It would be useful if you understood the signs of crack use. This is particularly true if you suspect that a loved one is abusing this drug. Crack cocaine is cocaine in crystal form. It comes in crystals or solid blocks that vary in color from pale rose to yellow to white. The drug is white and mineral-like and has an off-white tint.
Crack is made by mixing baking soda with the powdered form of cocaine. This mixture is then heated using a blow torch until it melts and hardens into rocks. These rocks are known as crack cocaine. Many crack cocaine users use a pipe to abuse it. They will heat the crystals and inhale the smoke through the stem of the glass pipe. Many users also use the drug intravenously.
Crack cocaine's name stems from the crackling sound it produces when it is heated. Other names for the drug include candy, cookies, base, rock, hard, and sleet. It is also the most potent form of cocaine. It is between 75% and 100%. As such, it is the riskiest and most addictive form of cocaine. The irony is that crack cocaine is cheaper than powder cocaine, despite being a lot more potent.
Smoking crack cocaine allows it to hit the brain faster. This brings about a very intense high, which lasts for about 15 minutes. There have been many cases where first-time users of the drug became addicted to it.
Regular cocaine has a high cost. It has thus been dubbed "the rich man's drug." Crack cocaine, on the other hand, is so cheap that even teenagers can afford to buy it. Once addiction sets in, the expenses skyrocket as increasingly large doses of the drug are used.
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Smoking crack cocaine is one of the fast and easy ways to get addicted to it. Crack can and will destroy your physical and mental health. There have been cases where first-time users suffered seizures and heart attacks.
Smoking the drug will deliver the drug straight into the lungs, and the bloodstream, giving you an immediate high. Once the drug has reached the brain, it stimulates the production of large amounts of dopamine, which is the pleasure chemical.
A crack high will typically last quarter of a hour. Once the high dissipates, the user will feel compelled to use more of the drug. This is what eventually leads to a full-blown addiction. Short term effects of smoking crack include dilated pupils, hyper-stimulation, paranoia, aggression, constricted blood vessels, intense euphoria, and an increased breathing rate.
Some addicts of crack are unable to perform sexually without the drug. The reverse is also true with addicts who are unable to perform sexually with the drug in their system.
Many crack users and abusers turn to prostitution, robbery, thieving, and drug dealing to sustain their habit. Crack cocaine is responsible for many car crashes, falls, burns, drownings, and even suicides. Some of the long-term effects of this drug, which are also classified as signs of crack use, include:
Considering just how destructive the consequences of crack cocaine are, it is surprising just how available the drug is and how widespread its use is in the US.
In a 2010 survey, children as young as 13 had been exposed to this drug. 23% of 8th graders, 32% of 10th graders, and 45% of 12th graders reported that crack cocaine was either "fairly easy" or "really easy" to access. Considering that a singular hit can kick off a lifelong addiction, these figures do illuminate the severity of the crack issue.
Crack cocaine is way more potent and addictive than regular powder cocaine. As such, an addiction to crack cocaine develops quickly, and some people become addicted to the drug the very first time they use it.
Because the crack high is so pleasurable yet so short-lived, they use more of the drug to try and stretch it for longer. Eventually, an addiction is born. The time comes when the user needs to use crack just to feel healthy and function usually.
This happens because crack cocaine offsets large amounts of dopamine in the brain. The crack habit eventually conditions the body to associate dopamine with the drug. Ultimately, your brain will be unable to produce dopamine on its own, as it would normally.
Crack cocaine comes with powerful cravings. These make it difficult to quit. The desire to swerve unpleasant withdrawal effects also put many people off of quitting. Those addicted to crack often ignore the negative consequences that are brought about by the drug.
Because of its absurdly high addiction potential, any crack use amount should be an immediate cause for concern. Crack addicts often go to a whole other level regarding getting and abusing the drug: they will neglect everything and fleece anyone, including loved ones if it means getting to use the drug.
Knowing what you need to look for could save your life and that of a loved one. Tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, slacking off obligations, and using more than you intended to use are all hallmarks of crack addiction.
Crack is very rarely dabbled with by the uninitiated. Many times, crack cocaine is used and abused by persons who are already nursing a cocaine addiction.
