Crack is a powerful stimulant drug that’s used to achieve an energizing high. Crack is a freebase form of cocaine, which means that it’s been altered from its salt form to its base state. Crack and salt from cocaine are both the same substance in different forms. Crack is preferred by people who are looking to smoke the drug. Powdered salt cocaine doesn’t burn easily, which makes it less desirable for smokers.
Crack offers a short-lived, but intense, euphoric high that’s marked by feelings of empowerment, high energy, and extreme confidence. When crack is smoked, the high lasts for around five to ten minutes before wearing off. After that, you may still feel some of the drug’s other effects, but the euphoria will have passed. Crack often has an uncomfortable “comedown,” which is the period of adjustment your body goes through as the drug is wearing off. The comedown can cause unpleasant symptoms like depression, the inability to feel pleasure, and extreme fatigue.
Crack’s intense but short high and uncomfortable crash encourages many users to binge the drug. A crack binge can last for days without sleep. Using crack for this long increases your risk for dependence and more dangerous side effects like heart failure. It can also cause exhaustion, paranoia, and stimulant psychosis.
Signs Of Crack Addiction
Substance use disorders that involve crack may get worse over time. If left untreated, addiction can start to take over different parts of your life, including your health, social life, and finances. It’s important to face substance use problems as soon as possible, so it’s critical to recognize the signs in yourself or a loved one. Signs and symptoms of crack use can include:
- Crack binging
- Needing to use to feel normal
- Hiding the drug
- Financial problems
- Legal issues
- Struggling at work or school
- Depression while not using
- Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms
- Lying about drug use
- Loss of interest in other activities
- The inability to feel pleasure without crack
What Is Involved In Crack Addiction Treatment?
Crack addiction, like other substance use disorders, needs to be addressed with complex and personalized treatment. Addiction treatment is a process that uses a multidisciplinary approach. Effective treatment will address multiple needs, including medical, psychological, and social issues. If you have high-level medical needs, you will likely start with medical detox, which involves 24-hour treatment from medical professionals. After you go through acute withdrawal, if you still need round-the-clock care, you may go through inpatient or residential services. As you progress, you may be ready to live at home and attend treatment during the day, which means you may go through levels of care that include partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient treatment.
How Dangerous Is Crack?
Crack cocaine is a powerful drug, and it can cause fatal symptoms when it’s taken in high doses. The drug can cause hypertension, rapid heartbeat, chest pains, anxiety and agitation, nausea, seizures, and stroke. Crack overdose deaths can be caused by heart failure and stroke. Overdoses that are survived can cause long-lasting damage to the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles. Long-term crack use can also damage those organs. Long-term use can lead to movement disorders, seizures, a higher risk of stroke, and dopamine-related issues.
One of the lesser addressed consequences of cocaine and crack addiction is the financial cost. Cocaine is more expensive than other drugs, and severe addictions can cost people hundreds of dollars a day until they are left destitute.