Crack cocaine was created in the 1980’s as a cheaper alternative to cocaine. The popularity of this highly addictive stimulant drug has since grown. Today crack is one of the hardest addictions to kick. According to a 2001 survey, 6.2 million of Americans over the age of 12 report trying crack at least once in the past year, that is 2.8% of the population.
What is Crack?
Crack is the freebased form of cocaine that can be smoked. The name “crack” refers to the crackling sound it makes when manufactured and when smoked. The apperance of crack rocks is off-white nuggets with jagged edges. Crack rocks act as an anesthetic, when smoked it can leave the tongue numb where the smoke enters the mouth.
Crack cocaine directly affects the users brain chemistry. Its initial effect is to release a large amount of dopamine producing a since of euphoria, supreme confidence, loss of appetite, insomnia, alertness, increased energy, and cravings for more crack cocaine. The high usually lasts from 5–10 minutes, then the dopamine levels in the brain drop drastically, and the user is left feeling depressed. At this point the addict will typically take another hit to maintain their high and feel “good”. It takes a long time for the levels of dopamine in the brain to replenish themselves so each hit there is a less intense high.
Crack users will often go on binges up to 3 days long taking constant hits off the crack pipe trying to reach the high they experienced their first hit. Users typically become irritable, restless, and paranoid after going on these binges. Some may fall into full-blown paranoid psychosis, losing touch with reality and experiencing auditory hallucinations. They may even experience delusional parasitosis where they believe they are infested with parasites. Crack use can cause constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, and an increase in temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Many users feel restless, irritable, and anxious. Large doses of crack can cause bizarre, erratic, and violent behaviors, as well as tremors, vertigo, muscle twitches, paranoia and a toxic reaction.
Crack addiction treatment
Crack cocaine addiction can seem overwhelming, it is one of the hardest drugs to quit. Many are unable to quit cold turkey and require the assistance of a treatment program to successfully quit. The drug overcomes the user, that can’t function without crack. It destroys their personal relationships, may cause financial stress due to loss of employment.
When entering into a treatment program you will go through an assessment process by Doctors and staff, they will determine the right course of treatment for you. The detoxification process will cleanse your body of any toxins and chemicals while receiving a non-addictive prescription medication to lessen any symptoms of withdrawal and help control drug cravings. Behavioral modification therapy will help you get to the cause of your addiction as well as teach you the key tools you need to maintain your sobriety when leaving the program. Crack addiction does not go away, it is forever there, even years into sobriety the addict may experience a craving. This is why maintaining a relationship with a support group is extremely important, they can help you fight off temptation as well as help pick you back up if you do relapse. With the help of a treatment facility you can successfully quit using crack.