Crack Cocaine Addiction and Abuse

A man who takes crack cocaine.Crack cocaine is a highly dangerous form of cocaine, which is smoked rather than being snorted or injected. The properties of this form of the drug and the mode of delivery mean that crack cocaine acts quickly and produces very intense reactions, which in turn means that users become addicted faster.

Crack cocaine is one of the most dangerous drugs someone can use. Many people use crack for its euphoric and stimulant effects, but using it can lead to several harmful and detrimental consequences, such as dependence, addiction, strokes, heart attacks, hallucinations, and paranoia. It can be difficult to quit abusing crack cocaine once you've developed an addiction. Are you abusing crack cocaine? Is your loved one dealing with crack cocaine addiction? You can find help to deal with addiction and get into recovery. Professional treatment can help you achieve sobriety.

What is Crack?

Crack cocaine is a crystallized form of cocaine. It is often available as a solid block or a crystal, the colour of which can vary. Pale rose, white and yellow are some of the more common colours. The name, crack cocaine, is derived from the fact that the substance makes a cracking sound when heated.

Crack cocaine is the most potent form of cocaine. It is between 75% and 100% stronger than regular powder cocaine, which makes it extremely dangerous. Smoking crack delivers cocaine to the brain quicker than when snorting powder, and leads to a more intense ‘high’. But the euphoria generally only lasts around 15 minutes, leaving intense craving for further ‘hits’. In some cases, abusers of crack cocaine become addicts after their first exposure.

What Does Crack Look and Smell Like?

Crack is often supplied as a solid block or crystal, depending on the drug dealer’s preferred method of packaging. When crack is heated, it smells like burning plastic. The distinct chemical odour can easily be perceived and the smell of crack is similar to that of meth.

Street Names for Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is known by many names, including:

  • Troop
  • Tornado
  • Snow coke
  • Sleet
  • Scrabble
  • Rock(s)
  • Raw
  • Product
  • Prime time
  • Piece
  • Paste
  • Nuggets
  • Jelly beans
  • Ice cube
  • Hotcakes
  • Hard rock
  • Hard ball
  • Hail
  • Grit
  • Gravel
  • Glo
  • French fries
  • Fat bags
  • Electric kool-aid
  • Dice
  • Devil drug
  • Crunch & munch
  • Crumbs
  • Cookies
  • Cloud
  • Chemical
  • Candy
  • Beat
  • Badrock
  • 24-7

Is it Addictive?

Crack cocaine is an extremely addictive drug. Crack use increases dopamine levels in the brain and prevents the neurotransmitter from being recycled back into the neuron. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter associated with reward, memory, and pleasure; it is released when a person engages in a pro-survival activity, such as having sex or eating food. In this way it rewards people for activities that promote survival. Because crack use causes high amounts of dopamine to flood the synaptic space, thus rewarding the behavior, crack users are likely to experience intense cravings that reinforce crack use. Chronic crack cocaine abuse can lead to dependence, which is an adaptation to the presence of crack in the body. When a dependent person abruptly quits using crack, they will likely experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Insomnia.
  • Nightmares.
  • Slowed thinking.
  • Depression.
  • Irritability.
  • Anxiety.
  • Intense crack cravings.

Oftentimes, people will continue abusing crack in efforts to alleviate or avoid these unwanted symptoms. Continued use can ultimately lead to addiction, and since people who use crack often use it in a binging pattern, this can speed up the development of an addiction. Addiction is a progressive condition, which means that it tends to worsen over time as it goes untreated. The sooner you seek help from a professional rehab program, the better.

Physical Health-Related Warning Signs of Crack Addiction

Some of the physical warning signs of crack addiction are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sweating more than normal
  • Reduced appetite

Effects of Mixing Crack Cocaine with Alcohol or Other Drugs

Smoking crack cocaine leads to increased blood pressure and elevated heart rate. Adding alcohol to the mix whilst using crack cocaine increases the risk to your cardiovascular health and hasten the onset of long-term cardiac diseases like cardiomyopathy and heart attack. Why does this happen?

