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Crack Addiction and How to Get Past It

Crack Addiction, Withdrawal, and Rehab Recovery

Crack cocaine addiction from the outside looks terrifying. You’ve probably seen someone in a commercial or a movie. What if it were your child? This is sadly a reality and it is one of the most intense addictions that comes with extreme challenges through recovery.

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crack addiction information

It’s been depicted in movies as being the worst kind of drug to get mixed up with. When we look at crack abuse and addiction, it is well known to be a serious problem that so often leads to death. If you, or someone you know has a problem with crack, it’s important to get help immediately.

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Crack Addiction Information

Help for Crack Addiction

Crack is very addictive, and those who abuse it soon discover that they’re getting much more than they bargained for. The choice to use crack even one time is choosing a life of dependence and addiction on the drug. There is a high risk that it will eventually take your life. While recovery is possible, it is very difficult. 

Crack recovery is a long multifaceted treatment process that will require a lot of help. The road is long and the challenges are many. It’s important to realize that many of the top crack rehab centers in the Pacific Northwest offer top quality treatment for those who want to stop using this dangerous drug. However, if you’re currently addicted to crack, it can help to learn more about it and how you can recover. Many crack addicts won’t look for help on their own. If you are a parent to a crack addict, it may be up to you to stage an intervention so they can get the help they need.

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What is Crack Cocaine?

Cocaine is a well known party drug that is highly addictive. To create crack, cocaine and baking soda are dissolved in water. They are then boiled down which is going to separate the solids. Once cooled, it will be a chunk of something that looks like a crystal. It can be broken down into rocks. This is what crack cocaine is. It is a deadlier version, more potent version of cocaine. 

It’s called crack cocaine because when it goes through the boiling process, there is a noticeable cracking noise. Also, when users inhale it when it’s being smoked, it crackles. The only way to get the effect of crack is to snort or smoke it. When it’s taken this way, the drug reaches the brain quickly and more acutely than cocaine. When smoked, it will reach the brain in less than 10 seconds. The high is more intense but it lasts less time. As the high is shorter, a user is more likely to take more than they would if they were using cocaine. As tolerance kicks in quickly, it doesn’t take long for most users to try crack with a needle.

Crack Street Names

Crack cocaine goes by many different names on the street. It’s important to know what they are in the event your loved one is abusing the drug.

Here are some of the common names:

  • Roxanne
  • Jelly beans
  • Rocks
  • French fries and nuggets.

The Addictive Nature of Crack Cocaine

Studies have found it can take just one time of using crack cocaine to rewire your brain completely. Crack goes right into the brain’s dopamine system. Dopamine neurotransmitters start working overtime, which results in a sense of extreme pleasure and euphoria. The brain will anticipate more very quickly. The amount of dopamine that’s released when you take a hit of crack is fare more than you can achieve naturally. Furthermore, cocaine prevents the brain from breaking down and absorbing dopamine again. The result is, when you’re on the high, you feel incredible. When it’s gone, you feel worse than before you started. This is why it can cause addiction after just one time use. 

This video gives you a quick explanation on what crack cocaine is and how it affects your brain. 

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How Quickly Crack Addiction Can Set In

Crack cocaine addiction can happen so quickly. If you have a loved one who becomes addicted to it, you may notice a significant change in them within days. It is a short timetable for tolerance, dependence, and addiction to crack. If you have any suspicions of a loved one using this drug, address it quickly. They can spin out of control before you have time to help as not only is it addictive but also extremely dangerous. If you are abusing crack, don’t take it lightly. You may enjoy the euphoric high that you get from crack but how long does it take before you’re desperate for another hit?

The high is extreme and so is the low. When all the happiness you felt is gone, you may feel like you want more so you can feel good again. Everytime you use it, you’re training your brain to require crack to produce dopamine. With enough abuse of crack, your brain won’t produce the “happy chemical” dopamine anymore. Tolerance to crack happens quickly. You will need to take more of the drug to get the same effects you did when taking it the first time. 

Effects of Crack

Your central nervous system is heavily affected by crack. Crack cocaine is a stimulant which gives you energy and a euphoric sense of well being. It constricts your blood vessels and causes your blood pressure and heart rate to rise. You might find that you sweat excessively or talk constantly. You may feel restless, anxious, and irritable but not really able to maintain thoughts about one thing or the next for very long. 

