Crack Addiction: Definition, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Under the influence of cocaine, you may feel more energetic, confident, and daring. Cocaine abuse causes several major changes in your brain chemistry. Medical detox is available at both the inpatient and outpatient levels. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The mission of Northeast Addictions Treatment Center is to provide the best continuum of care for not only adult men and women struggling with addiction, but also their families.

Like other stimulants, crack withdrawal symptoms start appearing within the first 24 hours. In general, symptoms reach their peak within 7 to 10 days of discontinuation, and then steadily decline thereafter. Medical professionals advise against the cold turkey detox method, particularly at home.

  1. Additional long-term complications of crack are much more extensive and will depend on several factors, such as the duration and intensity of use.
  2. Patients in medical detox are monitored by doctors around the clock and receive treatment for any uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms that may arise.
  3. If you or your loved one is battling crack abuse or addiction and has decided to stop crack use, consult a medical professional to help start the process.
  4. If your preferred method of crack abuse is smoking or injecting cocaine, you can expect withdrawal to take more time.

While cold turkey detoxing at home is an option, it is not recommended. Crack is highly addictive and there are complications that can occur during withdrawal. Identify the people, places, or feelings that tend to trigger cravings for crack. Develop strategies to avoid or manage these triggers, even if it means changing your social circle or routines temporarily.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Ongoing therapy or counseling provides support during challenges and helps you develop long-term coping mechanisms. Withdrawal is a challenging but temporary phase in overcoming crack addiction. The real work of maintaining long-term sobriety requires sustained effort and a toolbox of strategies.

If someone in your life has a crack addiction, it’s important to support them and help them find evidence-based treatment that works for them, Dr. Tetrault says. Participants must quit cold turkey and complete the detox/withdrawal process before their addiction recovery program can begin. Medication may also be prescribed to address some of the different side-effects of cocaine withdrawal like anxiety, sleeplessness, or high blood pressure. But the most significant effect is how cocaine use changes people’s brains, setting the stage for cocaine addiction (cocaine use disorder).

Prescription sleep aids such as Trazodone and Seroquel are sometimes used to help with insomnia during cocaine or crack detox. However, it is showing potential for treatment as it also blocks the euphoric effects of cocaine. Contingency management is another effective treatment for addiction and is based on a reward system.

Cocaine (Crack)

The treatment process often begins with detox, where the person is not allowed to consume crack and may experience severe withdrawal symptoms as a result. If you wish to recover from cocaine use disorder, you likely have to work through dependence and the physical and mental withdrawal symptoms that can occur after you stop using. However, smoking crack cocaine is an especially risky form of drug abuse even when compared to using powdered cocaine. If you suddenly stop or slow down, you may experience a crash followed by unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is different for everyone and may depend on how much you used, how often you used, and your physical and mental health.

Cocaine causes your brain to release elevated levels of certain brain chemicals. Once detox is over, the intensity of your cravings should drop a little. Your sleep patterns should be a bit more stable, and you should have more energy. Unfortunately, your brain will adapt to these changes in brain chemistry.

Ways to Build a Life After Crack Addiction

Mindfulness or meditation practices also help increase awareness of your feelings and triggers, allowing you to respond healthily. If you’re finding it hard to cope by yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reaching out for support shows your strength and commitment to recovery. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 5 million Americans use cocaine. Cocaine overdose deaths have been increasing since 2012, and in 2019, cocaine caused one in five overdose deaths in the United States.

Eliminating an addiction to crack consists of multiple stages of rehab that target the physical, psychological, and emotional causes of addiction. This requires an individual to stop taking crack, and is best done through medically supervised detox. To ensure the safest detox environment possible, it’s recommended to undergo this stage of rehab in a hospital or similar medical facility. The liberty cap locations Recovery Village has locations throughout the country with trained staff available to assist clients through the detox process. While The Recovery Village may have a treatment center in your area, there are many resources available in every state. When this happens, a person is more likely to overdose because their body is no longer used to the drug or the amount they took before detox.

Crack use is extremely addictive and can lead to severe psychological and physical dependence. They offer both in-person and online meetings and recovery programs. LifeRing’s website states that the organization is dedicated to providing a safe meeting space where people can experience a nonjudgmental recovery conversation with their peers. LifeRing is a secular recovery organization that aims to help people share practical experiences and access sobriety support.

Crack addiction is a serious illness, and attempting to tackle it without medical assistance can be dangerous. Due to crack’s effects on the body and mind, as well as the severe withdrawal symptoms that can occur when quitting the drug, it is very difficult to forgo treatment. Some people undergoing crack withdrawal will experience severe effects, while others may not experience as many symptoms. Much of this depends on how much a person was taking and how often they were taking it.

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