What is Crack?
Crack is the freebase form of cocaine and is a highly popular and addictive substance. Crack cocaine is often nicknamed “crack” after the sound it makes while it is manufacturing and when it is smoked. Crack acts as a local anesthetic (pain reliever) and numbs the tongue or mouth at the site of inhalation. Long-term use of crack inevitably leads to a crack cocaine addiction in users who have developed a tolerance to, and dependence on, the drug.
Effects of Crack
Users who smoke crack experience euphoria, supreme confidence, loss of appetite, insomnia, alertness, increased energy, a craving for more cocaine, and potential paranoia. Crack initially releases a large amount of dopamine, the brain chemical responsible for feelings of euphoria. The effects of a crack cocaine high usually last from five to ten minutes, after which time the dopamine levels in the brain plummet, leaving the user depressed, low and lethargic. In chasing the high produced by the drug, a crack cocaine addiction can easily develop and progress.
Users with addictions to crack cocaine often suffer a plethora of psychological and physiological effects, as well as severe health complications, as a result of their addiction. At increasingly high doses, crack leads to a state of irrational irritability, restlessness, and paranoia. This often results in a full-blown paranoid psychosis, in which the user loses touch with reality and experiences visual, sensory, and auditory hallucinations. Long term crack addiction can induce tremors, vertigo, muscle twitches, extreme paranoia, or, with repeated doses, a toxic reaction closely resembling amphetamine poisoning. In some cases, sudden death may occur in users who ingest too much crack at once. Crack-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest. Additionally, many bacteria and diseases can easily be spread between users who share a crack pipe or a syringe, and long-term use can severely weaken the heart, lungs and liver.
Crack Addiction Treatment
The first step to conquering a crack cocaine addiction and engaging in addiction treatment is to become educated about crack as a substance, its effects, and its dangers. Crack users may feel hopeless about recovering from a crack cocaine addiction, however crack addiction treatment does exist and has been helpful for many addicts. In detoxing from crack, users may experience extreme lethargy and depression, as well as uncontrollable muscular tremors. Crack users are urged to seek refuge in a rehabilitation center where they can detox safely and be nursed back to health by a team of medical professionals with the aid of medication specific to the detoxification process.
Patients usually live on site at a residential facility where crack abuse is addressed with drug and relapse prevention education, twelve-step meetings, and intensive therapy. Continued care must be sought through outpatient programs and residencies at sober living homes. Sober living homes provide healthy, sober lifestyles and act as an extension of physical and psychological rehabilitation for crack addiction; in most cases, the longer a crack addict remains in a sober living home the better chance he or she has of conquering the crack addiction and coming out the other side.