What is Crack?
Crack is a solid, smokeable form of cocaine powder. It gained popularity since its introduction to inner-city neighborhoods in the early 80’s. Initially a cheaper and more pure form of cocaine, crack enabled a more diverse group of people to access cocaine. The seventies saw cocaine use as a status symbol due to its high cost, and crack brought this perceived power to those who could not afford cocaine.
Effects of Crack Cocaine
Effects of smoking crack only last a few minutes, but the intensity of the high increases its appeal to addicts. Crack is a central nervous system stimulant that significantly increases alertness, inhibits hunger, and causes a surge of energy. It is extremely addictive, as the effects are intense, but short. Strong psychological and physical dependence develop quickly, and cessation of its use becomes near impossible. Crack use creates a strong feeling of euphoria and energy, but also many short term and long term side effects.
Long term crack addiction can be permanently damaging. During crack use, short-term effects include weight loss, paranoia, euphoria, and increased sociability. These may be felt while still high on crack. After the last dose wears off, the user experiences withdrawal symptoms of anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
Crack use has many long-term effects that may be irreversible. One long term effect of crack use is an increased risk of psychological disorder, such as agoraphobia, depression, and psychosis. Users may experience agitation, mood swings, and the inability to experience pleasure. One of the most severe symptoms of long term crack use is psychosis and delusions that resemble schizophrenia. Sometimes untreatable, this symptom may persist throughout the user’s life. The long term effects of smoking crack are severe and dangerous, as frequent use may result in heart attack, stroke, or irreversible psychological damage.
Crack Addiction Treatment
Those struggling with crack addiction often require a medical detox to cleanse their body of toxins. While withdrawing from crack, the psychological and emotional pain can be overbearing, and drive the user to smoke crack once again. Detox facilities offer a safe environment for detox, with specialty doctors to aid in the process.
After detox, inpatient drug rehab centers are the most effective form of treatment available. Through cognitive-behavioral therapy, recovering crack addicts are given a foundation for living a sober life. Inpatient treatment centers are the safest place for a newly recovering addict, as they are free from the temptation of drugs. After an inpatient treatment center, some addicts enroll in an outpatient treatment program in order to continue their care. Some addicts choose to live in a sober living facility where they are surrounded by sober peers.