How to treat crack addiction

Crack addiction can be treated when signs and symptoms are detected and if the person is willing to get help. How you treat crack addiction? We review here.

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Reviewed by: Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D. Dr. Juan Goecke, M.D.

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: The first step in treating crack addiction is recognizing that you have a problem. Been tired of the late nights, of the merry-go-round, or continuous thoughts of having enough, are some signs to end the cycle. More on how to treat crack addiction here. At the end leave your questions about crack. In fact, we try to respond to all real life questions with a personal and prompt reply.


Crack: Are You Even Addicted?

Addictive qualities of crack compel frequent and chronic use. This is because cocaine in its crystalline crack form is super-effective. It gets you extremely high. In fact, it’s common for people to get addicted after even one use. If you use every day, addiction develops within the first weeks.

When you’re addicted to crack, you manifest specific signs and symptoms that indicate addiction. These signs and symptoms cover both the physical spectrum as well as the behavioral spectrum. When should you seek professional help? You need official addiction treatment if you’re experiencing any combination of the following:

Physical Signs Of Crack Addiction:

  • Abrupt loss of weight
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Constant alertness and nervousness
  • Extreme energy and then extreme fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Irritated cough
  • Paranoia

Behavioral Symptoms Of Crack Addiction:

  • Always needing money.
  • Carelessness about personal grooming.
  • Looking tired.
  • Loss of interest in friends, family and pleasurable activities.
  • Lying and denial.
  • Obvious mood changes.

However, it boils down to this.

There is one main sign of addiction: the inability to quit, even in the face of the negative consequences that are ruining your life. Addiction negatively impacts your health. Addiction affects your work and finances… For the worse. Addiction ruins relationships. If you’ve noticed a major downturn in your health, social, or school/work life as a result of cocaine, it’s time to seek professional help.

The 3 C’s: Signs Of Addiction

Another quick way to evaluate yourself is to take a look at three major signs. The 3 C’s of addiction include:

  1. CONTINUED use despite negative consequences in your life.
  2. CRAVINGS for cocaine that are psychological and physical in nature.
  3. A loss of CONTROL of when you use, how much you use, and how long you use.

But there is hope.
Addiction is a medical condition. As such, it is treated medically.

Treating Crack Addiction

Treating crack addiction is usually a combination of pharmacological and behavioral therapies, but crack treatment lends itself more to behavioral approaches. There are also many sources of help for treating crack addiction. Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed clinical social workers, detox clinics and crack addiction treatment centers can help.

To treat crack addiction, specialists use both pharmacological and behavioral approaches. A combination of both is preferred. The main ways to treat crack addiction include:

1. Medications For Crack Addiction Treatment

No medications are currently available to treat cocaine dependence and withdrawal. However, many options are currently in clinical trial. These include:

  • Baclofen – A GABA B agonist used as a muscle relaxant that may help regulate dopamine in the brain.
  • Disulfiram – A possible”deterrant” disulfiram may help prevent relapse by increasing anxiety when you use cocaine.
  • Modafinil – This medication enhances glutamate-neurotransmission and may block the high causes by cocaine.
  • Propranolol – A beta blocker medicine that may help people achieve initial abstinence.
  • TA-CD – A vaccine currently under investigation as a possible way to reduce euphoric and reinforcing effects of coke.
  • Topiramate – May help increases your chances of staying off cocaine in the early stages of detox and treatment.

Still, detox clinics offer emotional and social support during withdrawal from crack. Over the long term, however, post acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) from cocaine can be treated with antidepressants.

2. Behavioral Treatments For Crack Addiction

Behavioral treatments for crack are mainly based on talk therapy.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be tailored to those addicted to crack. This therapy approach teaches crack addicts to spot and then correct problem behaviors through the application of an array of skills designed especially to stop crack use.
  • Community Reinforcement – The community reinforcement approach includes vocational, social, familial and recreational reinforces and is based on a 24-week outpatient model.
  • Contingency Management – Another behavioral treatment option used to treat crack addiction is voucher-based reinforcement. The use of vouchers is a community-based treatment approach wherein each drug-free urine sample is rewarded with vouchers. Vouchers are then used to purchase food or other goods.
  • The Matrix Model – Finally, the Matrix Model involves the use of a specific framework for motivating patients to engage in therapy and stop using crack. Clients learn about factors crucial to addiction and relapse, get help from a therapist and become educated about self-help programs.

How Long Should You Stay In Treatment?

For as long as is recommended.

Regular, long-term, or chronic use of cocaine causes long-term changes in the brain. Not only does cocaine provoke adaptations in the brain’s reward system, it can also affect the brain pathways that respond to stress. Stress can contribute to relapse, as there are important ways that the reward system overlaps the stress system in the brain.

All of this is to say: For crack users, the longer in treatment, the better!

Often, a traditional 30 day inpatient rehab program does not allow the brain and body enough time for healing. Instead, people who are dealing with a crack addiction can consider 60-90 day programs, followed by transitional programs. This way, the brain begins to achieve a balance that is supported by a regular routing. A supportive recovery environment helps get you back on your feet. And time should not be underestimated!

Almost 70% of people who get help for cocaine problems smoked crack.

So, you won’t be alone!

And if you want to get rid of a drug problem for good… Isn’t an investment of time worth it?

Who Provides The Treatment?

Where can you seek and get help for a drug problem? Here is a list of the main sources for finding treatment for crack addiction.

Addiction treatment centers. Treatment centers, a.k.a. rehab, are inpatient programs that can last from 30 days to a whole year. You can find these treatment centers via personal or online referral. SAMHSA, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, also has a full directory of all U.S. based rehab centers on their website.

A detox clinic. This type of crack addiction treatment begins the recovery process by putting the crack addict through detox. Physicians will keep tabs on the patient, monitoring the severity of his crack withdrawal symptoms in a controlled environment. Information about your nearest clinic is available on the Internet.

Clinical psychologist or psychiatrist specializing in crack addiction. Licensed psychologists and medical doctors have trained for years to help people with crack addiction overcome their dependency. These mental health professionals are easily found through the phone book or the Internet.

Crack addiction support groups. These support groups can be based on the 12-step program made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous. They help crack addicts by offering them a large community of resources that includes education and assistance. Non 12-step alternatives include SMART Recovery and Rational Recovery.

Licensed clinical social workers. Social workers both evaluate and treat people who are crack addicts. This can include group/individual therapy, case management, crisis intervention, prevention and education efforts.

Your physician. Sometimes, starting with your own doctor can be the first step on the road to recovery. He can often refer you to the right sources (detox, rehab, etc.) for help, and he already knows you, which is a plus.

A trusted religious or spiritual leader. Spiritual intervention can get the ball rolling in overcoming a crack addiction. A priest, pastor, rabbi, imam, or spiritual mentor has the connections and the standing in the community to refer you to a reliable drug therapy program.

How To Treat Crack Addiction Questions

Still have questions about how to treat crack addiction? Perhaps you have your own advice on getting over crack that you want to share. If you do, just leave your comments and questions below, and we’ll reply back as soon as we can.

Reference Sources: RACK & COCAINE: Just The Facts
NIDA: Principles Of Drug Addiction Treatment
NIDA: How Is Cocaine Addiction Treated?
NIDA: Crack Abuse
PSYCHIATRY: New Medications For The Treatment Of Cocaine Dependence
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D. is a general surgeon practicing women's focused medici...
Dr. Goecke is a medical doctor and general surgeon with personal experience of...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.

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