Crack Cocaine Addiction Facts
What is Crack Cocaine?
Cocaine is derived from the coca plant. As early as the 1500s, the Incas used coca leaves for their stimulant effects and even used the commodity as currency. In 1860, cocaine was first extracted and purified from the leaves by Albert Niemann. Nearly a century later, users began to process cocaine with ammonia and baking soda into an even more potent rock form. This potent form became known as crack cocaine. Crack quickly became popular because it is cheaper than powder cocaine, inexpensive to make and easily smoked.
How is Crack Cocaine Used?
Crack gets its unique name from the popping and cracking sound it makes when it is heated. This drug is typically smoked, and this method of ingestion allows crack to reach the brain quickly. This leads to an extreme pleasurable rush almost immediately after inhalation. The common user will have a glass or water pipe to smoke the rock. There have been instances of snorting or injecting crack, but these methods are far less common. Combining crack with other drugs such as marijuana or heroin has been reported as well.
Crack Cocaine Addiction Symptoms
The high experienced from crack is often short-lived and this encourages users to smoke even more. The extreme euphoria users experience will begin to alter chemicals in the user’s brain as the amount and frequency crack cocaine is used increases. This will lead to psychological and physical addiction.
Crack cocaine addiction symptoms include:
• Anxiety and depression
• Sudden periods of violence or psychosis
• Erratic or bizarre behaviors
• Changes in heart rhythms
• Relationship problems
• Difficulty maintaining employment
• Increasing tolerance to crack cocaine
• Inability to stop using
Crack Cocaine Addiction Withdrawal
Immediately after the crack high begins to fade, users will begin to feel the physical and mental effects of withdrawal. The altered brain chemistry and sudden decrease in neurotransmitter functioning will result in a drop in the user’s pulse and blood pressure. Withdrawal symptoms include intense craving, irritability, sleep problems and upset stomach. In some cases, withdrawal can alter behavior so significantly that the individual may experience periods of severe depression and suicidal thoughts.
Crack Cocaine Addiction Treatment
Seeking treatment for crack cocaine addiction is an important step in the recovery process. The crack withdrawal symptoms can last for weeks and the intense craving may remain long after the other symptoms have subsided. Currently, the FDA does not list any approved medications to assist in crack cocaine addiction treatment, but behavioral treatment methods have shown to be effective in recovery. There are various rehabilitation settings ranging from community-based programs to cognitive-behavioral therapy, and it is important to find a facility that meets the needs of the individual. A life of recovery is possible, and it all starts by beginning your search for treatment.