Crack cocaine addiction
Crack cocaine addiction is a serious problem in many countries around the world. In the UK alone, nearly 200,000 people are estimated to be regular users of crack cocaine, with many of them experiencing devastating side effects as a result. Aside from causing severe health problems like heart damage and mental illness, crack cocaine addiction can also lead to financial hardship, relationship struggles and even problems with the law.
But is it possible to overcome addiction? Thankfully, the answer is yes. If you or someone you know is struggling with this devastating condition, there is hope for recovery. Getting the help you need to break free from crack cocaine can change your life for the better.
How does crack cocaine addiction develop?
Crack cocaine addiction can develop quickly and easily, often beginning with experimentation or recreational use. It produces a short-lived but extremely intense high, usually followed by cravings for more of the drug.
Upon consumption, you will experience a rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in feelings of reward and pleasure. Crack cocaine also interferes with the normal functioning of serotonin and other neurotransmitters that are involved in regulating mood and behaviour, which can eventually lead the user to become dependent on crack cocaine just to feel normal.
When taken over an extended period of time, crack cocaine can actually change the physical structure and functioning of the brain altogether, leading the user to experience severe withdrawal symptoms should they try to stop. Ultimately, these combined effects make crack cocaine one of the most addictive drugs on the market today.
As with any other drug addiction, crack cocaine can affect anyone at any time. Despite this, there are certain factors that put you at a higher risk of developing a crack cocaine addiction. These include:
- Genetics: your genetic makeup plays a huge role in determining whether you develop a crack cocaine addiction or not.
Personality traits: those with more impulsive personalities or those who are classified as “pleasure-seeking” are more likely to engage in crack cocaine abuse.
Mental health issues: those suffering from mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, or PTSD are at risk of developing crack cocaine addiction as a means to self-medicate underlying conditions.
Early use: the younger you are when you begin experimenting with drugs or alcohol, the more likely you are to develop a crack cocaine addiction.
- Trauma: experiencing a traumatic event, particularly in one’s childhood, puts you at a greater risk of developing an addiction to crack cocaine.
The negative effects of crack cocaine
Although a crack cocaine high is brief, the damaging physical and psychological impacts of it can be long-lasting. Its effects can touch every area of an individual’s life and cause significant harm that may be difficult or even impossible to reverse.
Some of the physical side effects of crack cocaine include:
- Intense itching
- Excessive sweating
- Dilated pupils
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Tremors or twitches
- Muscle aches and pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Respiratory problems
- Damage to internal organs
- Increased risk of heart attack or stroke
Some of the psychological side effects of crack cocaine include:
- Irritability and agitation
Crack cocaine overdose is also a very real danger that can be fatal. The signs of a crack cocaine overdose include chest pains, an irregular heartbeat, high temperature, difficulty breathing, seizures, hallucinations or coma. If you notice any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, seek emergency medical help immediately.
Spotting crack cocaine addiction
Crack cocaine is a highly addictive drug that carries a number of tell-tale signs of abuse. Some of the most obvious signs include:
- Extreme changes in behaviour and mood, including erratic, agitated or aggressive behaviour
- Apparent deficits in concentration and memory
- Weight loss
- Cracked or burned lips and fingers
- Changes in sleep habits
- Increased susceptibility to illness and chronic coughs
- Anxiety and depression
- Financial difficulties due to excessive spending on drug purchases
- Extreme secrecy
- Sudden changes in social networks and relationships
- Increased risk of accidental injury due to erratic behaviour.
- Presence of crack cocaine paraphernalia such as crack pipes, tin foil or aluminium cans with burn marks
Spotting the signs of crack cocaine addiction can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with the common symptoms or are wary about approaching an addicted loved one about their substance use. However, if you have reason to believe that someone close to you has developed a crack cocaine habit, it’s important not to ignore your suspicions or hope that things will get better on their own. Rather, seek professional help as soon as possible to get your loved one the treatment they need to escape the grips of this dangerous drug.
Crack cocaine detox and withdrawal
Crack cocaine detox is the process of withdrawing from the drug and recovering from its associated effects. Detox is an important aspect of recovery, as it helps individuals to safely eliminate all traces of the drug from their bodies and begin healing.
When detoxing from crack cocaine, users will undergo symptoms as their body adjusts to the drug leaving their system. Withdrawal from crack cocaine can be an intense experience, however, and users can expect to see a range of unpleasant symptoms during this period.
These symptoms may include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Vivid nightmares
- Irritability and agitation
- Mood swings
- Inability to concentrate
- Inability to feel pleasure
Many factors can affect the intensity of crack cocaine detox and withdrawal symptoms, including the extent of drug abuse (the length of addiction, the amounts and frequency taken) and your overall health. You should expect the worst of your withdrawal symptoms to fade after seven to ten days; however, you may still struggle with ongoing, mild psychological symptoms for several weeks or months as your brain continues to adjust to life without crack cocaine.
Do I need crack cocaine rehab?
Admitting you need help with your crack cocaine problem can be extremely difficult. Sometimes it is hard to know where to begin or who to approach if your crack cocaine use has started to get out of control. Being open and honest with yourself, however, is the first step in the process.
Take a quick look at the following statements to see if any apply to you:
- I have trouble controlling my cravings for crack cocaine and frequently find myself giving in to my urges to get high.
- I’ve tried to quit using crack cocaine many times but can’t seem to stick with my attempts at sobriety.
- My crack use patterns have become increasingly risky and harmful over time – for example, I’m now using multiple times per day rather than just on weekends as I used to do.
- When I think about what my life was like before I became addicted to crack, I can hardly recognise myself anymore – my priorities and values have changed drastically as a result of my drug use.
- My regular routine largely revolves around making sure that I have enough drugs for the day.
- I have lost my job as a result of my crack cocaine use and whatever finances I have are all spent on procuring drugs.
If you can relate to any of these statements, don’t wait until it is too late. There is no shame in seeking professional help. Our team at Liberty House understands how hard it is to begin rehab treatment, but we can provide you with everything you need to make positive changes in your life moving forward.
What to expect from crack cocaine rehab
At Liberty House, we offer a fully comprehensive crack cocaine detox alongside therapeutic treatments and activities to tackle your psychological reliance on the drug. You can expect a warm welcome from our friendly and understanding team, all of whom have first-hand experiences with addiction and help to foster a non-judgemental space in which you can recover.
During your time at Liberty House, you will have access to a wide range of therapies designed to address the underlying causes of your crack cocaine addiction and develop effective coping strategies to use as you move forward.
Some of our addiction therapies include:
- 12-step programme
- Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT)
- Group therapy
- Mutual aid and self-help
- Family therapy
- Solution-focused therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Lectures and workshops
- Sound therapy
- Art therapy
- Yoga and meditation
Overall, these various therapeutic approaches are considered to be some of the most effective in helping individuals break their crack cocaine addiction. This is due in part to the fact that they address both the emotional and physical components of crack cocaine abuse and take a multi-pronged approach to addiction treatment, giving you the best chances of success.
A life without crack cocaine
A life without crack cocaine is one that is filled with untold mental and physical benefits. When you give up this destructive drug, you free yourself from a host of negative physical and mental effects. Physical improvements such as better cardiovascular health, reduced anxiety and depression, and an enhanced ability to focus are just a few of the many advantages that you can expect to see once you quit using crack cocaine.
By kicking this habit and focusing on the positive aspects of your life, you can experience a deeper sense of satisfaction and fulfilment. With a renewed sense of self-confidence and purpose, you will be able to channel your energies into achieving your goals and creating meaningful relationships with others. In short, life without crack cocaine is one that is full of promise and possibility.