During the ’80s a new form of cocaine, known as crack, became available on the streets. Soon, it would become one of the most addictive and problematic substances in the world. Crack addiction is still a profound issue, affecting countless people and their families and loved ones surrounding them. If you or someone you love is believed to be suffering from a crack addiction it is vital to speak in confidence to trained professionals who can make the appropriate treatment recommendations. Recovery from crack addiction is possible.
What Is Crack Cocaine?
Crack cocaine is a smokable form of illicit street drug cocaine. While cocaine is generally known to come in the form of a white powder, crack is a solid, crystallised form of cocaine. Crack is usually smoked in pieces, also known as rocks, in a glass pipe known as a crack pipe. The drug is opaque and can be a variety of colours from tan to yellow, light pink or white, and looks like small rocks, chunks, or chips of crystal. When used, the crack crystals are heated and emit smoke that is then inhaled. This classification of drug is considered more dangerous than cocaine because it gives its users a more intense euphoric high that is short-lived. This often compels users to engage in further crack consumption only minutes after the last dose in order to repeat and/or sustain the experience.
Side-Effects and Signs of Crack Abuse
If a person continues to use crack, they may develop cravings for the drug and might keep using it despite experiencing the negative side effects. Crack addiction can take different people varying lengths of time before developed. A person typically builds up a tolerance to the drug if used often. This will present in the person generally needing to take more of the drug in order to experience the same level of high.
If they suddenly stop smoking crack and begin feeling withdrawal symptoms, this is usually an indication that their body is dependent on the drug. For some, it is possible to begin the path to crack addiction after just one ‘hit’.
Traits that can influence the length of time it takes to develop crack addiction include:
- Personal history of substance abuse or addiction
- Family history of substance abuse or addiction
- Frequency of use
- Concurrent drug or alcohol abuse
People addicted to crack experience struggles not only within their bodies but also in their lifestyles. Many individuals struggle financially, given their need for the drug on a regular basis. Some individuals may lose their jobs, declare bankruptcy, or even steal money in order to afford their addiction. Crack is an illegal substance and so the consequences can also lead to run-ins with the law. The ramifications of crack use can be immense. Individuals can lose custody of their children, face arrest, and even imprisonment.
Individuals who develop an addiction to crack can suffer from a variety of long-term side effects that can be difficult to reverse, especially once deemed severe.
Some of the physical side-effects include:
- Organ damage
- Heart disease
- Tooth decay
- Respiratory failure
- Abscesses on the skin
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Chest pain
As with many psychoactive substances, meaning mind-altering, the mind is likely to be impacted by the intake of the drug, this is especially true with crack cocaine.
Possible psychological side-effects include:
- Aggressive/irritable behaviour
- Partaking in risky behaviour
As with any addiction or consistent drug use, the behaviour of the user is likely to begin to change. A loved one may notice a disinterest in hobbies they once loved, a lack of energy to participate in family events, and gradual avoidance of responsibilities.
Other behaviours may include:
- Interpersonal relationship issues
- Ignoring responsibilities such as work, school, parental duties
- Legal problems
- Loss of memory, losing things constantly
- Selling valuables or heirlooms
- Continuously asking friends or family for money
- Financial issues
- Loss of employment or expulsion from school
- Isolating themselves from their communities
- Changing friendship groups
- Losing friends due to their behaviour
Can You Overdose on Crack Cocaine?
Crack cocaine is described as a far more intense cocaine high, which is why it has become so popular. However, like cocaine, crack comes with a high risk of overdose. The chances of an overdose occuring increases depending on the method of use. There are certain signs and symptoms associated with a crack cocaine overdose, and it’s important you are familiar with them if you or someone you know is abusing crack.
Some of the most common signs include:
- A fever, or flushed and hot skin
- Chest pains
- Increased heart rate even when resting
- A burst of energy, manic behaviour
- Feeling agitated
- Nausea or weakness
It’s not uncommon for people to mistake the signs of an overdose for the uncomfortable symptoms of a crash, or “comedown”. However, the consequences of this mistake can sometimes be fatal.
Crack Addiction Treatment
Addiction treatment is available on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Your decision will ultimately be based upon your individual needs and circumstances. While residential rehab is considered to be the most effective form of treatment for crack addiction, clinics like CATCH Recovery offer exceptional outpatient addiction treatment.
Effective treatment for any addiction consists of a medical detox where necessary. Crack cocaine withdrawal can be psychologically taxing, so a medically supervised detox may be recommended. Detox is then followed by an intensive course of therapy.
While detox is an important part of overcoming physical dependency, treating the psychological aspects of addiction will provide you with the tools you need to maintain long-term sobriety. Psychological dependence is the term used to describe the emotional and mental components of substance use disorder. This is usually characterised by strong cravings for a particular substance or behaviour and the inability to function without it.
CATCH Recovery uses evidence-based treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), grief and trauma therapy, one-to-one counselling sessions, group therapy and online therapy. We also teach relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation which can help with managing stressful situations, in addition to withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia.
Whether it’s residential rehab or intensive outpatient therapy, finishing a programme can also feel daunting. You may feel overwhelmed without the structure and safety you’ve become accustomed to. With this in mind, we have created an exceptional aftercare programme designed to prevent relapse and help you deal with the stressors of everyday life.
Crack Cocaine Addiction Treatment in London
If you’re concerned about the effects your crack cocaine addiction is having on your health and wellbeing, get in touch with CATCH Recovery to find out how we can help you begin your journey to sobriety.
You can call our admissions team for your free addiction assessment, and they will be able to advise you on the next steps.
Our clinic is based in South West London, which is accessible from anywhere in the UK. However, if you need additional support but don’t live in the South East of England, you may benefit from some of the outpatient services we offer. If you require residential rehab and are unable to travel to London, we also provide referrals to rehabs in other areas in the UK and Ireland.