Crack is a hard form of cocaine that is formulated by using baking soda and other solvents to cook the cocaine into a mixture that hardens into a smokable substance that is highly addictive. Crack is actually more addictive than cocaine itself and the low cost of the drug makes users even more apt to quickly resort from recreational cocaine abuse to crack addiction rather quickly. Crack causes many physical and mental health reactions that can lead to long term consequences.
Symptoms of a Crack Addiction
Recognizing the signs of crack addiction early on can make treatment a bit easier but there are no guarantees. Because crack is so widely available both on the streets and throughout neighborhoods, this drug and the physical dependence that it causes ruins lives and leaves behind a world of pain that is difficult to control and even more difficult to treat. Crack is consumed very quickly and the high that results from smoking the drug lasts only minutes in many cases which leads the user to excessive use known as “chasing the dragon.”
Some of the signs of crack addiction include:
- financial troubles, running out of money or spending money with no explanation as to where the money went
- paranoid thoughts or actions
- blinking the eyes profusely or having very wide eyes
- erratic or even psychotic behaviors
- rapid weight loss and lack of appetite
- lesions or boils on the skin, sores on the skin from picking excessively
- restlessness and irritability
What is Crack Addiction?
Recreational use of any drug does not constitute addiction but in some cases, addiction is definitely a problem that must be addressed. Crack addiction is a medical diagnosis that results from the addicts actions and activities in relation to the drug use. Crack addiction is characterized by:
- a tolerance to the drug that requires more and more crack to be smoked to produce the same high
- physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when crack is not being used
- desire that is overwhelming and leads to crack use even when the addict tries to say no
- a physical or psychological devotion to crack smoking
- continuing to smoke crack despite known consequences
- smoking crack even after being in trouble with the law, suffering relationship problems or other consequences as a result of the crack abuse
Treatment for Crack Addiction
While crack is a very highly addictive substance, there are treatment methods that can work to provide effective care for those who have a physical and / or psychological dependence on this substance. Many times, crack addiction treatment will consist of a series of events that lead to recovery. The first step is detox, this is the phase during which the addict will stop smoking crack and allow all toxins to be eliminated from the body. Crack detox typically takes about a week but most of the withdrawal symptoms associated with crack detox will go away within a few days.
Following detox, the addict will require counseling and therapy for the psychological effects that crack addiction had on them. Many people who smoke crack suffer long term psychiatric problems such as anxiety, paranoia, depression and, in rare but very possible cases, psychosis. Crack addiction treatment will focus on helping the addict to cope with any of the mental health illness that they may have had prior to their addiction as well as any co-occurring mental health conditions that they currently suffer from in addition to being addicted to cocaine.