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Crack Cocaine Addiction and Treatment

Recovering from a crack cocaine addiction will be hard psychologically and physically, but a professional addiction treatment center can help make recovery safer and last longer. Find out more here.

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Crack Cocaine Addiction

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What is Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is a dangerous and addictive drug. Crack is a highly concentrated free-base form of the stimulant drug, cocaine. It is made by combining baking soda or ammonia into the powdered form of cocaine, which then dries into a solid rock-like form.

Crack is usually smoked. When heated, its vapors allow for large doses to be absorbed by the lungs, resulting in an intense high. This euphoric rush fades quickly, leaving users craving more. The rapid onset of the high and intensity of the feelings of euphoria make crack highly and easily addictive.

According to a Harvard study, the brain’s reward centers—known as the dopamine receptors—activate when crack is smoked, which reinforces continued use of the drug.

Crack cocaine gets its name from the crackling sound produced when the drug is heated and smoked. 

Other street names for Crack:
  • Nuggets
  • Jelly beans
  • Gravel
  • Dice
  • Candy
  • Rocks
  • Base
  • Cookies

How Addictive is Crack Cocaine

Crack is far more addictive than regular cocaine. The potency of the drug is extreme, and because of this, an addiction to crack can develop rapidly. Many people form an addiction the first time they use crack cocaine.

Since it is so addictive, any amount of crack use should be cause for concern. Those addicted to crack often put getting a fix before anything else in their life.

Signs of a Crack Cocaine Addiction

Family members and loved ones who use crack cocaine will usually not be able to conceal their addiction successfully.

Signs of crack cocaine addiction include:
  • Overconfidence
  • Hyperactivity
  • Frequent disappearances
  • Dilated pupils
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Restlessness
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Uncharacteristic irresponsibility
  • Burns on fingers
  • Cracked or blistered lips

Who Abuses Crack Cocaine

Anyone can abuse crack cocaine, but cocaine is more expensive to buy than crack, making it a lot more accessible and prevalent in low-income communities. At the same time, affluent drug users tend to use cocaine rather than crack.

Crack vs Cocaine

Side-Effects of Crack Cocaine

Since it is smoked, crack cocaine’s effects are more immediate and intense than that of powdered cocaine.

Some of the short-term effects are:
  • Intense high followed by severe depression, agitation, and craving for more of the drug
  • Loss of appetite
  • Disturbed, restless sleep, or insomnia
  • Increased heart rate, muscle spasms, and convulsions
  • Paranoia, anger, hostility, or anxiety
  • Increased chances of a heart attack, stroke, seizure, or respiratory failure

Long-Term Effects of Crack Cocaine Addiction

Long-term effects can occur days, weeks, months, and years after consistent drug abuse.

Long-term effects include:
  • Respiratory problems including coughing, shortness of breath, and lung damage
  • Damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys
  • Hallucinations and mental illness
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Loss of appetite possibly resulting in malnutrition
  • Increased aggressive and paranoid behavior
  • Severe depression, which gets worse after each use

Crack Cocaine and Alcohol

Crack cocaine or alcohol can harm an individual when abused separately, but the effects of combining crack cocaine and alcohol can be devastating. Mixing the two to amplify effects will create a physiological and physical effect that can be fatal.

When combining alcohol, a depressant, with crack, a stimulant, the results can be antagonistic, where one high cancels the other out. This can result in the individual consuming more alcohol or using more crack to amplify effects. This can result in an overdose. In addition to this, the liver combines crack and alcohol to create a third substance, cocaethylene. This substance greatly increases the euphoric effects of crack and can result in sudden death.

Combining crack and alcohol can also result in an increased risk of injuries, heart damage, and brain damage.

Treatment for Crack Addiction

Treatment and recovery is the only way to lead a drug-free life. Treatment navigators are available to assist with recovery from crack cocaine addiction. It is essential to find a treatment center that specializes in helping individuals fight their addiction.

The first step toward recovery is detox. When done in a controlled environment at a rehabilitation facility, detox can safely cleanse the body from crack cocaine. Therapy and medications that treat crack addiction can help with cravings and withdrawal and promote recovery.

Detox from Crack Cocaine

Physicians at drug treatment facilities develop detox strategies based on the patient’s unique body chemistry and medical history. Unlike some other drugs, doses of crack are not tapered down during detox. Addicts are advised to quit cold turkey under medical supervision. Medications will be administered to help counteract uncomfortable and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Crack Cocaine Withdrawal

Those addicted to crack cocaine have usually developed a physical and psychological dependence on it, resulting in severe withdrawal symptoms when quitting.

When someone addicted to crack cocaine stops using, their body goes through a significant adjustment period to relearn how to function without the drug in their system.

Symptoms experienced during withdrawal include:
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams

Withdrawal symptoms vary based on many factors such as the user’s tolerance, metabolism, length of addiction, the severity of the habit, and the presence of any underlying mental health conditions or other addictions.

Withdrawal can begin anywhere from 30 minutes to 72 hours after the last crack cocaine dose. Physical symptoms of crack withdrawal usually last 1 to 3 months, but there is no exact timeline for this as every individual is different. If withdrawal symptoms last more than three weeks, the patient is considered to be suffering from PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome).

Therapies Used in Crack Cocaine Addiction Treatment

A stay in an inpatient rehabilitation center is one of the best ways to make a complete recovery from crack addiction. There are many centers with varying treatment plans designed to suit each individual. Most of them focus on cognitive behavioral therapy, support groups, psychoeducational group therapy, and process group therapy.

Recovering from a Crack Addiction

Recovery from crack addiction is difficult but possible. Seeking help from a professional addiction rehab center is the first step towards recovery. Recovering from addiction is never a one-size-fits-all approach. At Addiction Rehab Treatment, we can help you start on the road to recovery from crack cocaine addiction. We are fully committed to helping you recover from this devastating illness.

Speak to us and we will help you find the best tailored and individualized treatment program for you.

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