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What is Crack Withdrawal Like?

Last updated: 05/7/2018
Author: Medical Review

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Crack is extremely addictive and causes rapid tolerances to develop when people abuse the drug. When a person uses crack the pleasurable feelings they get when they smoke the drug only last for a short period of time, meaning that a person will need to continue to take the drug to keep the ‘high’ they get when the drug is in their system.

Since an individual will continue to abuse the drug to keep their ‘high,’ their body will build a tolerance to the drug meaning that their body will require higher amounts of the drug in order for the drug to work. This leads to a rapid onset of addiction and dependency, and since crack impairs a user’s brain chemicals, the likelihood of withdrawals is extremely common when a crack abuser stops using the drug.

Crack withdrawal is difficult for a person to go through, and may differ from person to person. However, there are three main withdrawal symptoms that the majority of crack abusers experience when they stop using, or begin to detox from the drug.


Depression is inevitable in a person who has been using crack, whether short term or long term. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, short and long term use of crack can lead to depression.

When a person is depressed, their dopamine and serotonin levels are depleted, which results in them feeling sad and fatigued, and sometimes even suicidal. Every time a person uses crack their serotonin and dopamine levels increase in their brain, causing them to feel happy and energized, but when the drug leaves their system, their serotonin and dopamine will be depleted, causing them to feel depressed.

If a person has been using crack for many years, they may have caused permanent damage to their dopamine levels in their brain, which can result in them feeling sad for a very long time. Depression is a horrible mental illness to live with, and a person who abuses crack will have to live with depression, whether short or long-term.


Anxiety is another symptom a person can expect to go through with crack withdrawal. Since crack affects a user’s nervous system and brain chemicals, when a person does not have the drug anymore, they will become anxious and may experience uncontrollable shaking.


Although a person may feel fatigued and depressed while going through crack withdrawal, they may also experience insomnia. It is common for a person addicted to crack to wake up periodically throughout the night, or to have problems sleeping, since their body is healing itself from their drug abuse.