Crack abuse and addiction are both still extremely common in the United States. This drug is highly addictive, and getting off of it usually means going through both detox and rehab. Most people live their lives in denial. They do not see themselves as addicts and they think they can easily control their substance abuse patterns.
But crack cocaine is a drug that will not let go very easily. It continues to draw them in, so they use it with no thoughts about what the consequences might be. People often want to know:
We want to make sure all of these questions are answered. Our goal is to provide as much information as possible about the dangers of crack. We also want people to know where they can turn when they are ready to recover.
Crack cocaine is often shortened to just “crack” but both terms mean the same drug. It is the same drug as cocaine, but it has been mixed with water and baking soda, two ingredients commonly found.
The mixture is then heated until it becomes crystallized. The crack cocaine is then put into a pipe and smoked where it can enter the bloodstream and reach the brain in just eight seconds.
Crack cocaine goes by a number of different nicknames on the street, and these might include:
It’s an appealing drug to most because of the quick high that’s experienced when using it, producing an extreme sense of happiness. Before long, the brain is no longer able to produce dopamine without the drug, which is the biggest indicator of an addiction. It is known as the most addictive form of cocaine and is used recreationally.
It first became popular in large cities in the 1980s, like New York, Los Angeles and Miami. It can now be found in many cities around the country, including right here in Washington.
Crack has many appealing effects along with the extreme euphoria. It gives people confidence, which is why you might see it in clubs where people are hoping to meet new people and have a good time. It also reduces your appetite which is a side benefit for those who want to lose weight. Smoking crack gives you more energy and alertness. It can make you paranoid and causes a craving for more of the drug.
A large amount of the chemical dopamine is released into the brain which gives you a high lasting up to 10 minutes. After the high, the dopamine levels drop quickly, which can lead to extreme depression.
Fortunately, if you’re addicted, you don’t have to try to stop using it on your own. Many have tried and failed because getting off the drug was much too difficult for them. Crack treatment programs have been able to assist many people with leaving their addictions behind for good, and so there is hope for your recovery.
While any addictive drug carries serious consequences and risks, crack has some unique features. For one, the effect is intense and short-lived. This leads the person to use more and more to maintain the high. It may be combined with other drugs to increase the intense responses of those substances.
Another problem with this drug is the lows you experience when the drug leaves your system. They are just as extreme as the highs, which means you’re more susceptible for depression and suicidal thoughts, particularly if you suffer from chronic depression.
Still another issue with crack is the development process. While baking soda and water are all that’s necessary to create this drug, other additives may be included. Some of them are harmful and even toxic. Manufacturers add in these ingredients to stretch out the cocaine to make more batches. Powdered milk may be added along with starches and glucose or caffeine. Even strychnine has been added to crack, which is potentially deadly.
Since this drug is smoked, a special crack pipe is used. It’s shorter than regular pipes which can lead to burning of the lips and tongue. The goal with the shorter pipe is less loss of the potency of the drug.
The drug raises the heart rate and blood pressure which puts you at risk for cardiac arrest and other conditions of the heart and respiratory system. You may develop crack lung, which is an acute condition from using crack.
One of the side effects of using crack cocaine is a condition known as Ekbom’s Syndrome. This condition is manifested by the paranoid delusions of insects crawling under your skin. In some instances, the person may even “see” the bugs with visual hallucinations.
The person will begin scratching themselves and pulling at their skin to try to get rid of these insects. They will feel like the coke bugs are crawling all over them, which may lead to bleeding as they pick at the different areas of skin. This one effect is often the reason someone will use more of the drug to get relief.
The chances of overdosing on crack are high for a user. One reason is to avoid the unpleasant side effects, such as with Ekbom’s Syndrome. However, that isn’t the only reason someone would use more of the drug.
Often the first use of crack provides the most pleasurable experience. The second and later uses will allow the person to get high, but it won’t be as intense or pleasurable. Many times, the person will seek to recapture that feeling by using more than they should.
