Managing a Crack Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms

Crack cocaine is an illegal stimulant drug. It is one of the most dangerous drugs on the market, and it is both psychologically and physically addictive. Even one time of using can easily result in an addiction to this dangerous drug, and the road to recovery from it is long and hard. Three-fourths of admissions to drug treatment centers involving cocaine come from those who are addicted to crack. People age 18 to 25 represent the highest age group of users while many teens have admitted to using it at least one before they graduate high school.

Even so, recovery from crack is possible, but it should never be attempted alone. Drug rehab offers hope to those who have succumbed to this terrible addiction, and with the right professional support and guidance, recovery is possible.

What is Crack Cocaine?

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:
  • Jelly beans
  • Nuggets
  • Roxanne
  • Rocks
  • French fries
  • Beamers
  • Casper the ghost
  • Chewies
  • Hamburger helper
  • Ice cube

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.

The Unique Dangers of Crack Cocaine

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:

  • Crack and marijuana – caviar, cocoa puffs, fry daddy
  • Crack and heroin – moon rock
  • Crack and tobacco – coolie
  • Crack and amphetamine – croack
  • Crack and phencyclidine – clicker

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.

The Difference between Abuse and Addiction

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.

The Dangers of Withdrawal

There are some who attempt to stop using crack on their own without professional support, and this can be quite dangerous because of the high risk of overdosing if they relapse. Withdrawal symptoms are somewhat different than with other drugs but can still be severe enough to warrant professional help.

Crack Rehab Information
Withdrawal symptoms can include:
  • Flu-like symptoms such as body aches
  • Chronic and persistent headaches
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Violent or aggressive behaviors
  • Mental cravings for crack

You may suffer from depression when you can’t get access to the drug. If you have paranoia or hallucinations, you may act out or behave in strange ways. You may even have suicidal thoughts which could lead to the wrong actions. You’re also more likely to go out and find more crack when the cravings get too bad, especially if you experience Ekbom’s Syndrome symptoms.

Going through Detox for a Crack Addiction

If you are addicted to crack, you will most likely need professional support with a detox facility. They provide 24-hour monitoring and support to help you get through this process. Along with the physical symptoms you must go through, a person may experience drastic mood swings and severe agitation. They may become anxious and even paranoid.

Because of the severe consequences of detoxing from crack, the doctor may prescribe medications to help with the symptoms. You may take something for anxiety or depression until your system returns to normal.

Medical detox can help you deal with these symptoms and prevent them from causing you to relapse. Another risk is of a medical emergency from the withdrawal. With controlled withdrawal, you can reduce many of the symptoms or even eliminate them. Addicts often fail to seek treatment because they fear the issues of detoxing and feel they can’t make it.

While medical detox has some big benefits, it also carries some risks. The medications given for withdrawal often have addictive properties. While you’ll be monitored during the detox process, you’re at a risk for developing another addiction. It can also slow down the process so treatment takes longer.

With a holistic method, the focus is on developing healthy habits through nutrition and exercise. When you work to make your body healthy, it’s better able to deal with symptoms of withdrawal. People who are addicted to crack often go for days with no food or sleep. They become very unhealthy and lack minerals and vitamins which causes them to experience medical issues. Once a person becomes healthy, they are in better shape to fight addiction and have more confidence in themselves.

The best detox facilities will customize their process just for your situation and your needs. They will pave the way for treatment that will help you overcome addiction and move forward with your life.

Because crack cocaine is a fast-acting, short-lived drug, it also leaves the system quicker. However, the effects of this drug can last a long time after it has gone. Its half-life is less than 30 minutes, which is when the first half of the drug leaves your system. The rest is gone in about two days.

Crack can be detected for up to four days or even longer if a person has binged or used a large amount of the drug. In fact, it may be present in drug tests for up to ten days.

What Happens Next After Detox?

Once you’ve detoxed from crack cocaine, you may be feeling good. Your mind is probably clearer than it has been for some time, and you may notice more energy. Food tastes better because you have an appetite and you aren’t confused or irritable.

It’s important to understand at this stage that you aren’t cured. You haven’t been through drug treatment which is essential for you to stay on the road to recovery. While drug addiction treatment is important for all kinds of drug addiction, it’s imperative with crack or you’re likely to relapse.

Once you’ve become addicted to crack, your body has developed a need for it. One of the most common withdrawal symptoms is cravings for the drug, which can leave you very prone to relapsing.

As you have continued to use crack over time, you’ve probably noticed that your tolerance level went up, and you needed to use more of the drug in order to experience that high feeling you enjoyed. When relapses occur, it is common for people to go back to the same dosage they were previously using, and doing so can easily result in overdose, and even death, because your tolerance level isn’t as high as it once was. Research has shown that people who are addicted to crack have much higher rates of success when they go to inpatient rehab, rather than choosing outpatient programs. Not only do they need a higher level of care to help with withdrawal symptoms, but they benefit from having additional support and monitoring as well.