The majority of crack users are in their 20’s or 30’s. However, your body will begin to age quickly on the inside and outside when you abuse crack. It might seem like fun when you’re in the party mode, or it’s a great way to numb yourself from the stress of life. Eventually, it will change your whole path in life. Healthwise, you may have future problems. You put yourself at risk of having seizures or a heart attack from heavy use of crack. Crack on its own is risky enough but many people will also abuse it with other substances. This can lead to an overdose because the body can’t handle the amount of varying toxins in the body.

Mixing Crack with Other Substances

Crack abuse is hard enough on the body and mind. When you mix crack and alcohol, you are doubling up the risks. There is an effect that crack cocaine and alcohol have when they are mixed together that is deadly. It’s not just about each substance and their effects on your body. Mixing crack and alcohol will multiply the effects of each other. The result is a more intense psychological and physical experience.

Alcohol is a sedative, which depresses the central nervous system. If you drink enough, you feel slower, more relaxed. When you add crack cocaine to the mix, you are creating a potentially deadly situation. Everyone will react differently to alcohol depending on age, sex, weight, and consumption of food beforehand. So even if you have mixed alcohol and crack before, that doesn’t make it safe.

Researchers have found that the highs of the substances are multiplied. When crack and alcohol are combined, your liver can produce a third substance known as cocaethylene. You can become addicted to this substance, which will cause you to need both substance in order to get your fix. Cocaethylene intensifies the high of crack and increases your risk of death. 

How drunk a person feels will dependent on how fast the alcohol goes to the brain. When you add crack to the mix, it speeds up your metabolism. This is going to cause the alcohol to get to the brain more quickly. Crack also prevents you from really feeling the effects of alcohol. You may end up drinking more than your body can handle. This can cause alcohol poisoning. Alcohol influences crack cocaine by making your heart beat faster. This can cause sudden death. 

Are You A Crack Addict?

If you’re asking yourself this question, you may have enough time to get out of abusing crack before it’s too late. A crack addict is going to have a hard time acknowledging any sense of reality. Have you noticed that your parents and peers are worried about your well-being? Have you shifted friends and dropped activities you once cared about? The majority of crack users will start in their 20’s and 30’s, which is just when your adult life starts to form. There is easy access to crack cocaine and it’s usually used widely in the party scene.

If you’re questioning your dependence to crack, here’s a video that tells you about the six most common signs of crack addiction.

Signs Your Loved One Has a Crack Addiction

Some types of drug abuse are easy to hide but crack isn’t one of them. There are signs that are very obvious. The subtle signs are big bursts of energy (after they’ve just taken a hit). It is noticeable in that it’s not normal human behavior to be that excitable. They may talk quickly or eat a lot of food in a short amount of time. You may notice agitation and nervousness. 

When the dose starts to wear off, you’ll see the downfall. This includes extreme fatigue. They might fall asleep instantly and stay asleep for days. It would be impossible not to notice the radical ups and downs of a crack user. A crack addict is smart though. They are usually going to go to a place where others users are. They won’t do it in your home. So if you notice that your child doesn’t come home for days and when they do, they’re exhausted, this is cause for alarm.

The Downward Spiral of a Crack User

When someone abuses crack, they will experience major struggles in their sleep patterns. This is going to cause them to miss out on responsibilities like school or work. Crack causes extreme stimulation where the user has a lot of energy. Then there’s the fatigue that is nothing you’ve ever experienced before. There are also mood swings involved, especially when the user hasn’t had a fix in a while. A crack addict will often be violent and look to fight physically and verbally

If you try to prevent your child from abusing crack, you will likely see a backlash of anger. This is why it’s important to know the right methods in getting your loved one to rehab. If the person hasn’t used crack in a while, their emotions can be a weapon to themselves or others. They may become extremely depressed and have suicidal thoughts. If someone abuses crack for long enough, they will likely have paranoia and hallucinate, seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. 

Crack cocaine causes jitters in the body. From the outside, it will look like tremors and the user can’t control it. This will take place whether they are on the drug or off it. The trembling will make a crack user want to use again. They will reason that they can better control the tremors. The reality is, they simply won’t notice or care about them if they’re high. This side effect is just one more excuse to keep them abusing crack. 

A crack addict is going to spend a lot of time seeking out the drug. This is one of the telltale signs of a crack addict. They know that they’re in the trenches of a full on addiction but they are not in control. If they refuse to stop abusing crack despite consequences, it’s clear they have an addiction. 

Crack Cocaine Addiction Behaviors: What to Look Out for as a Concerned Parent

A lot of substances will have mild short term side effects that make it challenging to help your child in the beginning stages. With crack cocaine, the side effects come on quickly and are often noticeable.

