. Smoking crack causes the brain to release higher than normal amounts of biochemicals already present in the body. These biochemicals produce the feelings of joy and euphoria that crack users experience. After smoking crack, users immediately experience an intense high. This high typically consists of euphoria, feelings of confidence, increased energy and alertness. Unfortunately, these feelings are short-lived, only lasting for 5-15 minutes.

Once the initial high from smoking crack has worn off, the part of the brain that made the individual feel euphoria now leaves him feeling depressed and low. To add to this, the high may become less and less pleasant, and can sometimes produce fear and extreme suspicion. Due to the intense craving however, the individual will continue to seek out and use crack. If the individual does not use more crack either because they want to stop or simply because circumstances will not allow for it, they will begin experiencing crack withdrawal.

Crack withdrawal may not be as unstable as withdrawal from heroin or alcohol, and there are often no visible symptoms like vomiting or shaking that accompany withdrawal from these substances. However, the withdrawal from any mind-altering substance should be taken very seriously as there are enormous health risks involved. Likewise, while the physical withdrawal from crack may not be as serious as with other drugs, the intense craving, irritability and other symptoms of crack withdrawal rivals or exceeds that of many other drugs. For instance, there is extreme risk of suicide or overdose for someone who is experiencing crack withdrawal. Someone going through this may turn to other substances like alcohol, sedatives, hypnotics, or anti-anxiety medications to treat their symptoms. However, use of these drugs is not recommended because the individual can then be at risk of becoming addicted to these substances.

The craving and depression that an individual experiences as a result of crack withdrawal can last for months following cessation of long-term heavy use of the drug. As mentioned before, crack withdrawal may cause suicidal thoughts in some people, so it important that anyone attempting to stop using crack after long-term heavy use seek professional and medical help to get through the withdrawal process.

Common crack withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Lack of pleasure
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Sleepiness
  • Extreme suspicion
  • Depressed mood
  • Fatigue
  • General malaise
  • Increased appetite
  • Vivid and unpleasant dreams
  • Slowing of activity
  • Paranoia
  • Exhaustion
  • Itching
  • Mood swings
  • Violent outbursts
  • Insomnia
  • In some cases nausea & vomiting

Crack users with a long-term history of crack addiction and dependence require a lengthy and intensive treatment which can only be delivered at an inpatient drug rehab and detox facility. And users who try to quit on their own may accidentally overdose on the drug if they got through crack withdrawal and relapse. Crack overdose could result in instances of coma, convulsions and/or death which are considerably higher than in regular crack use. As stated before, the paranoia and depression that long-term use of crack causes put individuals at increased risk of violent and suicidal behavior. This is why aggressive professional and medical intervention is necessary to help individuals who have become addicted to crack.

Crack addiction is a struggle for many, and relapse can occur. This is why it is vital that anyone seeking to stop crack use seeks the proper treatment, which should start at an inpatient drug rehab with drug detoxification as the first step. This is the safest and surest way to get through the crack withdrawal process. Get the professional help you need to get through crack withdrawal today, before it is too late.


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