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Crack Addiction Treatment: Everything you Need to Know

Crack cocaine addiction is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that requires professional treatment. The goal of treatment for crack cocaine addiction is to help the individual overcome their addiction and achieve long-term recovery. Though the journey can be troublesome, with holistic treatments and support, it is possible to beat an addiction to crack and live a healthy, substance-free life. If you or someone you know is struggling with a crack cocaine addiction, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Keep reading to learn about Crack Addiction Treatment.

What is Crack?

Crack cocaine, commonly referred to as crack, or “rock”, is as crystal form of cocaine that can be smoked.

Crack is highly addictive because it causes a rapid and intense release of the brain chemical dopamine, which is associated with pleasure and reward. This surge of dopamine produced by crack cocaine leads to an intense feeling of euphoria and a sense of well-being, which can be very reinforcing.

The brain is hardwired to seek out pleasurable experiences and to repeat behaviors that lead to pleasure. When a person uses crack, the drug activates the brain’s reward system and causes the release of dopamine, which creates a feeling of pleasure. Though initially, it may feel like we are able to take control of ourselves, it is important to remember that it is our brain that guides us. If you meddle with the brain, it will eventually feel the need to have its chemical again and again. Therefore,  Over time, the brain becomes accustomed to this increased level of dopamine and may begin to function less effectively without it. This can lead to physical dependence on the drug. This is how crack can become highly addictive.

Crack vs Cocaine

Crack, also typically referred to as rock, is a drug that is created by a plant named coca. Cocaine and crack are pharmacologically identical and crack is classified under cocaine. The only difference between the two is that cocaine is available in powdered form while crack comes in crystal form. The powdered form of cocaine is taken in three ways:

  • Nose
  • In veins through a syringe
  • Rubbing in gums
  • Via smoking

On the other hand, cocaine is smoked. This does not indicate that it is in any way less dangerous. In fact, crack is the most potent and harmful form of cocaine. The risk of overdosing on cocaine is Unlike opioids, there is currently no medication to immediately reverse cocaine overdose, making it extremely life-threatening. 

What Makes Crack Harmful?

Because crack is an illicit drug, the procedure of production of crack is also highly unreliable. It may be mixed with other life-threatening illicit drugs, such as fentanyl, for the purpose of increasing the quantity. These substances render it more dangerous due to the reason that users are unaware of the amount of drugs they are taking, thereby becoming more at risk of overdose. The drugs mixed with crack to increase its amount are called “fillers.” 

Since the effects of crack are stronger and last for only 15 minutes, addicts are compelled to smoke it again and again in an unsuccessful attempt to relive the excitement of the experience.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Cocaine

The intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms that can occur when a person tries to stop using crack cocaine can also contribute to its addictive potential. Withdrawal symptoms are physical and psychological symptoms that can occur when a person is physically dependent on a substance. These symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Sadness or GAD
  • Constant drowsiness or fatigue.
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating. 

Withdrawal symptoms can be very difficult to manage, which can make it difficult for people to stop using the drug even if they want to.

Potential Side Effects of Crack Consumption

Using crack cocaine can cause a range of short-term and long-term health effects. Some common side effects of crack cocaine use include:

Short-term effects of crack

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Extremely pleasurable sensations
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Increased alertness and energy
  • Aggression and irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia

Long-term effects of crack cocaine use can include:

  • Weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Severe dental problems
  • Chronic bronchitis and other respiratory problems
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Seizures
  • Mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and psychosis

Using crack cocaine can also increase the risk of HIV and hepatitis infection if the drug is injected. It is important to seek help as soon as possible if you or someone you know is struggling with a crack cocaine addiction.

Crack Addiction Treatment Options

Due to the severity of addiction, currently, dealing with cocaine addiction alone can be quite challenging. However, since it is a dangerous drug, this necessitates the importance of undergoing professional help. 

Treatment for crack cocaine addiction typically involves a blend of treatments including therapy, and support from loved ones. Some common treatment approaches for crack addiction include.

