Crack Cocaine Rehab & Recovery Center

Cocaine is available in different forms, one of which is the freebase form known as “crack”. Crack was once an incredibly popular street drug because it provides a fast-acting, ultra-potent high in an affordable manner. It is called “crack” because the rock makes a crackling sound when it is heated. The rock can be pink, yellow, or white, with the color indicating how the drug was produced and what it is contaminated with.

Crack is a very popular stimulant that provides a euphoric, rapid high. The body becomes stimulated, which means physical and mental processes start to speed up dramatically. This increases focus, attention, and energy. When smoked, the effects are almost instant because the lungs absorb it straight into the bloodstream and send it to the brain. Usually, the effects are felt nearly instantly and the peak happens very quickly. After about five to 10 minutes, the effects are no longer felt, at which point people often try to use more. This is also where the danger lies and why crack cocaine is seen as far more addictive than regular cocaine.

Why People Turn to Crack

People use crack because of the intense high that it gives them. This includes feelings of grandiosity and self-importance, euphoria, intense energy, escape from reality, and increased focus. When people continue to use it, however, these desired effects start to be replaced with serious problems.

Recognizing a Crack User

The negative effects of using crack are so severe and so quick that most users try, albeit unsuccessfully, to quit. It provides people with extreme energy, which places serious stress on the heart, the brain, and the lungs. Quality of life seriously deteriorates as well. When people smoke crack, their heartbeat increases and their muscles tense. This feels exhilarating but it also means that blood vessels become constricted and blood pressure rises. Hence, people who smoke crack are at constant risk of cardiac arrest, stroke, and heart attacks.

There are some visual signs to look for in people who are using crack. Often, they leave tiny plastic bags behind, which contain crack residue. They may also have glass or metal crack pipes. Often, their fingertips and lips are burned from the pipe as well.

The effects of crack last much shorter than those of powder cocaine. As a result, active users disappear every 10 to 15 minutes to have a new hit. Users constantly need to find more drugs, which is often achieved by turning to crime. They are incapable of financing their habit in any other way.

It cannot be stressed enough how dangerous crack can be. It is almost unheard of that someone has truly used crack recreationally for a short period of time without becoming addicted to it. This is a very serious issue and one that affects a person both physically and psychologically. It is the intense but very short lived high that makes the substance so addictive. The extreme euphoria that people experience makes everything more intense and pleasurable. But because this only lasts for a short period of time, they constantly “chase” the high to try and recreate it.

Symptoms of Crack Abuse

If you are worried about a loved one being addicted to crack cocaine, there are some physical symptoms to be mindful of. These include:

  • Insomnia
  • Dilated pupils
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Anorexia
  • Muscle twitching
  • Nosebleeds

Crack abuse also comes with strong psychological symptoms, including:

  • Volatile mood swings
  • Aggression
  • Psychosis
  • Obsessions about crack
  • Being incapable of stopping despite wanting to stop
  • Prioritizing obtaining the drug over all else
  • Smoking the substance despite it negatively affecting other aspects of a person’s life

Another important sign to be mindful of is increased tolerance, meaning users have to increase their dosage to feel a similar high. They will then experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop. Once they become tolerant to the drug, they will become dependent on it, and once they are dependent, they will quickly become addicted. If people start to engage in problematic, dangerous, or risky behavior in order to get the substance, it is likely that they are addicted. Similarly, those who become involved in crime, violent behavior, or risky sexual behavior are also likely to be addicted.

Once people are in the grips of an addiction, they are no longer able to think logically and rationally. Rather, it will become very difficult for them to maintain relationships. If your partner is addicted to crack, you do not have to end the relationship, but you will need to find support for both of you if you want your relationship to survive.

Withdrawal is also an important symptom of addiction. Withdrawal happens when the body starts to rid itself of the toxins and chemicals obtained from crack cocaine, and this can be very unpleasant. Withdrawal should be medically managed not just to keep the patients safe but also to make sure they do not relapse in the attempt to stop the side effects from happening. Common withdrawal symptoms for crack cocaine include:

  • Deep depression
  • Increased worry, stress, and anxiety
  • Easy agitation and high levels of irritability
  • Intense cravings

It is generally recommended not to approach users while they are experiencing the high of crack. You can recognize these by their dry mouth and dilated pupils, as well as their decreased appetite. During the high, they are likely to be talkative and restless. Sleep is virtually impossible.

People who are addicted to crack often become paranoid, defensive, isolated, and depressed. They often experience extreme mood swings and may lose touch with reality. People on crack often feel as if bugs are crawling under their skin, and they may become obsessed with scratching it. After further prolonged use, users start to age prematurely. Developing Parkinson’s disease is quite common.

Crack cocaine addiction can happen just a few days after first using the substance. It is also one of the hardest addictions to beat. However, unless it is beaten, people often become compulsive, paranoid, over stimulated, and psychotic, at which point they pose a danger to both themselves and to others.

The Dangers of Crack Abuse

Crack abuse is always dangerous, not just to the user, but also to those around them. This is because addicts often engage in certain risky behaviors, including:

  • When on crack, sexual desires are increased and inhibitions are removed. As such, people are more likely to have unprotected sex with multiple partners. Furthermore, women in particular are likely to engage in prostitution to fund their habit.
  • Violent behavior. When addicted to crack, emotions, including rage and anger, are increased. Research has shown that crack users are more likely to be abusive to their partners, as well as to engage in intentional or unintentional self harm.
  • Risky behavior to get more crack. The substance motivates very strongly and people are often willing to do virtually anything to get it. This includes sexual behavior and crime.
  • Neglect of responsibilities. Crack users only care about using more crack to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. This goes at the expense of their social, financial, professional, and educational relationships.
  • Illegal activity. Crack users frequently break the law not just by using crack cocaine but also by how they choose to obtain the drug.

Health Risks of Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine, whether used for a short time or long time, can lead to a number of significant health problems. For the short term, these include:

  • Heart problems
  • Increased breathing
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Bizarre or odd behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures

These effects can be presents after just a single use. The long term effects of crack use can happen very quickly, sometimes just after a few days of using. These include:

  • Serious cardiovascular damage
  • Malnutrition
  • Cognitive decline
  • Delirium and confusion
  • Psychosis
  • Damage to teeth, mouth, and lips
  • Irritability, anxiety, and major depression

Treatment for Crack Abuse

Usually, crack abuse treatment starts with a period of detox. This means that users are medically supported to withdraw from their chosen substance. They are monitored by medical staff for both their physical and psychological symptoms. How long withdrawal will last depends on a range of factors, but mainly on the severity of the abuse. The psychological withdrawal often lasts for much longer than the physical withdrawal, and this is treated in inpatient rehab facilities. While outpatient rehab does exist, it is not recommended for crack users due to the high potential for relapse.

Residential rehab gives people the opportunity to focus on their recovery without any distractions. They will live at a center and receive treatment through individual, group, and family therapy. With crack cocaine, treatment can last from 30 days to a full year.

After inpatient treatment, aftercare must be provided to the patient. This enables people to slowly transition back into becoming contributing members of the community. Often, this is achieved through placement in a form of transitional housing. Additionally, recovering users must commit to seeking further forms of treatment, such as signing up to programs such as the NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or other such groups and programs, based on theories, such as 12 steps or sponsorship.

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