Why Detox is a MustThe first physical step to recovery is getting the crack out of your system completely. Because of the highly addictive properties of crack, the withdrawal process can be agonizing, both physically and psychologically.
Medically managed crack detoxification is critical to:
- Mitigate suffering.
- Ensure the safe transition to a toxin-free state of abstinence.
- Reduce withdrawal symptoms.
To aid someone in acute withdrawal from a crack dependency, health professionals may administer medications to lessen the impact of physical symptoms, while providing extra nutrients and vitamins to supplement what likely has been very depleted nutritional intake.
Is Detox from Crack Dangerous?
Detoxing from crack is indeed dangerous, and the risks of relapse throughout are high. In many instances, it’s advisable that detox be completed under medical supervision.
Crack withdrawal symptoms tend to be flu-like in nature, but can include some negative psychological effects as well. Crack withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Anhedonia (the inability to experience pleasure without using). The initial detox phase is extremely difficult and must be managed by a medical professional.
- Extreme cravings.
- Mood disorders.
- Terrible nightmares.
- Suicidal ideation (in extreme cases).
The initial detox phase is extremely difficult, and must be managed by medical professionals. As with other drugs of abuse, however, crack withdrawal can take months to completely subside.
While the symptoms won’t be as severe, the tenacious hold that crack can have on an individual can commonly elicit protracted withdrawal symptoms (where non-specific agitation and residual symptoms last for a longer period than usual). The potential for relapse is quite high during the protracted period, complicating many detox and recovery efforts.
Why Detoxing at Home Can Be Harmful
The reality is that crack withdrawal and even expert treatment of withdrawal symptoms in a detoxification setting can have hazards, and it can be extremely counterproductive to attempt detox at home. Because of repeated crack use, your body has adjusted to the influx of toxic chemicals
Without trained health care providers on hand to make continuous assessments and to monitor the physical reaction your body has to the lack of crack, these risks are significantly increased. Detoxing at home frequently ends in failure.
Medically-Assisted Detox and Withdrawal
Crack disrupts neurotransmitter activity in the brain; the euphoria experienced after crack use is due to the increased activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine.Negative psychological symptoms are intense in crack withdrawal and are treated immediately and consistently in medically-assisted detox.
When dopamine levels are artificially and markedly increased through crack usage, long-term brain changes can occur which can dull the brain’s capacity to respond to previously normal levels.
Negative psychological symptoms are intense in crack withdrawal and are treated immediately and consistently in medically assisted detox.
The sustained administration of medications such as beta-blockers and anti-convulsants help to reduce hypertension and seizures respectively. Medications such as amantadine and bromocriptine may be used to manage cravings, possibly by influencing crack’s effect on the central nervous system.
Why is Medical Assistance Important?
Research shows that the response to treatment of crack-dependent individuals varies widely, which is why tailored, and closely monitored medically assisted detox is so critical.
Crack anhedonia (as mentioned above), is a common and devastating effect of crack abuse. Managing such profound psychological changes requires trained medical intervention, both in the acute detox phase and in long-term recovery.
Medically assisted detox can make the withdrawal process bearable, and ensure the safety of the person in withdrawal.
What to Expect During Detoxification
Working with trained medical staff typically ensures the best chance of a comfortable and soothing environment to promote your full recovery. You can expect the following:
- Use of medications and supplements such as propranolol, a beta-blocker that addresses hypertension, tremors and heart conditions are sometimes provided.
- Anticonvulsant medications for seizures in the case of extremely severe withdrawal.
- Extra vitamins and nutrients.
- Someone who has been abusing crack has likely not slept for an extended period and generally sleeps for extended periods of time during detox, waking only to eat. As such, providing extra vitamins and nutrients are essential.
- Supplements to support the essential organs, such as the kidneys and liver, as they work to clear toxins and return to normal function.
How Long Does Detox Last?
Health providers understand that acute crack withdrawal has a typical duration of 3-7 days. In some cases, however, protracted withdrawal, where symptoms are not as strong but are still present, can last months or even years.
Handling the extreme unpleasantness of withdrawal for days or even a week is extremely difficult, even with expert medical care. Detoxing from the crack with trained and knowledgeable medical staff is essential.
Crack Detox Treatment
Depression is common in crack addiction recovery and left untreated, will frequently lead to relapse.
Choose the Best Addiction Treatment
There are a wide range of institutions that provide crack addiction detoxification services, like:
- Chemical dependency clinics.
- Outpatient addiction treatment.
- Inpatient or residential treatment centers.
Ideally, much of the decision-making in selecting an appropriate treatment strategy will be dependent on the recommendations of a physician and/or trained addiction treatment providers. Often, however, factors such as financial and time resource capacity drive the choice of detox center.
If available, entering into a detox center that offers follow-on long-term treatment and psychosocial services is the preferred course of action. Facilities that provide cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and/or motivational incentives have shown to have high success rates.