How To Get Off Crack

How To Get Off Crack

Written by:

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

Medical Review by:

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., M.S.

Medically Reviewed On: May 21, 2024

Addiction to crack cocaine can be challenging in several ways—not the least of which is how to heal from its effects and stop the cycle of use and withdrawal. An extremely addictive substance, the high from crack typically only lasts around fifteen minutes, making those who use it prone to frequent binges and ongoing usage.

Thankfully, there are several treatments available to help you or your loved one stop using crack cocaine and begin the recovery and healing process.

Crack Cocaine Drug Facts

Crack cocaine is an addictive, illegal stimulant that’s created by a chemical process of altering cocaine in a simple conversion process. First emerging as a drug of abuse in the 1980s, it quickly gained traction due to its short-term high and relative affordability to produce and purchase.[1] The substance is usually smoked (though it can also be injected) and normally resembles rocks, which lend it its nickname.

Short-term effects of crack cocaine use include constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, and increased body temperature, in addition to the short-lived, euphoric high. Physical and psychological dependence can develop quickly.

Crack cocaine can also be adulterated with other substances, increasing its potential for both a greater high and its risk for tolerance, withdrawal, and potential overdose.

How To Quit Crack: Why Is It So Difficult?

The effects of crack cocaine typically wear off after around fifteen minutes, causing the user to seek out more in a short amount of time. The stimulant has often been cited as one of the most psychologically addicting substances in the world.

With physical tolerance building quickly and necessitating more of the substance to achieve the same effects, dependence can sometimes develop in as little as two to three weeks.[2] Psychological effects, such as anxiety or intense cravings to use, can also last for months or even years.[3]

Common crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Nerve pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Intense cravings

Crack Cocaine Addiction Treatment and Recovery

Quitting crack cocaine often involves a comprehensive approach to address the physical, psychological, and behavioral aspects of addiction, typically under the care of a qualified treatment provider.

Medical detox works to eliminate the drug from the body and manage any withdrawal symptoms in a safe and supportive environment. Medical supervision and medications may also be used to ease withdrawal symptoms during this time.

After detox, inpatient treatment offers intensive and structured support for crack cocaine addiction, including individual counseling, group therapy, and behavioral interventions tailored to each person’s unique needs. This kind of treatment typically has a structured daily schedule, helping to foster healthier habits and routines.

Inpatient treatment provides a community of support and 24/7 access to medical and emotional help, providing a space and the resources to develop new tools and gain new insights into the developing recovery process. It equips individuals with coping skills, addresses underlying issues, and develops relapse prevention plans for active, ongoing recovery.

Upon completion of inpatient treatment, engagement with quality aftercare (via outpatient treatment, counseling, or support groups) is also encouraged to further strengthen the ongoing recovery process.

How To Detox From Crack

Detoxing from crack cocaine can be uncomfortable and, in some cases, dangerous. For your safety, seeking treatment from a medical detox facility under a supervising team of medical professionals is best.

A thorough medical evaluation will assess your overall health and any potential co-occurring conditions that may complicate things and require additional treatment. Medical providers will oversee the detox process 24/7 to help manage withdrawal symptoms and ensure your safety as you begin your healing journey.

Holistic Treatment

While it’s possible to quit using crack on your own, stopping entirely is often difficult without the support, guidance, and accountability that come with professional treatment services.

However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t begin to consider what it looks like to live a life free of crack or stimulant use both now and in the future, and there are several things you can do to help prepare and make your treatment as successful as possible:

Get Prepared

  • Create a plan for how to quit crack cocaine and stay sober.
  • Surround yourself with a support network to keep you on track while you’re going through withdrawal and cravings.
  • Get rid of all of your crack-related paraphernalia to avoid ongoing triggers for usage.
  • Identify your potential triggers and strategize how you’ll handle them before they arise.
  • Build a strong support network of healthy, supportive people committed to keeping you on track.
  • Plan to engage in or discover new healthy habits to support your recovery.

If you’re struggling with crack cocaine addiction, it’s best to seek treatment for crack cocaine abuse or dependence. With the help of a professional, you can develop a strategy to stop using substances, manage cravings, and commit to abstinence.

Alumni Aftercare Groups

When it comes to addiction care, you never have to go it alone. At Alpas Wellness, you can connect with others on their recovery journey through several aftercare options and alumni support groups.

Withdrawal From Crack Cocaine

Stimulant withdrawal is usually not life-threatening, although this isn’t always the case. Crack cocaine withdrawal is temporary, allowing the body to regain its balance without the presence of the substance. However, withdrawal from crack can also be complex and difficult on several levels, owing to its high potency for tolerance both physically and psychologically.

Symptoms and Timeline

While the withdrawal timeline varies, most people will begin to experience withdrawal anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 days after their last use.[4] Short-term withdrawal effects will typically remit after several days, though some individuals will experience effects lasting for several months. The psychological effects of crack cocaine withdrawal may last longer, depending on several factors (including any potential co-occurring issues).

How to Manage Symptoms

Managing the symptoms of crack cocaine withdrawal is an essential component of navigating the early stages of your recovery. Seek the services of a professional or treatment program to do so and create a supportive physical environment and network of family, friends, and other support who can help you along the way.

It can also be important to get enough rest, food, and hydration during the process, along with trying to move and obtain some exercise once it’s safe to do so.

How To Care For Someone Going Through Withdrawal

If you or a loved one has decided to quit, it’s advised to speak with a professional about how to manage withdrawal safely. Stimulant withdrawal can sometimes involve complications, and high-risk cases may require medical support to be successful.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Get Off Crack


Can I quit crack cold turkey?


Quitting crack without support is possible but often unlikely. The withdrawal symptoms are very uncomfortable, causing many to return to usage before the process is complete.


Are there any medications that help with withdrawal symptoms?


While there are no specific medications for crack or cocaine withdrawal, your treatment team can provide other therapies and remedies to help lessen the discomfort of the detox process.


Are there other options aside from inpatient rehabilitation to get off crack?


Everyone is unique, and as such, there is no one standard approach to quitting crack. However, quality treatment programs can co-author a unique and individualized approach to treatment to give you the best possible chance of beginning and maintaining recovery.


Crack Cocaine Fast Facts. (n.d.). on July 26th, 2023


IDHS: Facts You Should Know about Crack – IDHS 4706. (2020). on July 26th, 2023


Abuse, N. I. on D. (2022, September 19). Why Are Drugs So Hard to Quit. National Institute on Drug Abuse. on July 26th, 2023


Crack Withdrawal Symptoms – How Long Do They Last? (2023, March 27). Addiction Help. on July 26th, 2023

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