In fact, many people discover that the short term effects of crack are quite similar to the longer term effects of other drugs. These crack addiction behaviors can develop after even one use of the drug. That fact alone makes crack one of the most dangerous drugs in the United States.

Some of the short term effects of crack cocaine include:

  • Bouts of anger and irritation
  • Feeling extremely paranoid
  • Being depressed
  • Feelings of exhaustion
  • Being nauseous or having an upset stomach
  • Having convulsions

The euphoric high that crack produces doesn’t last long at all, and so all of these effects can be experienced once the user starts to come down from that high. It’s almost akin to having a hangover, but mood changes are highly likely as well.

Crack is usually smoked but it can also be snorted. If you notice your child has nosebleeds, along with other drug abuse behaviors, you may be able to narrow it down to cocaine or crack. Why do those nosebleeds happen? The chemicals tear down your nasal lining, causing it to bleed. Your child may also seem to have a runny nose all the time. Snorting drugs can also cause the mucous lining in the throat to tear. This can cause your child to have a hard time speaking. At the very least, a crack user is going to have a hoarse voice and may often complain about a sore throat.

Another physical symptoms are the pupils. Cocaine and other stimulants cause a delay in the pupils so they react more slowly to light. If your child is taking crack, their eyes will be bloodshot with dilated pupils. Crack changes the functioning of your brain which is what causes the delayed reaction in pupils.

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Northpoint Recovery is a state of the art, comfortable and modern inpatient detox and drug rehab facility designed to help our clients get the help they need to overcome addiction.

Crack Cocaine Addiction Symptoms: The Long Term Effects

When crack abuse goes on regularly for a long period of time, it’s not uncommon for the user to develop some serious crack addiction symptoms. These symptoms will manifest in medical complications that can become life threatening. Although these are the long term effects, it must be stated that these can occur at any time, and the risks for these effects increase with every single use.

The long term effects of crack use may include:

  • Problems with tooth decay
  • An increased risk of heart attack
  • An increased risk of stroke
  • An impaired immune system
  • Damage to the liver and/or kidneys
  • Failure of the respiratory system

What You Can Do as a Parent if Your Child is Addicted to Crack

If your child is abusing crack, they are going through something you can’t even fathom. It’s important to understand that when you try to help them. They may be going through some struggles in their life, which is what caused them to use in the first place. Of course, abusing crack is only making things worse. Every time they come down off a crack high, they are left having to deal with their demons. 

They will experience mood swings, extreme cravings, inability to sleep, and a helpless feeling that they can’t kick their crack addiction. They may want to stop but they don’t know how. Your child may feel a lot of shame so they don’t want to come to you. It may also be that they’re not ready to acknowledge the problem.

What can you do as a parent when you’re child is addicted to crack? At the core of it all, you need to show that you support your child. That you love them regardless of what’s happening. They may have stolen from you, made you worry, disrespected you, and more. Despite this, you need to let them know you’re there to help them get past their crack addiction. Crack addiction treatment is necessary so discuss this with them. As a parent, you’re not equipped to deal with the early phase of their recovery.

Your son or daughter is likely going to make excuses as to why treatment won’t work for them. They might not want to leave home or they don’t think they can afford it. It would be suggested that you think about the conversation beforehand. If you have a clear answer to all their concerns about rehab, it’s going to be easier to convince them to go. Maybe you have a pamphlet available so they can see it. 

You can talk to an addiction facility to get all your questions answered before you talk to your son or daughter. In fact, an addiction facility will usually have a professional intervention service. They are trained to help you get your child to crack rehab so they can get the help they need. It’s important to understand that crack addiction is extremely powerful. It makes most users helpless to control the compulsion to get more. This is why as a parent, it is up to you to help them as best as you can. 

This mother of politician Tom Ford speaks out about her own addiction. She said she was a functioning crack addict but she did leave her family. She lived under bridges and didn’t talk to her family. She is now in recovery but she was a crack addict for 20 years of her life. The family dynamic is challenging in this situation. This story is somewhat of an inspiration that a heavy crack user can recover. 

Crack Withdrawal Symptoms: The Proper Way to Stop

Crack is such an incredibly powerful drug that come with severe withdrawal symptoms. It’s common to believe that you have power over your addiction to crack, and you may want to try stopping on your own before you consider going to crack addiction treatment. Doing so will most likely lead to your relapse, and it could also involve serious medical complications too. Crack withdrawal symptoms can include flu-like symptoms, intense cravings, mood swings and obsessive thoughts about using crack.

