What is crack cocaine addiction?
Crack cocaine, or crack, is a more dangerous form of cocaine. It is the free-base form of cocaine – cocaine that has not been neutralised by any acid base. Crack is a rock crystal that’s heated and the vapours inhaled, usually through a glass pipe. The name is derived from the crackling sound made when the rock crystal is being heated. Crack cocaine has many street names, including freebase, black rock and yay.
Crack is a powerful stimulant that’s highly addictive. As with cocaine, it stimulates structures within the brain and this causes the pleasurable effect. And like cocaine, the high is immediate and intense. But unlike the high from cocaine which lasts 15-30 minutes, the high from crack lasts just 5-10 minutes. This means that the user is likely to take more frequent doses of the drug to pursue the high. Furthermore, users need an increasing quantity of crack to reach the same high, and to avoid the crash that can follow a high. They quickly become physically and psychologically dependent and this dependency can lead to crack addiction.
Signs, symptoms and risks of crack cocaine addiction
Whereas cocaine is a “party drug”, crack cocaine can be social or solitary; it’s often used to mask depression and taken alone. A crack user will often spend a lot of time getting the substance for his or her fix. He or she may disappear frequently on mysterious errand and lock themselves away for hours on end. Keep an eye out for change of friends or routines. Physical signs of crack addiction include sweating, dilated pupils, coughing fits and frequent respiratory infections. Also look out for insomnia, mood swings, anxiety and irritability. Psychologically, crack users can experience depression, paranoia and hallucinations. Crack cocaine can have a devastating effect on the body and lead to strokes, cardiac arrests and even death. Overdose of crack cocaine is a real risk; crack users can become more sensitive to crack’s effects and this increased sensitivity can result in an overdose after relatively low doses of the drug.
Treating crack cocaine
The first step to treating crack cocaine addiction is detox. Withdrawing from crack needs to be professionally managed, either in a residential treatment centre or as a medically supervised home detox. For long-term recovery, the user will need to participate in a range of rehab treatments, including counselling and therapy, to equip him or her with the strategies required to live a crack-free life. Cogntive behavioural therapy is particularly successful in treating crack addiction. Rehab for crack addiction is most effective in a residential treatment centre. However, alternative options are available, such as outpatient programs and support groups. At Addiction Helper, we’ll help you find the best treatment for you, and do everything we can to support you and your family.