Therapeutic Interventions

Therapy and counseling remain very effective for all types of addictions. Usually they are coupled with other treatments as well. The following are some of the therapies that your counselor may adopt for you:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

This type of therapy helps people identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their addiction. CBT can be an effective treatment for crack cocaine addiction because it helps people develop the skills they need to manage their addiction and make positive changes in their lives. It can also be helpful in addressing any underlying mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, that may be contributing to the addiction.

Contingency management

This treatment approach rewards people for positive behaviors, such as staying drug-free or attending therapy sessions. Contingency management can be an effective treatment for crack cocaine addiction because it provides a tangible reward for positive behaviors. It can be particularly useful for people who are struggling with strong cravings or who have difficulty staying motivated in treatment.

Motivational interviewing

This therapy helps people identify their own motivations for change and provides support and guidance as they work towards recovery.

Medication

Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications to address cocaine addiction, even though researchers are trying to find certain options to treat it. Some medications, such as baclofen and disulfiram, have been shown to be effective in reducing crack cocaine use and cravings in the clinical trials.

Support groups: Support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous, can provide a sense of community and support for people in recovery.

It is important to find a treatment program that is tailored to the individual’s needs. Some people may benefit from an inpatient treatment program, where they can receive round-the-clock care in a structured environment. Others may prefer an outpatient program, which allows them to live at home while receiving treatment.

No single treatment approach is right for everyone, and the most effective treatment plan may involve a combination of different approaches. It is imperative to undergo treatment from a qualified addiction treatment professional in order to efficiently cope with crack addiction.

Inpatient Treatment for Crack Addiction

Inpatient treatment for crack cocaine addiction involves living at a treatment facility while receiving round-the-clock care. This type of treatment is often recommended for people who have a severe addiction or who have struggled to overcome their addiction in an outpatient setting. Inpatient treatment can provide a structured, supportive environment that is free from the distractions and triggers that can lead to relapse.

During inpatient treatment, people with crack cocaine addiction typically participate in a variety of therapies and activities designed to support their recovery. These may include individual and group therapy, recreational activities, and other holistic treatments. The length of inpatient treatment can vary depending on the individual’s needs, but it is generally a more intensive level of care than outpatient treatment.

Outpatient Treatment for Crack Addiction

Outpatient treatment for crack cocaine addiction involves attending treatment sessions at a treatment facility while living at home. This type of treatment is often recommended for people who have a less severe addiction or who have a supportive home environment. Outpatient treatment can be a good option for people who have obligations such as work or school that they cannot leave for an extended period of time.

Outpatient treatment typically involves participating in individual or group therapy sessions and may also include medication management and other recovery support services. The frequency and duration of outpatient treatment can vary depending on the individual’s needs and progress in recovery.

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment can be effective in helping people overcome crack cocaine addiction. The most appropriate level of care will depend on the individual’s needs and circumstances. It is important to work with a qualified addiction treatment professional to determine the best treatment plan for your specific needs.

Crack Addiction Treatment Takeaway

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for crack addiction, as the best approach will vary depending on the individual’s needs and circumstances. However, there are several evidence-based treatments that have been shown to be effective in helping people overcome crack addiction and achieve long-term recovery. It is important to note that recovery from crack addiction is a process that often requires ongoing support and treatment. In many cases, a combination of different approaches will be the most effective in helping individuals achieve and maintain long-term recovery.

Find mental health professionals that treat drug addiction here

Jordyn Mastrodomenico LPC, LCADC CTP
Author: Jordyn Mastrodomenico LPC, LCADC CTP

Jordyn is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) and Certified Trauma Professional (CTP). She holds a Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling, from Caldwell University, Jordyn has extensive experience in Outpatient and Intensive Outpatient settings and is skilled at guiding clients through the recovery process in individual and group therapy sessions.

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Need Help? Explore Online Therapy Options

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