Because the lows are often as extreme as the highs with crack, users will keep on smoking, often sharing a pipe with other users. They seek to avoid the downside of the drug through continued use. It’s not uncommon for the person to go for two or three days, doing nothing but smoking and not eating or sleeping. When they finally stop, they crash and fall asleep. However, they may also become delusional and develop paranoid psychosis where they are no longer in touch with reality. They will experience hallucinations which are often auditory but can be visual.
Because of the short high of the drug, it’s often combined with other substances to create an intense and pleasurable experience for the user. Many of these combinations have their own unique names, such as the following:
Any of these combinations can make the drug more deadly because the side effects from each can be intensified when combined. While crack can be liquified and injected, it’s most often smoked. This is known as beaming up or puffing.
Cocaine is considered a sophisticated drug. It’s often found in clubs and at parties for the elite. Celebrities and other wealthy people choose cocaine as their drug of choice because they can afford the expensive price tag. It’s also not known to be as addictive as other drugs, which means the user can enjoy the effects and stop whenever they like. However, it does lead to addiction for many users.
Crack cocaine doesn’t have as illustrious of a reputation. In fact, you could say it’s the opposite of cocaine. When people talk about crack houses and other terms associated with this drug, they are referring to the “other side of town” with people in poverty. People who use crack are viewed as the homeless, the dirty and despised. It’s the evil drug as opposed to the popularity of cocaine. It’s cheap compared to the expensive habit of cocaine. For that reason and many others, crack has gained a negative stigma and isn’t seen as cool and trendy like coke.
It has been said that crack babies, or babies born to mothers who were using crack, would be unable to function in society. They carried a stigma from being the victim of this drug that caused people to think they would be less intelligent, unable to learn and unable to live successful lives. This information was greatly exaggerated, and it’s been determined that they aren’t at such a different risk than babies born to mothers who are using other addictive drugs. And yet, it shows the great stigma that this drug carries throughout society.
The US labels both cocaine and crack as Schedule II. This means they are both highly addictive. You should take crack cocaine seriously. Just a single use can cause you to be an addict.
Drug addiction is a serious matter. However, many people don’t think abusing drugs is a big deal. Drug abuse happens when you use a drug, whether it’s illicit or a prescription medication, for a purpose not intended. If you use drugs recreationally to get high, it’s labeled as drug abuse.
When you’re abusing a drug like crack, you think about it and how and when you can get high. It’s on your mind even when you can’t use it. In fact, you may avoid activities where you can’t use. You might find new friends who support your habit and give up those who stand against it.
Drug abuse is a serious matter. Even though you could stop if you wanted to, you probably won’t because you like the high you get. You may not be addicted yet, but you can still seek professional help at a drug treatment center.
Drug addiction is what happens when you abuse a drug. With crack cocaine, you could end up addicted after experimenting just one time. It releases such a high amount of dopamine to your brain, your system won’t manufacture it on its own. Instead, it will rely on the drug to give you that euphoric feeling.
When you can’t get any crack, your brain will let you know it needs the drug by showing symptoms of withdrawal. In essence, it’s saying it doesn’t know how to function without it. At this point, you’re addicted to crack, and you must seek out addiction treatment to begin recovery.
Sometimes we tend to view this form of cocaine as a drug that was more popular in the 80s than it is now. The truth is that it is still a serious problem, and the statistics tell the real story. According to recent statistics on crack abuse in the United States:
Today, we tend to focus on drugs that seem to be a greater threat than this one. Heroin addiction and the abuse of prescription drugs have all but stolen the media’s attention. It’s very important not to gloss over the fact that crack still presents a very real threat. If you’re addicted to it, it’s so important for you to learn as much as you can.
There aren’t many drugs that have the ability to affect the body the way that this one does. This is a drug that is incredibly powerful, even if you only use a small amount of it at a time. It’s also very easy to form a tolerance to it. This means that you will increase how much of it you use to get the same type of result from the high.