Common symptoms when you are going through crack cocaine withdrawal include:

  • Anxious feelings
  • Intense, out-of-control cravings
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Inability to sleep
  • Debilitating depression
  • Night terrors

The sad reality is that crack addiction is extremely hard to overcome. Many times, relapse will occur but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail. The road might be long and challenging but it is possible. Realistically, the other option is dying at an early age. If you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, you have a whole life to live. You can come back from crack addiction but you will need help every step of the way.

Crack Addiction Treatment

One of the proven methods for treating all types of addiction, including crack, is the Matrix Model. Within this model, you will build a bond with your therapist. This is important as motivation and support are a necessary factor in crack recovery.

The Matrix Model includes:

  • The prevention of relapse.
  • Family and group therapy.
  • Groups for self-help.
  • Education on the nature of crack addiction.
  • Periodic drug tests to make sure you haven’t been using throughout recovery.

These treatments can be done in an inpatient or outpatient program. When it comes to crack addiction, an inpatient rehab center is your best chance for recovery. You are in a residential setting where you work through cravings with no chance of obtaining crack. What you will have is constant support from the addiction staff.

Crack Withdrawal Timeline

Crack withdrawal will include intense cravings for the drug. It also involves uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms. You will experience a low once the effects of crack have worn off. It causes you to want crack so you can alleviate the negative emotional feelings and physical discomforts. Crack has a major impact on the reward system of the mind, which is why you’ll experience extreme depression when you don’t have your fix.

The symptoms come on quickly once the crack is out of your system. They can last for a few days or even several months. The most intense withdrawal phase will last 3-7 days with post-acute withdrawal symptoms going on for longer. The time and intensity of the symptoms will depend on how long you used for and how much you used. It also depends on other factors such as your mental state, and whether you abused other substances with crack.

Treatment for Crack Addiction

Of the cocaine addicts who went into drug abuse treatment to get help, 68% of them also smoked crack. They were highly likely to be polydrug users, which makes recovery more complex. If you have a loved one who is a crack addict, know that they have a long road ahead of them for recovery. Crack treatment may take longer than other types of drug addiction recovery. 

Treatment will need to address many aspects such as the disease of addiction and how the brain has been altered. Not only that but there are factors that may be involved with addiction such as family, social, and environmental factors. Treating crack addiction may also involve addressing a co-occurring disorder. This is where a mental disorder is entangled with the addiction. There will likely need to be longer treatment needed that further addresses behavioral issues that are causing the person to continue abusing crack.

It is imperative that a crack addict get professional help. Even if someone has a mere habit of using crack right now, addiction is nearly guaranteed if you keep using. It will eventually kill you or cause you irreversible brain damage. 

The Process of Crack Addiction Treatment

The first part of the treatment process will be to break the physical dependency on it. It is almost impossible to get off crack “cold turkey.” It’s not recommended either as it can be dangerous. The best option is to go through professional detox in an environment where you can be monitored. To do this at home by yourself will surely lead to relapse. Controlling the cravings just isn’t realistic when it comes to crack withdrawal. Instead, withdrawal should take place in a hospital or addiction facility. Here, the doctor’s are able to monitor your vital signs. They can use medications to make the process more comfortable and ensure you don’t relapse. 

The body is going to have a challenging time once crack is no longer in your system. It is physically painful and stressful. There is physical and emotional pain you’ll go through. You may feel suicidal and anxious with extreme cravings for more of the drug. When you go through professional detox, you’ll have moral support. If it’s necessary, there are medications a doctor will administer to reduce your stress. Drugs like baclofen, which is a muscle relaxant, can help with the muscle spasms that are likely to occur when going through crack cocaine detox.

Helping Someone Get off Crack with Medications

Sadly, there is no FDA-approved drug that helps with cocaine addiction. Presently, researchers are looking for a solution. They are looking at medications that target a response to the neurotransmitters that are affected by cocaine. The neurotransmitters are responsible for your emotions and reward center. There are also tests on restoring some of the neurotransmissions that are disturbed by the long term abuse of crack. Controlled trials are revealing that medications reduce cocaine use. They don’t know why it does as of yet but it is showing promise.

There is also a vaccine being developed that may help prevent relapse. It is a vaccine that prevents cocaine from getting to the brain. However, none of these promising medications are being made available to the public just yet. For the symptoms of crack withdrawal, there are various drugs that may be administered to help you however.

Behavioral Therapy

There are many different behavioral treatments that have been shown to help with recovery. Behavioral therapy is essential for most drug addictions. It is believed that the most effective method of treatment is to combine behavioral and pharmacological components. 

