Crack Cocaine Addiction
Crack is a yellow-white rock or crystal form of cocaine—also called freebase cocaine—that has been processed with ammonia or baking soda to convert it into a more potent and smokable form 1,2. It is called crack due to the crackling sounds of the crystal has it’s heated and smoked 1,2. Crack cocaine is highly addictive. Smoking it induces a more powerful and immediate rush than snorting cocaine and can quickly lead to compulsive and problematic use 1. Crack cocaine addiction can cause significant impairment and distress in an individual’s life and users may be unable to quit, despite these negative consequences.
This article will cover the following information:
- Signs and symptoms of crack cocaine addiction.
- Addiction treatment options.
- Financing crack cocaine addiction treatment.
- Factors that influence addiction.
- Long-term effects of crack cocaine abuse.
- Get help for crack cocaine addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Addiction
Crack cocaine is a smokable form of cocaine that causes large amounts of dopamine to be released within the brain, inducing intense pleasurable feelings 1. In tampering with our normal dopamine activity levels, crack cocaine hijacks the brain’s natural reward system, which positively reinforces continued use and leads to severe cravings 1. People often use crack cocaine in binges, smoking the drug repeatedly over a period of time in order to maintain the high 1. This method of abuse can speed up the onset of addiction.
There are many different signs and symptoms of crack cocaine addiction that you should be aware of. Symptoms of addiction to the stimulant can be behavioral, psychological, or physical.
Some possible behavioral signs and symptoms include 1,3:
- Using more crack or for a longer period of time than intended.
- Failing to control or quit using crack.
- Continuing to use crack despite negative interpersonal, physical, or psychological consequences resulting from use.
- Continuing to use crack despite failing to fulfill obligations at school, home, or work.
- Spending a great amount of time getting, using, or recovering from the effects of crack.
- Choosing to use crack over previously enjoyed hobbies and activities.
- Using crack in hazardous situations, such as while driving.
- Exhibiting secretive behaviors surrounding crack use.
- Acting defensive when confronted about crack use.
- Exhibiting aggressive, paranoid behavior.
- Changes in sociability, such as increased talkativeness.
Physical and psychological signs to look for include 1,2,3:
- Dilated pupils.
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
- Increased respiratory rate.
- Excessive sweating.
- Hypersensitivity to stimuli.
- Psychomotor agitation, such as pacing, or other repetitive movements.
- Decreased appetite.
- Intense feelings of well-being.
- Anger or tension.
- Intense crack cocaine cravings.
- Tolerance, which means that the user requires increasing doses to experience intoxication.
- Withdrawal symptoms with cessation of use. Symptoms may include irritability, depression, extreme fatigue, anxiety, increased appetite, insomnia, and sometimes psychosis.
It’s important to note that smoking crack cocaine can cause sudden death, usually due to cardiac complications, even in first-time users 1,2. There is no safe dose of crack cocaine.
Addiction Treatment Options
If you are struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine, you may feel that you are beyond help, but that is not the case. It is never too late to get treatment for an addiction. Some people can quit using crack cocaine on their own, but more often than not, professional treatment is needed to obtain and maintain long-term sobriety. There are many benefits to getting treatment for crack addiction.
Some benefits you might get from a recovery program include:
- Therapy: Individual therapy can help to uncover and address the underlying reasons for your crack cocaine addiction, as well as teach you valuable coping and stress-management skills.
- Medication: Although there are no current FDA-approved medications for the treatment of crack cocaine addiction, medical research remains ongoing 2. Prescription medication may be provided to treat the symptoms of depression, anxiety, or insomnia that emerge when you stop using crack cocaine.
- Structure: Many people find the structure and routine of an addiction treatment program-particularly an inpatient program—to be helpful in promoting comfort and accountability while recovering from a crack addiction.
- Support: Group counseling is an integral part of addiction recovery. Throughout your treatment program, you will be surrounded by supportive peers who have had many of the same struggles with addiction that you have.
- Medical care: Health is often neglected during a crack cocaine addiction. A treatment program can give you access to medical care that can address physical ailments you may have neglected while you were using.
There are many different options for addiction treatment, and no one type of treatment is better than another. The best treatment will depend on your own needs and beliefs. Some types of treatment include:
- Detox: Typically, people who use crack cocaine do not need detox, but it can be beneficial for someone who has previously relapsed due to cravings or withdrawal symptoms. If you have been abusing crack cocaine in conjunction with other substances, you may need a medically-supervised detox. Detox is a short-term inpatient treatment program in which you can comfortably and safely withdraw from the substance or substances.
- Inpatient: Inpatient or residential rehabs require that you live at the recovery center for the length of your stay, which can range from 28 days to 90 days, or more, depending on your needs. These programs are particularly beneficial for those who wish to escape their everyday, using environments in order to focus solely on their recovery.
- Outpatient: There are a number of different outpatient treatment options—from traditional outpatient therapy, which meets 1-2 times per week, to intensive outpatient treatment, which meets 4-5 times per week and more closely resembles an inpatient program. All outpatient programs are the same in that you can live at home and continue your daily activities, such as school, work, and family responsibilities.
