Crack is a dangerous, highly addictive form of cocaine that carries a significant risk for both physical and psychological dependence. Because of its intense, euphoric high and affordability relative to cocaine and other substances, crack is a drug of choice for many individuals with addictive disorders.
Withdrawal from crack can be physically and psychologically harrowing. Repeated use of crack cocaine alters the brain’s chemistry and causes mental and physical damage that requires the help of medical professionals to overcome. Learn about The Ranch medical detox program and our inpatient drug rehab program or call 844-876-7680.
Dangers of Crack Addiction
People who abuse crack are exposed to a number of health risks. These may include:
Changes in the brain – Crack causes massive increases in dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, the natural chemicals in the brain that produce good feelings. This euphoric effect drives users to abuse crack in higher doses to achieve the same high, and also interferes with the brain’s ability to produce these chemicals without the use of crack, causing physical and psychological dependence on the drug.
Delirium or intense mental disturbances – Delirium is an intense state of confusion that may include hallucinations and psychosis resulting from rapid changes in brain functions and the autonomic nervous system such as that caused by the use of crack.
Psychotic episodes or prolonged psychosis – Psychosis is one of the most common symptoms of crack cocaine abuse and is thought to be linked to changes in the brain chemical dopamine. People who abuse crack may lose touch with reality and can be plagued with delusions, hallucinations, sleep disturbances, social withdrawal and paranoia.
Depression – Another side effect of crack abuse is difficulty regulating moods. Crack can deplete the brain’s natural “happy” chemicals, which can result in severe depression.
Violent, erratic behavior – Violence can be a negative consequence of crack use. This may be due to the way the drug affects dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain and the psychosis that can accompany crack use. Crack tends to have a higher rate of violence-related incidents than cocaine. The drug also comes with a risk of self-harm if complicated by depression.
What Is the Difference Between Crack and Cocaine?
Crack is the street name given to a freebase form of cocaine that is processed from the powdered cocaine hydrochloride form to a smokeable substance. The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound heard when the mixture is smoked. Crack cocaine is processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water, and heated to remove the hydrochloride.
Why Is Crack so Addictive?
Crack cocaine, like all central nervous system stimulants, increases the level of dopamine in the brain when introduced into the bloodstream. The release of dopamine, a natural chemical released by the brain, creates feelings of pleasure. The presence of crack cocaine causes excess amounts of dopamine to build up in the brain, which amplifies the feelings of pleasure, known as a state of euphoria or a “high.”
After repeated crack cocaine use, this neurological interference can create long-term changes in the brain’s reward system, such as building tolerance to the drug’s effects. This requires the user to take more frequent or larger amounts to achieve the same high. These changes developed from habitual use often lead to addiction.
Because crack is smoked, the user experiences a high in less than 10 seconds. This rather immediate and euphoric effect is one of the reasons that crack became enormously popular in the mid-1980s and continues to be a drug of choice for some. Crack is less expensive than cocaine, making it easier to attain and abuse than some drugs.
Treatment for Crack Addiction
Treatment for crack cocaine addiction must be all-encompassing to address the high potential of coexisting medical, neurobiological and mental disorders. Crack use may be a form of self-medication for an already existing, untreated mental health disorder or its use can trigger or intensify mental health disorders due to its effects on the brain.
At The Ranch drug rehab we approach crack addiction treatment from a biopsychosocial standpoint that begins to heal the client physically while also addressing the psychological and emotional issues that perpetuate drug abuse. Clients complete medically monitored drug detox where any discomfort is attended to with evidence-based medications and 24/7 medical care. Thorough assessments determine any co-occurring mental health disorders and underlying issues such as trauma that contribute to addiction. Clients enter a comprehensive drug rehab program that helps them learn healthier coping skills, explore and address the reasons behind their addiction, and discover a better life without drugs.
Ready to put this behind you? Call 844-876-7680 now for a free confidential assessment.