Contingency management (CM) has shown to be effective for those with a crack addiction. This involved using a system that involves prizes, awarding someone who is successfully abstaining from cocaine. It will involve urine tests to ensure the patient hasn’t used. The addict will get prizes that promote a healthy lifestyle. CM has shown to be particularly useful in helping the initial stages of sobriety.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found effective in ensuring a crack addict doesn’t relapse. It will help you, or your loved one, to get the skills they need to abstain even when things get hard. It is a process of figuring out what situations trigger you most strongly to abuse cocaine. You can then plan ahead to avoid those situations. You also learn how to cope with the problems that came while you abused drugs. It should be used with other treatments for maximum effect.

Meeting Crack Addicts Where They’re At

While all addictions need special care, someone with a crack addiction needs every bit of help they can get. There are individual factors that exist for each person. Determining what these things are will help you get the best treatments for your recovery. Even with all the treatments available, there is going to be stress and triggers. This can cause the addict to want crack again even if they’re not physically dependent any longer.

Through therapy, it will be important to get help to counter any of the temptation to use crack again. There may be times where the addict feel lonely or bored. These are the triggers that an addict doesn’t see coming. Every addict has a story. If they are not employed, it would be beneficial to go through career counseling. This can coincide with the treatment of their crack addiction. If there are problems with the family dynamic, family therapy may be necessary. 

Aftercare should also be included. This will help the addict avoid relapse because they’re getting the support they need and continuing to work through the issues that brought on addiction. Aftercare is going to reinforce all the new behaviors and activities that the addict has worked on throughout crack rehab recovery.

Learning New Habits

Once the physical aspects of addiction have been dealt with through crack detox, it’s important to also go through the phase of learning new habits. Crack addiction causes psychological damage that will take time to process. This is what rehab is for and you might spend weeks or months in a program. There are both inpatient and outpatient programs for this. 

The therapy you’ll go through will teach you how to improve your mental health. This takes education, which comes in many forms. You’ll be asked to exercise as this is important for getting the brain functioning properly again. You will also learn how to reduce the chances of going back to your old ways. Crack rehab is going to tear down the connections you have to crack being a benefit to your life. This could mean saying goodbye to people that can potentially influence you from using crack again. 

Crack Addiction Treatment Centers: Your Options for Professional Help

Most experts highly recommend drug detox for those who are struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine. You need help to eliminate those harmful toxins, and detoxification can help with that. Once that process has been completed, crack addiction treatment offers you the ability to learn more about your own addiction and heal from the events that may have led to it. You may need additional outpatient treatment as well. Most people find they require support for several months after they quit using crack.

Going through an inpatient rehab program for crack is recommended. With such an addictive drug, it’s important to have constant support in the beginning phases. You are monitored and in an environment where there’s no chance of obtaining crack. Crack rehab will have different treatment plans but will mainly focus on CBT, support groups and addiction education. Often these centers will offer activities like yoga and guided meditation. You may go on hikes or learn how to cook in a healthy way. 

Aftercare Plan for Crack Addiction

Once you’ve gone through rehab and you’re back at home, you should consider regularly attending a recovery group in your area. There may even be a Cocaine Anonymous available to you. If not, there is sure to be Narcotics Anonymous. This gives you a chance to connect with others going through a similar struggle. You can become a part of a community that is not abusing substance.

Within the group, you’ll hold each other accountable. You will also give and receive emotional support. It has been found to be very helpful in preventing relapse. You always have someone to call when you feel alone or are feeling like you want to use again. Research has found that people who join a peer support group after rehab experienced lower rates of abusing substances again. They engage more with the treatment process, and had more control over any cravings they experienced.

Finding the Top Crack Cocaine Rehab Programs in the Country

Crack cocaine remains a serious public health threat across the country, and the causes behind its widespread abuse is complex. The good news is that treatment exists, and it works. Thousands upon thousands of people have had their lives saved because they got help. With professional treatment and the help of friends and families supporting you. It is possible to put the lifestyle and mindset of crack addiction behind you.

Many of the best crack rehab programs in the Pacific Northwest can meet your needs when it comes to recovering from an addiction to crack cocaine. Here at Northpoint Recovery, we’ve developed a program that has shown great promise in helping people leave their addictions behind them. We offer an accredited inpatient rehab program that utilizes the most up to date, proven treatments available. We offer a safe, welcoming environment with specialized programs for every patient who walks through our door. We are available for any questions you have about crack cocaine rehab. Please contact us to learn more.

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