When you combine cocaine and alcohol, the end product is a chemical known as cocaethylene. This by-product is more dangerous than either drug in isolation and can build up over time, leading to sudden death. The effects of mixing alcohol and cocaine include the following:

  • Coma
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Confusion
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Chest Pain
  • Irritability
  • Malnutrition
  • HIV/Hepatitis as a result of risky sexual behaviour
  • Irritability
  • Violence and related trauma

Mixing crack cocaine and other drugs is equally dangerous. Many people mix crack cocaine with opioids like heroin for instance, because it can help reduce the impact of withdrawal symptoms associated with using these substances. Opioids and crack cocaine counteract each other out in the body, making it hard to gauge levels of consumption and masking warning signs of approaching overdose. Users may not realise that they are overdosing until it is too late. This increases the risk of fatal overdose. Combining crack cocaine with opioids like heroin can lead to:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Breakdown of muscle tissue
  • Renal disease
  • Infections
  • Collapsed veins
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Coma

In summary, it is very dangerous to combine crack cocaine with any other substances. If you are combining crack cocaine with other drugs, you need to get help immediately.

Crack Use Statistics

In the United Kingdom, statistics published in 2017 showed that there has been a 23% rise in the number of people seeking help for cocaine addiction. Figures from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System show that 3,657 people requested help with stopping crack addiction in the last year. This is up from the 2,980 in the previous year. Separate data released by the Home Office in 2017 also highlighted a 16% rise in the number of crack seizure cases. A study by researchers at Liverpool John Moores University estimates that the number of crack users in England rose by 10% to 182,828 in the five years from 2010 to 2015.

In the United States, 5,500 deaths from crack overdose were recorded in 2014. In 2015, 400,000 people aged 12 and above reported the ongoing or occasional use of cocaine. More than 9 million people reported using crack at some point in their lifetime. The number of males aged 12 and above that reported crack cocaine use in 2015 was almost 600,000. This is in comparison to 235,000 females reported within the same period of time.

These statistics highlight the urgent need for more proactive measures against the abuse of crack cocaine.

Mental Health Co-Occurring Disorders and Crack Abuse

Mental health co-occurring disorders are common with crack addiction because many users attempt to address mental health issues through crack abuse. In cases where there were no underlying mental health issues before the start of a crack addiction, the regular use of the drug can lead to the onset of a condition.

Crack cocaine usage can lead to depression and, in worst case scenarios, suicidal thoughts. We know how an undiagnosed mental health condition can leave people feeling confused, alone and afraid. Screening for co-occurring disorders can help to find the right treatment for your specific situation. If the presence is established of a co-occurring disorder in your crack addiction, medical expertise can help to get through your recovery.

The main aim of every crack addiction recovery case is to make sure that the rehabilitation pathway is as smooth as possible. Rehab centers with experience and resources are more likely to provide excellent care.

Do You Have a Crack Addiction?

It’s easy to develop a crack addiction if you use the drug often enough. While the signs and symptoms of crack addiction will differ from one person to another, there are ways to tell if your crack abuse has progressed to addiction. If you find that you are always experiencing these uncomfortable signs, but are still unable to quit, you’re most likely addicted.

Common signs include red eyes and dilated pupils. Crack use can cause your eyes to become bloodshot and extremely irritable. Depression is another sign to look out for, as it is one of the most common side effects of crack abuse, due to the effect of cocaine on your dopamine levels.

Do you experience frequent, severe mood swings? These can be another indication of crack addiction. If you find that your crack usage is negatively affecting your finances and making you spend way more than normal, you are probably addicted.

Getting to a point where it feels like the drug has taken over your life signals an addiction. It may be causing you to neglect your duties at home, school or work, and you may find yourself resorting to stealing or lying in order to preserve your crack habit.