The effects of crack on the body and mind all depend on how long you’ve been using it. As you might expect, the longer you use it, the more severe the effects will be.
When you use this drug, the high from it leaves almost as quickly as it comes. When this happens, your mood changes, and it can result in short-term effects such as:
Unfortunately, many of the short-term effects of crack are quite desirable. This is what causes people to keep abusing it. They enjoy the euphoric rush that the drug produces when it’s smoked. They may also crave the feelings of excitement and alertness they experience. Some may even continue to use it because it suppresses their appetites.
The longer you use it, the more at risk you are for developing some of the long-term effects, and these might include:
Perhaps you’ve been using this drug for quite some time, but you still don’t think you’re addicted to it. This is very common, and people who use this substance often believe that they are in complete control of their drug use. They feel they can stop using it anytime they want. They only continue to use it to experience the high, or as a way to avoid stress or challenges in their lives.
Maybe this is how you feel, and if it is, you need to know if your use of this drug has progressed into an addiction. There are some addiction symptoms and signs you can look for in your own life.
Answering “yes” to even one of these questions indicates that you may have an addiction that requires professional treatment.
You may also find that you experience:
Don’t worry if you’re still not sure whether or not you’re addicted to crack. There are other ways that you can find out. You may want to take a cocaine addiction quiz to get more information. This will give you a unique insight into your current situation and relationship with this drug.
You may feel more comfortable talking with a professional about your experience with this drug. If so, that’s perfectly OK. Many rehab programs offer free phone assessments for this very reason.
People who suffer from a crack addiction will frequently attempt to stop using on their own. In their minds, they feel that they will try to stop using without assistance first, and then if that doesn’t work, they’ll get professional help. More often than not, withdrawal symptoms end up causing a relapse, and symptoms can be quite severe.
You might experience any of the following crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms:
Relapsing can quickly lead to a crack overdose, and when you’re addicted to it, the risk of relapsing is quite high.
Again, it’s very important that you don’t attempt to recover from a crack addiction on your own. This would be extremely dangerous, and you may not be able to stop using the drug.
It’s best to start your recovery in a professional setting. That way you can work with people who understand everything there is to know about this addiction. You will need to go through a period of detoxification, and then go on to rehab. Both are going to be crucial to help you meet your goal of getting and staying clean.
When your recovery begins, you will need to go through a crack cocaine detox program. So many toxins have been released into your body because of your drug use. Detoxing is going to help your body eliminate them more efficiently. It’s also going to assist with keeping you more comfortable, which means less severe withdrawals.
Also, there can be some risks associated with stopping the use of this drug abruptly. It’s possible to suffer from heart complications or seizures. When you go to a detox center, your chances of having an emergency situation decrease significantly. If you do have any immediate medical needs, you’ll be in a place where you can get immediate help.
There are many different ways of treating crack addiction during the detox phase. Your doctor will talk with you about the methods they feel are right for you. However, it might help you to have an idea of what you can expect.
Your doctor may decide to prescribe several different medications to help you through withdrawal. These might include:
There are risks with using medications to recover from a crack addiction. However, if you’re carefully monitored, and you only take them for a short time, they can be quite helpful.
Even if you’re placed on medications, you may still experience some holistic detox treatments. These will actually be very important for you because you’ll need to improve your overall health.
Many crack addicts don’t maintain very good diets. In fact, because of the appetite suppressants in the drug, they may not eat much at all. This can leave you deficient of many critical vitamins and nutrients. It also means that some major organs in your body might not be functioning well.
You will probably be working with a nutritionist to improve your diet. Nutrition therapy will be very important for you, as will physical exercise and activity. These and other non-medical detox treatments will only help you feel better faster.
While you are going through the crack detox process, you may also work with a therapist. You probably aren’t completely prepared for what detoxing is going to be like. It will be helpful for you to talk through how you feel.
