A survey from 2006 shows that about 8.6 million Americans over the age of 12 have used crack. According to another survey from 2007, a little more than 3% of high school seniors have used crack at some point in their lives.
Crack is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs out there. At First City Recovery Center, we have seen people from all walks of life deal with a substance use disorder caused by crack addiction. We’ve heard many stories, and some could trace their dependency back to the first time they used crack at a young age.
Why Would People Use Crack?
As one of the most highly addictive substances out there, it’s hard to understand why anyone would use crack. Crack cocaine is powdered cocaine that has been altered using things like water and baking soda.
Part of the reason that people use crack is that it’s accessible. Pure cocaine is expensive, but because crack is a less pure form of cocaine, it costs less. If something is readily available, then it’s easy to see why many people are willing to try it, especially if it doesn’t cost much.
Still, money isn’t the only reason people use this drug. Some people experience a burst of energy, usually followed by paranoia, anxiety, and depression; a false sense of confidence that can lead to embarrassing behavior; and a short-lived feeling of euphoria. The effects are intense, which is yet another reason people continue to use crack. However, the brain and the body can become dependent on the euphoric effects of the drug quickly, which means that they need to use more to get the same effects that they used to get when they started.
Crack acts faster than regular cocaine. When a person consumes crack, the more immediate effects last about 10 minutes or so, which leads to the user taking more crack.
It should be pointed out that the so-called “good” feelings of crack never last long. Those feelings are bait, and they lure people in. It takes a long time before you realize you’re hooked. This could lead the user into experiencing the following negative effects of crack addiction.
Crack users can experience a number of unexpected physical effects, like the loss of appetite. If you continue to use the drug, you could become severely malnourished, and that could put you at risk of other health problems.
Some folks experience an increased heart rate, high blood pressure, increased respiratory rate, and dilated pupils. That elevated pulse could put you at risk of having a heart attack, and high blood pressure could cause a stroke. The more that you ingest crack, the higher your risk is of experiencing one of these extremely serious conditions.
Because crack is a stimulant, your sleep could be affected, which makes it harder for you to maintain mood control, and it even weakens your immune system and can cause delusions. Some users experience intense convulsions and seizures, which could put a person’s life in danger.
All of those physical effects can be paired with behavioral effects, like bizarre, erratic, and sometimes violent behavior. You might experience hectic hallucinations that could make you irritable — to the point where you might even want to attack someone.
Some crack users have dangerous hallucinations. For example, seeing bugs burrowing under the skin is a common one. This makes a user scratch themselves repeatedly and can leave sores on the skin. Because crack users’ immune systems are often compromised, these sores sometimes don’t heal correctly, leaving scars on their skin.
Crack users often experience anxiety, paranoia, and depression, all of which could turn chronic. Each issue can cause destruction in your life, at work, and with relationships.
There are also a number of long-term effects that you need to know about. People who use crack cocaine for a long time can develop serious conditions that won’t go away even if they stop using crack. Some of those problems include liver, kidney, and lung damage.
Those are hard to reverse and can lower your life expectancy dramatically. As a result of some of these problems, you could end up with other issues, such as severe chest pains or serious respiratory issues, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.
The chances of suffering from tooth decay are also higher in crack users. People might lose some or all of their teeth if they use crack for a long time, and they could develop abscesses in their gums. With a compromised immune system, you could be susceptible to various bacteria, viruses, and infections.
If you ever have to go in for surgery, the chances of infection are much higher for chronic drug users. Some users even deal with infertility because of crack use. These sexual issues affect men and women.
You can see why First Recovery Center is committed to helping addicts overcome this substance use disorder. Crack is a dangerous drug that can destroy your life and well-being in many ways; however, there are ways to overcome an addiction.
Understanding Your Rehabilitation Options
If you or someone you love is using crack, it’s crucial to get them into treatment as soon as possible. Ingesting crack has a number of serious, negative consequences, and some of these intensify when you stop taking it.
Withdrawal from crack can cause varying degrees of mental health issues, such as paranoia, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and mood swings. Some of these could be very intense and scary. Some people experience severe hallucinations and delusional thinking. This could cause folks to do strange things or act bizarrely. It could even cause people to do dangerous things.