Effects of Crack Cocaine Withdrawal

The specific nature and severity of withdrawal symptoms you may experience will be unique to you, based on your particular circumstances. However, some effects are common to most. One of the most difficult to deal with is the cravings, which are both psychological and physical, and increase the risk of relapse.

Other common effects of crack cocaine withdrawal include depression, restlessness, irritability, agitation, and hyperactivity. You may also experience chest pain in reaction to stress. It’s possible to experience extreme anxiety or even psychosis, which can include auditory and visual hallucinations. Fatigue is another effect of withdrawal you are likely to experience, which could make you sleep a lot more than you usually would.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment

Because of crack cocaine's addictiveness, users often find it difficult to impossible to stop using it on their own. Fortunately, rehab is available. Crack cocaine rehab centers are generally available in two settings: inpatient and outpatient. Inpatient treatment requires that you live at the facility for the duration of the treatment program. Patients receive around-the-clock support, monitoring, and treatment in a highly-structured environment. Inpatient treatment can enhance the ability to focus on recovery because the individual is separated from the environment in which they used to use crack.

Some inpatient programs offer detox services as part of their program, while others do not, so if that is something you will want to consider when deciding on the appropriate program for you. Within the inpatient setting, there are several different types of substance abuse treatment programs. Some may specialize in treating those struggling with crack cocaine addiction. Others may specialize in treating dual diagnoses, which mean that someone has both an addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder.

Since long-term cocaine abuse can lead to depression, a dual diagnosis facility may be beneficial. Other types of inpatient programs include holistic, which aim to heal the mind, body, and spirit with a combination of traditional therapy approaches and complementary or alternative methods, such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and creative arts therapy.

Conversely, outpatient treatment does not require that you live at the recovery center during treatment. You travel to the outpatient clinic for scheduled therapy sessions then return home at night. This is a good option for people who don't want to experience interference in their daily lives while recovering from a crack addiction. The commitment level varies between different outpatient programs. Some programs are very intensive and involve 20-30 hours per week of treatment, while standard outpatient programs range from 2-4 hours per week. Sometimes outpatient programs are used as a step-down treatment for those who complete an inpatient program but would like follow-up support.

Do I Need Inpatient Rehab?

Not everyone who struggles with a crack addiction requires inpatient treatment. Some people are able to achieve sobriety with the help of an outpatient program, while others benefit from the structure of inpatient rehab. Both types of programs can be effective in helping people make a positive change in their lives by getting clean and sober. The decision comes down to your individual needs, your specific addiction, and your treatment priorities. What works for one person may not be the best option for you. Treatment is a highly individualized experience.

Some people that may find inpatient the most effective include:

  • Those with a severe crack addiction.
  • Those with a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety.
  • Those with an addiction to crack and another drug.
  • Those who have dropped out of rehab previously.
  • Those who do not have a strong and sober support system.
  • Those without reliable transportation to outpatient treatment.
  • Those with suicidal or violent behaviors.

That being said, the best way to determine which program is right for you is to receive a professional evaluation from your physician. Your doctor can conduct an assessment of your substance abuse, mental health, physical health, and more, then use this information to refer you to the appropriate level of crack addiction treatment.

Are Crack Cocaine Rehabs Confidential?

Many people who use crack cocaine do not seek treatment because they fear reprisal from law enforcement or they're nervous that their employer may find out about their condition. Drug rehab is classified as medical treatment and as such is required to remain completely confidential under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This privacy rule requires that health agencies and facilities protect the privacy of your personal health information. It also sets limits on how patient information can be disclosed and to whom. None of your medical records or treatment information may be discussed with other parties without your direct permission.

Having a private room during treatment is a high priority for many people seeking treatment for a crack cocaine addiction. Not all facilities offer private rooms; some require that people share a room, so it's important to ask each program what their rooming policy is before enrolling in that program.