In short, no. It might not be safe at all, and it could actually put you in great danger if there’s a complication. Detoxing from drugs at home carries a lot of risks; especially for long-time users. You need to be in a medical setting in the event of an emergency. That will allow your treatment team to act quickly to get you the help you may need.
It might make sense to you to attempt an at-home detox for crack. However, we want to caution you against it. As of right now, there are no FDA approved products that have been proven to work for home detox.
Now that you know the importance of detoxing, you may be curious about the best type of facility. While there are a few different options, some are certainly better than others.
There are different ways of detoxing from crack. However, most experts believe that an inpatient detox facility is the best option. This makes it virtually impossible for you to relapse and provides you with great support.
This is such a powerful drug. If you were to detox in an outpatient setting, you might not be able to resist the temptation to use. It will also help you to be constantly monitored by medical professionals. They may be able to detect the onset of a complication before you even sense that something isn’t right.
There are other options for detox. However, they’re not as good as an inpatient setting. You may be able to find a detoxification center that offers outpatient services. You should only use them if you have a strong support system at home.
Some programs will also offer rapid detox for drug users. This is something that used to be much more common a few years ago. It isn’t used as much today because of the risks involved.
A rapid detox will mean giving you a series of medications to remove harmful toxins from your body quickly. In many cases, this is done within several hours’ time. The risk of complications are high, and you may experience severe withdrawal.
Most people are able to go through the detoxification process within about seven to ten days. If your addiction is more severe, or if you have complications, it may take you longer.
No matter the duration of your detox, please remember that you’re taking the right steps. It’s hard to commit to recovery, but you’ll soon see that it’s incredibly rewarding.
After you have finished going through detox, you will need to go to a crack cocaine rehab. It’s very important for you to continue to get help for your addiction. Recovering from the physical portion of it won’t be enough, and the right treatment will contribute to your long-term sobriety.
When you go to a rehab facility, you’ll be addressing the psychological part of your addiction. This is critical because you need to know why you started using this drug. You may learn that the reason is something you never would have suspected.
During your rehab stay, you’ll be working with professionals as well as with other patients. The first person you meet for treatment will likely be your therapist. It will be their job to determine the cause of your addiction. Once they know what caused it, they can properly treat it.
You will also work with other patients during group therapy sessions. This gives you time to get to know the other people in recovery. You’ll talk about a wide variety of topics and you’ll help each other.
You may participate in other forms of therapy too, such as family therapy and equine therapy. Your treatment plan will be varied, but it will be detailed according to your unique needs.
It’s possible that one of the major reasons you suffer from an addiction is because you have a co-occurring disorder. About half of all drug addicts have them, so they’re quite common.
A co-occurring disorder is a mental health condition that contributes to addictions. For example, many people will start using crack because it helps to calm some of the symptoms they experience. It’s very typical for individuals with this addiction to suffer from depression. The use of this drug helps to make some of those symptoms go away.
If you do have a co-occurring disorder, it’s very important for you to receive the proper treatment right away. This is going to improve your chances of success.
There are several different types of facilities that you can go to for help. You should choose the one that will work best for you, but you will receive a recommendation.
You may find that simply meeting with a therapist during outpatient rehab isn’t enough for you. However, some people do very well with intensive outpatient programs, or IOPs. This type of treatment should be reserved for people with strong support systems at home. Programs usually run for about 12 weeks, and the appointment times are very flexible.
If you have a family member who is addicted to crack, you may be very concerned, and rightly so. It’s hard to know that someone you love is unable to escape this awful addiction.
You may want to begin by having a discussion with them. Let them know about your concerns and offer to help them find addiction treatment services. You should be firm but loving when you talk with them. Tell them that you want to support them in any way you can, but that you want them to recover.
Unfortunately, people often don’t want to listen to their loved ones’ pleas when they’re addicted to crack. This is due to the power of their dependence on the drug. If your family member refuses to get help, or comes up with excuses, it might be time to do something different.