- Luxury: These inpatient programs are often located in desirable settings, such as by the beach or in the mountains, and tend to resemble a resort as opposed to a hospital. Luxury treatment programs offer posh amenities, such as gourmet meals, swimming pools, exercise programs, golf, and yoga, and provide you with more individualized, one-on-one attention.
- Executive: If you need treatment but are afraid of missing work, executive treatment centers cater to working professionals. They will provide you with everything you need to stay connected to co-workers and clients, such as internet access, a phone, and a private workroom.
- 12-step programs: For many, the support and sponsorship of 12-step programs, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Cocaine Anonymous (CA), is crucial to maintaining long-term sobriety.
- Holistic: Many inpatient treatment centers have a holistic approach, which means that they aim to heal the whole person—spiritually, physically, and emotionally. These programs tend to combine traditional approaches, such as psychotherapy and group counseling, with alternative modalities, such as yoga, massage therapy, mindfulness and meditation, nutritional therapy, and creative arts therapy.
- Dual diagnosis: About 7.9 million people in the United States had co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders in 2014 4. Dual diagnosis treatment programs can treat both disorders simultaneously, maximizing your chances for successful, long-term recovery.
- Population-specific treatment: Oftentimes, treatment centers will specialize in treating specific populations who tend to have unique challenges when recovering from addiction. Some populations treatment centers may cater to include teens, LGBT, men-only, women-only, and veterans.
Financing Crack Cocaine Addiction Treatment
The exact cost of treatment will depend on a number of things, such as:
- The type of treatment program.
- The length of the program.
- The services and amenities included.
- The program location.
- Your insurance coverage.
If you have insurance, your insurance will likely cover some of the cost of addiction treatment. Make sure to call your insurance company to learn the specific details of your plan.
If you don’t have insurance, however, there are some different ways you can cover the cost of your addiction treatment. A few suggestions include:
- Sliding scale or payment plan: Some treatment centers offer payments made on a sliding scale depending on your income, or you may be able to set up a payment plan to make smaller monthly payments.
- Get help from family or friends: If you have a strong support network, you may want to reach out and ask your friends and family members if they’d be willing to lend or donate money towards your addiction recovery program.
- Crowdfunding. Get creative. By using a crowdfunding campaign on websites such as IndieGoGo and GoFundMe, you can raise the money needed to get addiction treatment. Harness the power of social media to help you. Using photos, videos, and compelling aspects of your story, you may be able to get people to give you the financial backing to get treatment.
- Utilizing personal assets: If you have enough money put away in savings, you may want to consider using what you’ve saved to help pay for your treatment program. Otherwise, you may want to consider using a credit card that you can pay off once you complete the program.
If you think you have an addiction, make getting clean a priority. Our addiction treatment support team can help you find treatment. Call 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? any time for help in deciding the best treatment for you.
Factors That Influence Addiction
Addiction is a multi-faceted condition and is influenced by many different causes. Some of the factors that can influence addiction include:
- Trauma. Exposure to trauma , whether from abuse, commonly violence, neglect, combat, or other kinds of traumatic events, is a strong risk factor for addiction 7.
- Genetics. A large body of research demonstrates the role of genetics in the development of addictions. In particular, crack cocaine addiction has a higher rate of heritability than other substances, with an estimated 72% genetic influence 5.
- Environmental risk factors. Some factors from your environment can make you more vulnerable to addiction, including community poverty, having parents or friends who abuse alcohol or other drugs, lack of parental supervision, drug availability, and academic problems 6.
- Mental health. People who have a mental health disorder are more likely to develop a substance addiction than people without a mental health disorder 4.
Long-Term Effects of Crack Cocaine Abuse
Addiction is a chronic, progressive condition, meaning that it tends to worsen over time if you do not get treatment. Long-term crack cocaine use can negatively impact your physical and mental health in the following ways 1,2,3:
- Severe depression.
- Mood disturbances.
- Movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease.
- Heart attack and heart disease.
- Respiratory failure.
- Sexual dysfunction.
- Reproductive damage and infertility.
- Increased risk of traumatic injuries due to violence.
Some other problems that many people experience during the course of an addiction include:
- Financial problems.
- Legal issues, resulting from assault, theft, drug dealing, or D.U.I.
- Poor school or work performance.
- Relationship problems, like loss of friendships, divorce, reduced contact with family.
- Job loss.
Get Help for Crack Cocaine Addiction Today
Addiction is a chronic, progressive condition, meaning that it tends to worsen over time if you do not get treatment.If you or someone you care about has an addiction to crack cocaine, don’t wait any longer to get help. Our addiction support specialists can help you get the treatment you need to get your life back on track. Call us at 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? today.
- Center for Substance Abuse Research. Crack cocaine.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016). DrugFacts: Cocaine.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publications.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2016). Co-occurring disorders.
- Ducci, F. and Goldman, D. (2012). The genetic basis of addictive disorders. The Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 35(2), 495 – 519.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (2014). Drug abuse and addiction.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Adverse Childhood Experiences.