Crack use can also cause physical damage, such as cardiovascular issues, nausea, seizures, and sometimes, it could cause damage to your teeth. Additionally, a person can suffer major cognitive decline from consuming crack for long periods.
Despite the negative aspects of crack use, the craving for crack is incredibly hard to resist. This is how people lose their jobs and families and are sometimes driven to commit criminal acts, such as stealing to get money for crack. It’s going to feel like you could die if you don’t find a way to get more crack. When you feel like using drugs is your only way to survive, you may be willing to do all kinds of stuff.
These are just some of the bad effects that crack consumption can have on you, but there are many more.
You may be able to tell if a loved one is suffering from a crack cocaine addiction if they exhibit the following behaviors or life issues:
• legal or financial troubles
• failure to meet family and social obligations
• losing their job
• noticeable physical decline, like weight loss or rotting teeth
• excessive excitement, paranoia, or irrational behavior
• new group of friends
Substance use disorder is complex. The first step in any treatment program is detox. Once the crack is out of your system, the healing can begin. The physical symptoms of withdrawal need to be addressed so that you can concentrate on whole-body healing.
Our team of experienced professionals will be there monitoring the detoxification process. They’ll be there making sure any withdrawal symptoms are under control because they can be hard to deal with. This type of treatment makes it easier to keep up with our cognitive therapies along with your group sessions.
Medically assisted treatment is another option that’s offered. This refers to the drugs that we sometimes use to ease withdrawal symptoms. This isn’t always necessary unless the symptoms are extreme. The medications are usually used to help deal with things like extreme depression, paranoia, anxiety, and general sickness.
One of the rehabilitation options that we have available is cognitive-behavioral therapy. This could include motivational interviewing. The goal of this type of interviewing is to help you realize your own intentions. The goal is to dig out what truly motivates your drug use and use that to help you change your behavior. Once you understand the reasons for your cravings, you will know what to do to stop them.
Contingency management is a rehabilitation option that is sometimes used to deal with a substance use disorder. The idea here is to reward you when you don’t use crack. Every clean drug test gets you a voucher for goods or services, so it’s worth it to stay clean. This therapy starts to rewire your brain to feel good when you don’t use crack, which helps reverse your dependence on this drug.
We usually offer some re-entry training to help you adjust to your life once again after you leave First City Recovery Center. One of the things that we’ll do while you’re here is to connect you with a sober buddy, a mentor who has successfully graduated from our program and who has put some time together sober, and who can help you navigate your new journey.
Outpatient treatment is another rehabilitation option. Those who have been using crack longer or who have been mixing crack with other substances will require a more comprehensive treatment plan, and they can find that in our day programs. In this program, they will spend up to eight hours a day at the center, and at the end, they’ll be able to process the day’s lessons at home. However, because of the substantial time commitment, this program is not suitable for someone who has non-negotiable work or school obligations.
We understand that everyone leads different lives, and we do our best to accommodate that. One of our more popular programs is the Intensive Outpatient Program or IOP. This is for people who cannot take a leave of absence from school or work or who have full-time family obligations. This treatment includes a mix of support groups, one-on-one therapy, and 12-step programs to help you work through your substance use disorder. After the IOP is completed, there are long-term recovery programs so that you have the smoothest possible transition into a long life of sobriety.
We want you to know that we’re here to talk to you about how you can get clean and stay clean. First City Recovery Center wants to be the center you trust, which is the reason we fill our center with compassionate people who see your courage. If you suspect that a loved one needs help but aren’t sure where to start, give us a call. We’ll talk about the ways that an intervention could help your loved one see how they could benefit from crack addiction treatment.
We won’t lie to you. We’re not blind to the reality of how good using crack can feel. We also know that it can derail your life before you even know what hit you. However, there is hope. At First City Recovery Center, we work to heal the whole person through detox, treatment, group support, 12-step methodology, mentorship programs, and aftercare. We are committed to helping you reach your goals and get your life back.