Inpatient rehab removes you from temptation, which is what you need during this important period in your life. With this type of program, you have ongoing support when you’re feeling weak. You can be in therapy every day and get involved in other treatment options during other times.

Because crack addiction is so serious, you may even need residential rehab. It’s inpatient treatment, only for a longer period. You may need to stay in treatment for several weeks until you’re able to maintain sobriety on your own.

While there are also outpatient programs available for addiction, recovery from crack is often more successful with inpatient care. However, you may want to continue therapy through aftercare with a 12-step program or continued individual counseling.

When you consider the drug treatment centers around your area, think about what type of treatment will be best for your situation. You want to choose the method that will help you be successful.

Methods of Crack Addiction Help

When you choose to go to drug rehab programs to get help for an addiction, you can’t help but to be curious about what you’re going to encounter when you’re there. You may be wondering what type of help you’re going to receive that’s going to make it easier on you to stop using when the program is completed.

Today’s crack rehab centers use the most modern techniques to treat their patients’ addictions. Studies have shown that by offering a patient a varied treatment plan with many different components, addiction is addressed more appropriately, and outcomes are much better. Therefore, you can expect to experience:
  • Involvement in a 12 Step Program to address your addiction
  • Counseling sessions with an addiction therapist to help you understand the source of your addiction
  • A period of detoxification to help you get through withdrawal symptoms
  • Skill building activities to improve your sense of self
  • Group therapy to provide peer counseling
  • Family therapy to involve your family members in your recovery

Modern drug rehab centers are beginning to recognize the need to treat the whole person and not just the addiction. What this means is the treatment plan includes a nutritionist to teach the person how to eat healthy meals and get the nutrients they are lacking. It also means being active with regular exercise. As you get in better health, you’re more able to deal with stress and other painful and negative situations.

You also develop self-confidence and feel good about yourself. You don’t need the fake high of a drug to make you feel good. Instead, you’ve developed a positive state of mind that helps you set and reach goals and live the life you were meant to live.

While all of this may sound good, know that it isn’t easy. It’s not an overnight change, but rather a process that is begun in treatment. You must be dedicated to developing new good habits and stopping old bad habits.

Along with the more traditional methods of therapy, more clinics are offering specialized treatments. Some of them are designed to allow the therapist to observe the addict and gain new knowledge to help in therapist. Others help the addict learn how to express and deal with their feelings.

There is a variety of treatments that cater to different interests. They include music and art therapy, yoga, equine therapy and much more. Some programs include community involvement to help the person feel like they have a purpose and to give back through volunteerism. You may get involved in gardening and other outdoor pursuits. There may be social activities to help addicts learn how to have fun once again without the use of drugs. For long-term users, it can be important to help them learn how to function in normal situations such as parties and get-togethers.

When you’re doing research on treatment programs, you should look at the services they offer. Not all drug treatment centers are the same, and you want to find the one best suited to you. It’s possible to be successful in rehab, but you want to choose a program that fits your personality and situation.

What does Crack Rehab Cost?

It’s possible that you can see and understand how important it is for you to get professional help from drug rehab programs, but you still have some concerns about the details. For example, you may be wondering, what does rehab cost? This is a common question because the cost of professional treatment is what keeps so many people stuck in their addiction cycles.

Your health insurance company should offer you benefits for rehab centers to help pay for your treatment, and in some cases, it is even completely paid for. This is a recent development because of the Affordable Care Act.

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Finding the Right Crack Rehab Facilities in Washington State

When you realize you have an addiction to crack, your next step should be to find help so you can begin recovery. You can do research online to learn about addiction treatment centers in your area. You want to compare services and features to know which one will provide the best results for your situation. Every addict is unique and they must find the place that best meets their needs.

Crack is one of the most dangerous drugs in the world, and because its high is so short lived, users frequently use it over and over again. This raises their risk of overdosing on it and makes it that much more dangerous.

Drug rehab programs are able to provide hope to those who are addicted to crack cocaine. Perhaps that’s you, and while you know you need to get professional help for your addiction, you can’t help but feel a bit nervous about reaching our for it. It can be so hard to come to terms with the fact that you have an addiction to a drug like crack, and here at Northpoint Washington, we want to provide you with the reassurance you need to get help for your addiction. Our rehabilitation program was designed to provide you with the support you need during this crucial part of your life. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, please contact us.

You may wonder what makes us different from other programs that are available. Our modern facility is comfortable and small with fewer beds so we can focus on each person who stays here. We create a plan that is individualized and unique to you with a staff that is ready and trained to work with you on overcoming addiction. They understand the impact that crack has on the system, and they are prepared to help you work through treatment.

Northpoint Washington has a holistic approach to our treatment programs. We want you to be ready to begin your new life and to be proud of who you are when you leave our center. We provide a nutritional program and regular work outs so you can get healthy. We also offer activities like hiking as part of your recovery plan as well as community service. Our center becomes a family to you, your support network to encourage and inspire you to be the best you possible.

If Northpoint Washington sounds like the right place for you to meet your recovery goals or if you’d like to know more, contact us today. Don’t face addiction alone; let us help make sobriety a reality.

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