How Long Does Treatment Last?

There is no set time for cocaine rehab to last; it happens at the pace that is necessary for each individual. However, cocaine rehab centers offer treatment programs that run for a certain interval of time and may handle the rest of the treatment via outpatient therapy. Drug treatment programs tend to last anywhere from one to three months. Severe addictions may require longer treatment. It all depends on your individual needs, preferences, and the recovery process. Research indicates that longer bouts of treatment are associated with better treatment outcomes. According to research, rehab programs that are shorter than 90 days have limited effectiveness.

What is the Treatment Process Like?

Crack cocaine rehab centers follow a tested procedure to get patients through treatment. The intake process is the start; it consists of getting patients oriented with the facility and a mental health or addiction professional performing a thorough assessment. The assessment measures a person's addiction severity, mental health status, physical health, the risk of complications, special medical considerations (such as pregnancy), financial status, home life, etc. The treatment team uses this information to create an individualized treatment plan based on the person's specific situation.

If necessary and if the treatment center provides detox, a person may undergo detox before beginning treatment. Withdrawal from crack cocaine isn't typically life-threatening (unlike alcohol or sedatives), but the withdrawal symptoms still may be distressing enough that a crack-dependent individual would benefit from detox.

Professional detox uses medical care, medication (if applicable), and emotional support to manage withdrawal and achieve medical stability. Once you're stable and ready to receive treatment, you'll begin a combination treatment modalities, which often include individual therapy, group counseling, family therapy, support meetings, and any other treatment approaches the rehab may include. Every person's treatment process will vary, depending on their unique needs.

Throughout recovery, the treatment team will re-evaluate your treatment plan and the effectiveness of the interventions they're using; they may adjust your treatment plan if necessary. Therapy is a crucial part of addiction treatment; it is designed to help the patient address and deal with the underlying causes of his or her crack abuse. Specialized care may be required if other conditions coexist with the drug abuse.

Specific treatment interventions may be used for crack cocaine addiction. For example, The Matrix Model was designed specifically to treat an addiction to stimulants, namely methamphetamine and cocaine users. The therapist in this model acts as both a counselor and a teacher, empowering the addicted individual and reinforcing positive behaviors. Therapy sessions promote self-worth, dignity, and self-esteem. Treatment approaches include:

  • Relapse prevention tactics.
  • Group and family therapy sessions.
  • Self-help meetings.
  • Drug education.
  • Family education groups.
  • Urine testing.
  • 12-step programs.
  • Relapse analysis.
  • Early recovery skills groups.

Regardless of the type of treatment program someone chooses, it is crucial that they engage in some form of aftercare once they complete their program.

What Happens After?

As you near the end of your treatment program, your treatment team will create an individualized aftercare plan for you. Aftercare includes ongoing support to help you maintain abstinence and avoid relapse following your rehab program. Depending on what type of environment and support you require, aftercare or follow-up treatment may include:

  • Sober living homes.
  • Individual counseling.
  • Group therapy.
  • 12-step groups, such as Cocaine Anonymous.
  • Alumni programs.

During aftercare you can continue to build upon the coping skills you learned in rehab, receive support and encouragement from people in recovery, work on your sober social skills, and more.

Financing Recovery

Crack cocaine rehab treatment can cost thousands of dollars, often $20,000 or more for a 30-day treatment program. This includes the costs of food, housing, and treatment. Of course, not many people have the resources to pay upfront. Insurance can help; health insurance plans will usually cover detox and provide at least partial coverage for substance abuse treatment. Read over your insurance plan if you have any questions, or call your insurance provider to learn more about the details of your specific coverage. You may have to pay a portion of the fee yourself to get your insurance to cover the rest.

If you don't have insurance, there are plenty of ways to finance your crack abuse treatment program. For instance, you could purchase affordable insurance on the healthcare exchange marketplace. You could also look for rehabs that offer scholarships or grants for people who can't afford treatment on their own. Likewise, many cocaine addiction treatment programs offer sliding scale options, in which the price is reduced according to a person's financial status.