The cheap nature of crack cocaine makes it accessible to all types of people. However, crack addicts could find themselves blowing thousands of dollars a week to sustain their habit. A crack habit gets very expensive once addiction kicks in.
One aspect of crack cocaine that compels many users to seek out the drug only a short while after using it is its crash effects. You will feel very low once the effects wear off. Some people fall into a deep depression if they stay without the drug for a significant period.
Crack withdrawal is characterized by massive cravings as well as physical and psychological signs and symptoms. The symptoms may vary, intensity-wise. They may continue for several days or a couple of months.
For most crack users, the acute withdrawal phase will last a week or so. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) may last for several weeks or months. How long the PAWS last will be reliant on how long the user has been using crack, whether the user was abusing other drugs alongside crack, whether the user has a mental health issue, and the preferred method of administration. Withdrawal symptoms often hit people who abuse large quantities of the drug for an extended period the hardest.
Common symptoms of withdrawal include:
Crack is an illicit substance. As such, any use of crack is abuse. Because crack is typically smoked, as opposed to being snorted, its effects are felt faster and with more intensity, as the drug arrives at the brain sooner. The crack high, however, does not last very long.
Crack forces a release of vast quantities of dopamine in the brain. As early as the first day of smoking the drug, the brain has already started working on rewiring itself, as it finds the crack high pleasurable.
The effects of using and abusing crack cocaine may vary from individual to individual. This is due in part to the unpredictable nature of the contents of the drug. The effects of crack can be both psychological and physical. The severity is elevated, the more it is abused. Some immediate effects of abuse include:
The long-term effects of abusing the drug may be detrimental. Abusing the drug long-term may lead to damage to the body's vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, and liver. Additionally, since crack abuse puts such a beating on the body's immune system, crack abusers are more prone to infections. Long-term dangers of crack abuse may include:
A crack overdose is usually preceded by dilating the pupils and heavy, steady sweating. A person who has overdosed may exhibit aggression, anxiety, a rapid heart rate, seizures, chest pains, seizure, nausea, hallucinations, and/or stroke. Besides, those with high blood pressure and kidney problems stand a higher risk of fatal complications caused by the drug.
Crack cocaine's effects are severe. While persons addicted to other substances can manage to hide withdrawal symptoms, this is rarely the case with crack cocaine.
Crack has a very short-acting nature. This means that for many addicts, taking a break every 20 minutes to smoke some crack is not out of the ordinary. The mental obsession with crack can also be so intense that addicts find it impossible to hold regular conversations. They are so focused on the next time that they will use the drug that they become incoherent.
Other signs of crack use, abuse, and addiction include:
Those struggling with crack addiction get used to being around people who are either supportive of their addiction or have accepted it altogether. Even those who are keen on making a full recovery and are eventually able to transition into total sobriety need to be surrounded by people who will help them stay clean.
Detox is the initial step to recovery. When performed in a professional setting, detox is effective in safely cleansing the system from drugs. This helps the addict get through the uncomfortable depression stage, which follows crack abuse.
Currently, there are no approved medications that help to treat addiction to crack cocaine as well as withdrawal from crack cocaine. However, some therapies are being tested. Buspirone, an anti-anxiety medication, is effective in blunting the anxiety levels of addicts.
Among the effective ways to make a total recovery from addiction to crack is spending a stint in inpatient rehab. Numerous rehabs have different treatment plans. Most will also focus on cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoeducational and process group therapy, and support groups.
For those who request the 12-step program, many facilities will offer alternatives to it. Rehab will generally last between 1 month and three months. However, in more severe cases of addiction, it may take longer.
Recovering from addiction may necessitate intensive counseling. Adjusting to healthy living after spending a long time addicted to crack can be difficult. However, learning to adapt is well worth the effort. Many programs will include vocational training, which will help the recovering addict reintegrate into the community.
There are multiple support groups for recovering addicts to get involved with. These support groups create a strong support structure that will help you stay sober. You will also receive great advice from peers who are facing similar problems and urges to yours.
Overcoming your addiction may be hard, but it is nowhere near impossible. All you need do is reach out to a rehab facility for help. They can manage the signs of crack use and addiction as well as lead you towards recovery.