Crack cocaine brings an euphoric feelings of an extreme high. In fact, getting high on crack can make you feel like you are the strongest and most beautiful person in the world. Some users even claim that they cannot explain what the crack high is like because no words can describe it. More or less, crack makes users feel like they are better than anyone else.
But in the long run, effects of crack use include addiction, persistent craving, and a high risk of relapse. This section explores what is it like to be addicted to crack. We’ll also review the way out through treatment options. At the end, we invite you to send us your questions. We’ll do our best to answer all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly.
How Do You Get Addicted To Crack?
Since its introduction in the 1980s, crack cocaine has made its mark on users. How does it work? Crack produces its psychoactive and addictive effects primarily by acting on the brain’s reward system, and interferes with the regulation of pleasure and motivation. But, although these effects of crack are intense, they are short lived.
Withdrawal symptoms occur when the drug’s effects wear off, and may include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Intense cravings for crack
So, when you have experienced the powerful ‘high’ and later find yourself at a considerable ‘low’ with crack cocaine, you’ll be tempted to keep using crack simply to avoid the harsh withdrawal side effects…which acts like a slippery slope towards addiction.
What is Crack Addiction…Really?
Crack addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease caused by one of the most addictive substances known. Once a person tries crack, they may be unable to control the compulsion and will continue to use it. Users quickly become physically and psychologically dependent on crack.
If the process of becoming a crack addict is described in stages, here’s how addiction usually evolves:
1.You take the first hit and then continuing use.
2. You take larger and larger amounts of crack in order to get high (tolerance).
3. The body experiences physical dependence.
4. Psychological dependence occurs, as you only feel good or normal on crack.
5. You find that you cannot function without crack and use it just to feel “normal”.
6. Crack takes the control over your emotions.
7. Crack is the center of your world, you constantly obsess over obtaining and using.
8. Crack addiction infiltrates in all areas of your life.
When you become addicted to crack cocaine you lose interest in all other aspects of your lives. That’s why addiction is often associated with illegal activities. We’ll do whatever we can to get our hands on more crack. It’s a cycle that is hard to break and it continues until you’re ready to quit using.
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Addiction to Crack: What’s It Like?
The first time a person uses crack it produces an immediate and powerful high. According to self-reports, this is a feeling unlike anything else in the world. Sometimes, all it takes is one hit to get addicted. Because once you experience that initial high, you may keep trying to re-experience that moment over and over again.
Here is how one person describes their crack cocaine smoking session and the effects of smoking:
“I usually get 3 or 4 dime stones and make a night of it, unfortunately alone, by myself most of the time, in my house the whole time. It’s not really a drug to do and go out and have an amazing time, it’s more the kind of drug where all of the pleasure gotten is from doing more of the drug, solely its effects without the exterior elements affecting you, because you’re solely focused on how damn fucking good you feel at that moment. But I’ve managed to nearly master it and control the temperament of the beast inside, the fiend that perpetually dwells in many of us’ inner selves, telling me to do more, ‘do it now, do it now, do it now!’
If I manage something to keep me occupied right as I put the pipe down, usually my computer since that’s where I’m sitting & smoking at 95% percent of the time. Too paranoid to do it outside even though it seems like a good idea, I feel the dog’s watching me, all my neighbors are at their second story windows overlooking my yard, just watching me…plus there’s that damn wind. Anyways it’s all too much of a hassle and my ultra boosted dopamine levels, blood pressure, and heart rate all contribute to my distortion of reality in relatively unpleasant ways, yet manageable if you collect yourself and keep cool and think rationally.”
How To Recognize a Crack User
It’s very difficult to see a loved one being devastated by this powerful drug. But, it’s very important to be informed about the signs and symptoms of a problem. Sometimes, early detection and an immediate intervention can be a life-saver.
The signs and symptoms of crack addiction are difficult hard to hide, and may include:
- Apathy and loss of interest in many activities
- Burned, cracked or blistered lips (from smoking the hot pipe)
- Burns on the hands (from the crack pipe)
- Legal problems
- Respiratory problems
- Secretive behavior
- Spending a lot of money
- Weight loss
If someone close to you is experiencing a crack use problem…don’t wait to get them professional help. The sooner a person starts working on their recovery, the better chance they have at achieving lon-term sobriety.
In addition, there are ways you, too, can support a loved one throughout recovery. You can get more familiar with a program known as Community Reinforcement and Family Training or CRAFT. CRAFT is an effective method of family training that helps you get prepared to convince a person to get help. It involves educational sessions on the best methods to cope with stress, communicate with the person abusing crack in a productive way, avoid enabling behaviors, and encourage them to enter treatment.
Crack is an extremely addictive substance. You have to be willing to seek help, as most cannot quit on people their own. If you are ready to get help, here is what you can do and expect during addiction treatment.
STEP 1: Detox in medical settings.
Users struggling with addiction often require a medical crack detox to cleanse their body from toxins. During your withdrawal from crack, the psychological and emotional pain can be overbearing and drive you to seek cocaine once again. Detox facilities offer a safe and drug-free environment where you can detox, where skilled teams of doctors and nurses can aid you in the process. Doctors may also prescribe sedatives or painkillers in order to ease the discomfort of withdrawal.
STEP 2: Inpatient programs.
Residential or live-in rehabs are the most effective form of treatment available for individuals suffering from crack addiction. Inpatient treatment centers are the safest place for most people as they are free from the temptation of drugs. Through a set of therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and other therapies, you are given a foundation for living a sober life. Sometimes, a stay of at least 90 days is recommended, followed by outpatient programs and sober living homes.
THEN, Outpatient programs.
After you finish an inpatient program, your recovery will likely continue on an outpatient basis in order to continue your recovery. Some may choose to live in a sober living house or a halfway house where they are surrounded by sober peers until they feel ready to transition back into the ‘real world’.
FINALLY, Continued care or aftercare programs.
A key component of a healthy recovery plan from crack addiction is continued care. The most popular options are continuous individual or group therapy sessions, twelve-step meetings such as Cocaine Anonymous, or alumni support groups from treatment centers.
Got Any Questions?
Crack cocaine addiction is hard and complicated…but recovery is possible! If you have a personal experience with crack and you’d like to share it, feel free to post it in the comments section below. If you are a crack user, you can contact us and we’ll do our best to provide you with support and guidelines on finding the best recovery program for your needs.
Finally, if you have any questions regarding crack addiction and its treatment you can post them in the designated section below. We try to provide a personal and prompt answer to all legitimate inquiries.