What Is Crack Cocaine?
Many people have heard of crack but still wonder about the exact definition. So what is crack? Simply put, crack is the crystallized form of the stimulant drug cocaine.
Cocaine is produced from the leaves of a South American plant called coca, and its main form is a fine white powder. Crack is made by pulling out the active agents in powder cocaine and processing those concentrated chemicals into a crystalline rock. The name comes from the fact that crack cocaine makes a crackling sound when heated.
Tolerance develops quickly in many people who use crack, so users often increase the frequency or dose in order to get the familiar effect. Binge use is common with crack cocaine in order to achieve and maintain the desired high.
Crack Vs. Cocaine
While they share the same origins and chemical makeup, there are a few important differences between crack vs. cocaine. Because of the way crack is processed, it is typically more concentrated than powder cocaine. The higher concentration means a higher potency, so the effects of crack cocaine are more intense and dissipate more quickly than the effects of powder cocaine. Both forms take effect almost immediately after the user takes a hit, but the high from powder cocaine usually lasts 15 to 30 minutes, while the effects of crack cocaine last 5 to 10 minutes.
Powder cocaine is typically snorted, rubbed onto the gums or dissolved with water and injected into a vein. Crack cocaine is heated in a pipe and smoked. Both forms work by increasing the levels of the reward neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. Cocaine does this by preventing dopamine from being recycled back into the cells as it normally would, letting it build up between brain cells instead.
Crack is generally cheaper than powder cocaine, which makes it more common. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 68 percent of people who seek treatment for cocaine are addicted to the crack form of the drug, and many of them are addicted to other drugs in addition to crack.
Signs of Crack Use
Crack cocaine use affects people in all income brackets and life situations. If you suspect that someone you care about is using crack, there are some things you can watch for. Common signs of crack use include:
Hypersensitivity to sound, light and touch
Extreme bursts of energy or alertness
Respiratory problems such as coughing and shortness of breath
Because crack is so addictive, many people who use crack become dependent on it. Any use of crack is considered drug abuse, but an addiction causes an even more serious impact on the user. Some signs of a crack addiction include:
Becoming consumed with thoughts about crack and losing interest in other things
Neglecting relationships with friends and family members
Taking more and more crack each time you use the drug
Spending money on crack cocaine that you need for other things, such as rent and living expenses
Stealing or borrowing cash to buy crack cocaine
Impaired performance at work or school due to crack use
If you've noticed symptoms of crack cocaine addiction in yourself or someone you love, it's time to seek help. Call us anytime, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at (844)211-7944 to learn more about how to check into a crack cocaine rehab program.
Crack Overdose Dangers
One of the biggest dangers of crack use is the potential for an overdose. It's possible to overdose the first time you use crack, and the risk of overdose increases if you're also using other drugs or alcohol at the same time. Bingeing on crack cocaine significantly increases the risk of an overdose.
Overdosing on crack cocaine can be deadly. If you experience an overdose, you could develop an irregular heart rhythm, experience a heart attack, go into seizures or have a stroke. Someone who has a crack overdose needs immediate medical attention.
Dangerous Long-Term Effects
The long-term effects of cocaine addiction and crack addiction can be devastating. You may begin by abusing cocaine casually and eventually become an addict. Over time, you may use other drugs and alcohol along with cocaine or crack, which can have damaging affects to your health such as:
• Major depression
• Loss of sense of smell (from sniffing cocaine)
• STDs, HIV, and Hepatitis C (from injecting cocaine)
• Severe schizophrenia
• Stroke (coke stroke)
• Heart attack
The more you abuse cocaine and the longer you abuse it, you are at an increased risk of death by overdose. However, the earlier you seek treatment for cocaine or crack cocaine addiction, the better your chances of avoiding the long-term effects.
What is Crack Detox?
Crack detox is the process of getting the drug out of your body so you can recover from your crack addiction. If you've been using for a while, you'll probably experience crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms when you quit. Typical withdrawal symptoms of crack cocaine include:
There aren't any current medications for crack cocaine withdrawal, but during a medically monitored detox program, on-staff doctors might provide medicine to ease specific symptoms. Medically-supervised crack detox will help make the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms more bearable and have medical help right away if needed.
The Dangers of Home Detox from Crack Cocaine
At-home crack detox doesn't generally put you at risk of death, but the withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable. Crack cocaine users have to stop cold turkey when quitting the drug, so there's no tapering off period. Attempts to reduce the use of crack cocaine without halting your use entirely aren't generally effective.
Without trained medical help, you can't get effective relief from the side effects of crack cocaine withdrawal. In particular, depression and insomnia caused by crack cocaine withdrawal are often overwhelming, and the cravings that occur during detox are almost impossible to resist on your own. Returning to drug use to stop the symptoms is a common problem experienced by people who try to detox at home.
People who attempt to detox at home also don't get the follow-up support they need for a successful long-term recovery. If the issues that led you to use crack in the first place are still there, you're likely to relapse and have to go through the whole detox process again.
Importance of Crack Detox and Treatment
When you check into an inpatient facility for crack detox and treatment, you get dedicated medical assistance throughout the whole process. Meals and a comfortable room come included in your inpatient program, so your energy goes into recovery and not into worrying about what to eat or where you'll sleep. Drug-free activities help you learn how to enjoy life without crack cocaine, and experienced counselors help you tackle the complex mental and emotional aspects of addiction.
Upon arrival at The Treatment Center, you'll get a personalized assessment to ensure that the entire process from detox to relapse prevention is tailored specifically to your needs. Our legal liaison service helps patients with court-ordered treatment goals navigate their legal obligations during their time in treatment, and the controlled setting puts the focus entirely on recovery.
Trained counselors in your inpatient program not only help you with the issues surrounding addiction, but also can address any underlying mental health issues that impact drug use. Untreated anxiety, depression and mood disorders can make recovery more difficult, so getting treatment for these issues while you get addiction treatment makes sense.
Treatment After Crack Withdrawal
Once you've made it through the process of detox and withdrawal from crack cocaine, you'll start addressing the things that led you into drug addiction and learning how to stay sober. Our board-certified staff has extensive experience guiding addicts through the detox and recovery process, making it more likely you'll succeed in the end.
Individual and group counseling sessions help you learn how to live without drugs and give you insights into what lies beneath your drug use so you can avoid triggers that could cause a relapse. You might also take part in a 12-step program, family therapy sessions or optional faith-based counseling at The Treatment Center Outpatient Services as part of your personalized treatment program.
Whether you're ready to start treatment for crack cocaine or just want to learn more about your options, give us a call at (844)211-7944. Admissions counselors are available 24 hours a day to get you help when you need it.