Crack cocaine kills. For some people, the process is a very slow one. For others, it can happen quite suddenly. Users may not recognize the changes that are occurring within the body, the mind, and in their social relationships during the earlier stages of addiction. Sometimes, it is only after they are fully ensnared in the trap of crack addiction, and suffering some of its most horrifying effects, that they realize that the drug has taken over their lives completely. Addicts eventually lose interest in all aspects of life that don’t involve getting the next fix, and they often hurt many people who care about them in the process of satisfying their craving for one more hit.
What is crack cocaine?
Crack cocaine is a crystallized form of cocaine that is highly destructive to the lives of its users. It is also extremely addictive. Created as a cheaper form of the drug cocaine, crack destroys the lives of its users in exchange for a fifteen minute high that is immediately followed by a steep decline in mood. This leads to intense cravings for more of the drug.
How addictive is crack cocaine?
Crack cocaine is the most addictive form of cocaine. It can be more than five times stronger than street cocaine, and because it is mixed with cheaper substances, it costs significantly less. When smoked, crack causes an immediate rush of dopamine, which produces intense feelings of brief euphoria that last from five to fifteen minutes. This high is then followed by an extreme decrease in dopamine. This causes feelings of deep depression. The user will then require the same amount of crack to achieve a lesser high, and cravings for a return to that original feeling will cause them to obsessively seek more of the drug. This is why crack users often go on binges that can last for several consecutive days, and it is also why crack has extremely high addiction potential.
How long does it take to get addicted?
Some people become addicted after trying crack one time. Others may try it several times before becoming addicts. While most people imagine addicts using every single day, this is not always the case. Some serious addicts can go for weeks without using the drug but will go on binges of using crack when it is available.
Who gets addicted to crack?
Anyone who uses crack can become addicted. There are both men and women who get addicted to this drug. There are children and adults who become addicts. Crack cocaine addiction can affect people of any socioeconomic or social background. Studies have shown that 4.9% of adults ages 18 to 28 admit to using crack at least once. Over six million adults admit to having used crack in the past year.
Harmful effects of crack cocaine
Crack cocaine has several different types of harmful effects that wreak havoc on the body, the mind, and on social relationships. People who are addicted to crack often stop caring about all other aspects of life. They may stop attending to their physical appearance; they may steal from the people they care about most; they might physically hurt people that they care about. Crack addiction is a serious medical condition that requires treatment to overcome.
Severely damages the body
Crack users suffer several different combined effects from the continued use of this drug. The loss of appetite caused by the regular use of stimulants leads to malnutrition. This weakens the immune system which increases the risk of getting an infectious disease. Because it affects the body in so many ways, crack use can cause serious physical damage to its users. Long-term crack use causes severe and sometimes permanent damage to the body’s various systems including:
- lung damage
- heart damage
- liver damage
- kidney damage
Even one-time use can have deadly consequences. Because the drug is so hard for the body to process, the body sometimes reacts in ways that can instantly lead to serious medical issues. Use of the drug greatly increases the risk of experiencing several potentially deadly immediate health emergencies, including:
- heart attacks
- respiratory failure
Hurts mental health
Users who try to break their addiction to crack cocaine often experience severe depression that can lead to suicide. Continuous daily use of the drug can lead to other effects that are detrimental to both mental and physical health, such as:
- sleep deprivation
Destroys social relationships
People who use crack cocaine often engage in socially destructive behaviors that damages relationships with family and friends. Some addicts will steal from people they love in order to get their next fix. Because cravings for the drug are so intense, getting another fix can seem more important than anything else in life while a user is coming down or withdrawing from crack.
Benefits of inpatient treatment
A person who is trying to stop using crack cocaine needs help overcoming this addiction. Attempting to quit on one’s own using sheer willpower is not sufficient to treat what is a real physical addiction. Professionals who are experienced in helping people overcome this problem understand what causes addiction, what works for treating addiction, and how to help a person rebuild their lives around healthier ways of thinking. Being around others who are also dealing with addiction problems can also be very helpful to someone attempting to overcome crack addiction.
Provides a safe environment
Crack addiction can be beaten, and seeking inpatient treatment is the best way to do that. Because the withdrawal phase may include dealing with serious medical risks along with the potential of dangerous hostility and aggression towards self or others, having the help of professionals during this phase of treatment is crucial for the safety of both the addict and his or her loved ones.
Teaches new coping skills
Inpatient treatment also helps addicts to learn new ways of coping with stressors so that returning to the same patterns that led them to addiction is less likely. Structured environments also help people who have grown accustomed to abnormal living patterns to get back on normal rhythms of eating, sleeping, and engaging in healthy physical activities.
Increases chances of success
People who have gone through inpatient programs that specialize in treating crack addiction are less likely to relapse than those who try to quit on their own. Because the effects of withdrawal can be felt for up to six months after the last use of the drug, relapse is common. However, overcoming this addiction is highly possible.
Addiction is never easy to overcome, and crack addiction is one of the most difficult. Getting help can mean the difference between life and death for someone who is addicted to crack. Inpatient treatment provides a safe, drug-free environment where a person trying to beat crack addiction can stay busy in a structured environment, and begin to heal both mentally and physically.