You can find intervention services at many drug rehab programs. Meeting with other friends and family, as well as an interventionist may be what’s needed in this situation.
The professional you work with will guide you through the entire process. It’s also very possible that your loved one will finally agree to get help by the time it’s over. Many of them do because they can see their need for treatment.
At Northpoint Washington, we offer one of the best drug treatment programs in the state. Our goal is to offer personalized addiction recovery services to the patients we treat. We know that that is the key to overcoming substance abuse.
We are located in Edmonds, Washington, which is close to Seattle, Redmond and other highly populated cities. We want to make getting treatment as convenient as possible for those who need it.
All of our patients receive their own dedicated treatment plans once they enter into rehab. This allows us to see exactly what their needs are so we can provide them with the support they require to be successful.
We know that there is no one “right” way to treat a crack addiction. Everyone has their own needs, and people experience addictions in different ways. But we do know that our program has resulted in success for many of the people who have gone through it.
We have a 28-day inpatient program, which is what anyone who is addicted to crack will participate in. We offer all of the following:
Our patients move through three phases of recovery when they come to us for addiction treatment. They are as follows:
Drug Detox – For someone who is addicted to crack, detoxing is going to be extremely important. This is a stimulant drug and stopping it is going to result in withdrawal symptoms. The detoxification process works by addressing those symptoms and lessening their severity. Medical detox is the most common form of care that is recommended for people who are addicted to this drug. But there are also many holistic treatments that will be utilized as well.
Drug Rehab – Therapy is extremely important for anyone who is in addiction treatment. During drug rehab, our patients undergo several types of therapy. We make sure that they get to spend a lot of time with a therapist in individual sessions. But group therapy is important as well. We offer 12-Step meetings and family sessions if they are needed too.
Aftercare – So many people think that once they spend 28 days in rehab, their addictions are cured. We want to emphasize the fact that this information is false. There is no cure for addiction. But following aftercare instructions will help people stay on the right track and remain in recovery. Our staff members will put together aftercare plans for every patient upon discharge.
At Northpoint Washington, we recognize the importance of providing our patients with a well-rounded treatment program. That includes offering help for co-occurring disorders and cross addictions.
We previously discussed co-occurring disorders and how common they are for people with addictions. Those who are addicted to crack are no different. They may be using the drug as a way to self-medicate symptoms of depression, or another mental illness. Our first goal is to diagnose the condition and then offer the right treatment for it.
Cross addictions are also extremely common among people who are addicted to crack. Many of them started by using a drug like cocaine, alcohol or marijuana. But by addressing every substance abuse problem, they have a much better chance of a successful recovery.
Without health insurance, it can be very expensive to go to a quality rehab program. The best ones that include both detox and rehab can run as much as $10,000 per month. Most people cannot afford to pay this amount out of pocket, and they may not be aware that their health insurance will help them pay for it.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010, health insurance companies are required to provide benefits for rehab. Those benefits extend to both detox and rehabilitation services. In most cases – and especially for crack addicts – both services are needed for people to recover successfully and safely.
Having said that, please note that every insurance plan is different. Some people may have benefits that provide full coverage, but not everyone will. Most usually find that they need to pay a copay in order to get the help they need. But that amount should be very small.
You may feel as though recovering from a crack addiction will be too hard on you. This is one of the more powerful addictions out there. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome it. Recovery is possible as long as you have the right kind of help and support.
Here at Northpoint Washington, we want to assist you on this healing journey. We know you might be feeling scared about what you’re about to encounter. We know you might be skeptical about the process, or wonder if it will even work for you. We can promise you that we have the best professionals at our center. We’re committed to helping you reach your goals.
At times, it can feel as though you’ll be a prisoner to drug dependence forever. That doesn’t have to be the case. The only thing that stands between you and recovery is a decision to get help.