Crack Cocaine Detox & Tapper

Those who are addicted or dependent on crack cocaine have both a physical and psychological problems that must be addressed. When they stop using the drug, they will also experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be uncomfortable at best and deadly at worst. This is why it is so important that crack cocaine detox is done in a medically supervised environment.

What Is Crack Cocaine?

Crack is a concentrated form of cocaine that is incredibly potent. This potency is the reason why withdrawal symptoms tend to be very severe. The drug makes changes to both the nervous system and the brain of a user. Once people become heavy users and they stop, their body has to adjust to being clean again. Furthermore, their mind has to adjust to once again living a life that isn’t driven by consuming drugs.

Withdrawal is often very uncomfortable. Patients will experience symptoms such as agitation, paranoia, and depression. Exactly what people experience and how badly this will be will depend on how long they used the drug, how much they took, and their personal biological processes, such as metabolism, weight, height, and tolerance.

The Symptoms of Crack Withdrawal

An addiction to crack is both mental and physical. It is also incredibly difficult to beat and most people find that the withdrawal is impossible to manage without help. The symptoms can become so strong that people see no other alternative but to return to using crack. When medically supported, however, detox can be managed properly.

Users will go through two phases of detox:

  1. Acute withdrawal, which is when immediate symptoms start to manifest
  2. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) or protracted withdrawal, which can happen weeks, months, even years after someone stops using

Acute withdrawal is often characterized by:

  • Exhaustion
  • Anxiety
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Unpleasant dreams
  • Mood changes
  • Irritability

The PAWS symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Cravings
  • Shaking or agitation
  • Lack of motivation
  • Problem sleeping
  • Emotional outbursts, including anger
  • Inability to experience joy or pleasure

How Long Does Detox Take?

How long it would take for someone to fully withdraw from crack cocaine is unique for each individual. There are various factors that will make this period last longer or shorter. These include:

  • How long the person has been addicted
  • How bad is the addiction.
  • How high is the person’s tolerance to crack cocaine
  • The person’s body chemistry

Withdrawal tends to start between one and 72 hours after the last dose of crack cocaine. The physical symptoms usually last between one and three months, although sometimes it may be shorter or longer. The psychological symptoms, however, can last much longer, with many reporting that they last for six months or more.

In your first week of detox, you will usually be able to overcome the really extreme withdrawal symptoms. The danger is that this may make you feel as if you are cured. At that point, it is common for people to no longer focus as strongly on recovery and the result is that they let their guard down. They then become more likely to relapse as well. It is vital that those who are on their way to recovery to work together to prevent relapse during detox and withdrawal. This is why it should be done within a medically supervised environment, where it is not as easy to give in to temptations.

A Timeline of Crack Cocaine Detox

  1. Between 24 and 72 hours, people experience body aches and paranoia. Some have experienced auditory and visual hallucinations as well. Extreme paranoia usually sets in within 24 hours, after which the paranoia and hallucinations start to subside.
  1. During the first week, a range of symptoms are likely to present themselves. These include extreme fatigue, irritability, sleep disturbances, and lack of motivation.
  1. During the second week, people start to experience intense cravings and they start to feel very depressed. The brain, at that point, is still going through withdrawal, which means that it cannot produce sufficient dopamine for people to feel positive. Anxiety commonly returns as well.
  1. Between weeks three and four, the chemistry of the brain and body continues to change. Mood swings are commonly reported. However, physical cravings for the drug will have subsided. The danger is that the psychological cravings continue to be present, as do feelings of depression and anxiety.

For people to recover from a crack cocaine addiction, it is vital that they receive the right level of support and that they are admitted to an inpatient rehab facility for the appropriate length of time. Due to the length of time that withdrawal lasts with crack cocaine, a 60 day stay is generally recommended as a bare minimum. In such a facility, physicians and counselors can work together with the patients to create unique strategies suitable for their needs. Detox is always done cold turkey with crack cocaine, as there are currently no FDA approved drugs to manage withdrawal or cravings. However, medication such as over the counter painkillers and some anti-anxiety medication may be prescribed.

Although no drugs have been approved by the FDA for crack addiction treatment, two are used quite commonly. These are:

  1. Gabapentin, which is drug that reduces restless legs syndrome and can treat seizures. Administering this medication can help with the feelings of insomnia and anxiety. The drug attaches itself to the brain’s GABA receptors, thereby possibly neutralizing or reducing the neurological effects caused by prolonged crack use. It is generally prescribed until the users are able to recover by themselves.
  2. Vigrabatrin, which is also an anti-epileptic drug. It is sometimes provided during the first stages of detox to help reduce feelings of anxiety. The suggestion is that it could prevent relapse.

Treating Crack Cocaine Addiction

Those who are addicted to crack cocaine should be admitted into a residential rehab facility. Here, their recovery can be managed through a personalized plan in which they learn the causes of their addiction, what their triggers are, and how they can best manage such. All this is done in a supportive environment.

The key with treating crack addiction is that the patients must be provided with a social and family structure that is supportive and living. Rather than calling it “rehabilitation”, many now refer to it as “habilitation”, providing people with positive environments they have never experienced before.

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