Some programs also allow people to finance treatment using payment plans in which they pay off the cost of treatment in affordable installments. Other options include opening a healthcare credit card, taking out a healthcare loan, using your savings, or crowdfunding on a platform, such as GoFundMe.

Should I Travel or Stay Close to Home?

The decision to choose a treatment facility near home or to travel elsewhere depends on personal preference and costs. On the one hand, being near home gives your family and friends easy access to act as a support network. Traveling, however, can remove you from a triggering environment. Neither option is more effective than the other; it truly depends on your needs and priorities. If you'd prefer to separate yourself from drug-using friends, family, and triggers, some rehabs may offer to pay for your travel to get to the facility.

Executive or Luxury Rehab Center

The decision to choose a treatment facility near home or to travel elsewhere depends on personal preference and costs. On the one hand, being near home gives your family and friends easy access to act as a support network. Traveling, however, can remove you from a triggering environment. Neither option is more effective than the other; it truly depends on your needs and priorities. If you'd prefer to separate yourself from drug-using friends, family, and triggers, some rehabs may offer to pay for your travel to get to the facility.

Executive or Luxury Rehab Center

When management issues are hindering you or a relative from looking for help for a problem with substance abuse or behavior-related addiction, executive rehab treatments would be invaluable. Pairing high-quality drug abuse and behavioral addiction treatments with the freedom of computer and mobile access, a businessman or woman can receive assistance for an addiction while continuing to work.

Frequently, modern substance abuse and behavior treatment clinics grant the top-tier amenities you would normally enjoy in exquisite hotels, with your enjoyment and well-being being the biggest priorities. From gym facilities and in-house massage therapy to housekeeping services and fine linens, you can get the best-rated narcotic, prescription drug or behavior treatment for yourself or your relative while enjoying rehab.

Learn More About:

  • Interventions. People who are addicted to crack cocaine often find it hard to admit it or seek help. An intervention occurs when friends and family get together and to share with the addicted person how they have been impacted by their crack cocaine abuse. It's important that those holding the intervention avoid confrontation, as that may drive the addicted individual away or cause them to reactive in a defensive or aggressive manner. Instead, approach your loved one with compassion, empathy, and a nonjudgmental attitude. If they are receptive to your intervention, you may suggest that the person seek professional treatment and then go from there. If they are in denial or are resistant to your feedback, it may be best to back off for a while and respect the person's space and decision. It is likely that they may come to you when they are ready after they've considered the impact of their drug abuse on those close to them.
  • Assessment. Assessment for drug abuse consists of a physical checkup, mental health evaluation, and assessment of patterns of substance abuse, as well as an examination of previous medical history. Although it can seem invasive, it is necessary to determine the best course of treatment in a crack cocaine rehab facility.
  • Detox/withdrawal. Detox and withdrawal from crack cocaine will not be easy. Symptoms include depression, anxiety, and lethargy.
  • Sober living. Many people transition into a sober living home after completing treatment. These environments are drug-free and require that residents attend support group meetings, do chores, and remain abstinent. Residents are typically subject to urine testing to ensure that they are sober while living there. Some sober living homes may provide people with occupational counseling and will help them get a job.

Get Help for Crack Cocaine Addiction

Crack cocaine is extremely dangerous and damaging – not just for you, but also for your family and other relationships. It negatively impacts your finances, health, and work. It can wreck your life if you let it. Whether you are a chronic user of crack or have tried to stop but can’t, there is help available for your addiction problem.

One option is to pay your GP a visit, after which you’ll be referred for treatment. Another option is to head directly to the closest drug treatment service. Alternatively, you can contact one of the rehab referral services, which can direct you to some of the best treatment centres for crack cocaine addiction across the USA and beyond.

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