Crack Addiction

Treatment For Crack Withdrawal and Addiction in South Carolina

Crack cocaine is a highly addictive drug. In fact, addiction can develop after just one use, especially when the brain develops a biochemical dependency on it. The drug then impairs the brain’s ability to make rational decisions about controlled use because of the intensely euphoric effects of crack. This is why those with a crack addiction often continue to use this drug even when it has undeniable harmful effects on their life, like being arrested, losing jobs, or damaging important personal relationships.

An initial resolve to quit can be quickly overcome when an addict undergoes the intense cravings common to withdrawal. It is nearly impossible to overcome addiction alone. With medical help and peer support, those with an addiction to crack can achieve long-term sobriety plus a healthy foundation to commit to better decisions each day.

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What Is Crack Cocaine?

Crack is an addictive stimulant drug that speeds up the body’s systems. In short, it’s the solid form of cocaine, made by combining powdered cocaine with water and, typically, baking soda. After boiling and cooling this mixture, it can be cracked off into pieces to sell for distribution.

What Does Crack Look Like?

Crack looks like a crystallized rock that may be white, cream, tan, or light brown in color. The color may change depending upon the additives. Often, those who buy crack aren’t aware of the other substances mixed into this kind of drug. Additives may include Ritalin and lidocaine.

What Does Crack Feel Like?

Smoking crack leads to an almost instantaneous feeling of euphoria. While there are other ways to consume crack, smoking crack is typically how people use it. When people try smoking crack, the effects of crack happen in a minute or under and peak at five minutes at most. The effects of crack cocaine in total only last 30 minutes to an hour.

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The Effects of Crack Use

While the effects of crack are short-lived, they are intense and make individuals want to binge it. This can lead to greater crashes and addiction. The short-term effects of this drug may be pleasurable at first but can cause a slew of physical and emotional repercussions in the long-term as well as shortly after it wears off.

Short-Term Effects of Crack

  • Euphoria
  • Increased alertness
  • Less of an appetite
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Cravings

Long-Term Effects of Crack

  • Restlessness
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

What is Crack Withdrawal?

A withdrawal refers to the symptoms individuals feel after they cut down or completely abstain from a substance that they have a dependence on. Thus, crack withdrawal occurs when people are chemically dependent upon crack and try to stop or use less of it. In turn, this causes both physical and emotional consequences.

A crack withdrawal can be extremely intense, especially because of the vicious cycle of binging crack and then crashing. However, addiction recovery centers can help individuals avoid the worst of crack withdrawal symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Crack Withdrawal

While on crack, people may feel euphoric, intensely focused, or exceedingly confident. As soon as the high wanes, feelings of overwhelming sadness, anxiety, and restlessness can appear, and users quickly turn to another dose of crack to regain the pleasurable feelings of a high. Behind this emotional cycle is a physical change, as the brain is rewired to depend upon crack cocaine in order to experience pleasure.

When individuals quit using crack cocaine, they won’t typically experience many of the physical symptoms associated with alcohol or drug withdrawal. However, the psychological crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms are just as real and difficult to overcome.

Short-Term Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Exhaustion
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to concentrate

Long-Term Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Ongoing cravings
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Unpredictable emotional outbursts
  • Inability to feel pleasure outside of crack use

Acute (short-term) symptoms of a crack cocaine withdrawal can occur almost immediately. Those with a long history of abuse or deeper dependency on crack cocaine may push past these acute symptoms only to run into post-acute withdrawal symptoms, also known as PAWS, three to six months down the road. Each person is unique in their drug history, metabolism, and level of dependency, but withdrawal symptoms may persist for months, a year, or even more.

Can You Overdose On Crack?

A common misconception is that the shorter half-life of crack reduces the chance of overdose. This is a dangerously false belief, as users can fatally overdose on crack. There is one true answer to the question, can you overdose on crack? It’s a resounding yes.

Overdose may occur when smoking crack in excess or when a person swallows crack cocaine in an attempt to avoid arrest. There is no official regulation of illegal drugs, so crack can vary greatly in its purity and potency. Those who consume it may not know the strength of dosage and unknowingly smoke much more than usual. Combining crack with other drugs can also increase the potency and likelihood of overdose.

Physical Symptoms of a Crack Overdose

  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Fainting
  • Itching
  • Diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors or convulsions
  • Heart attack and cardiac arrest
  • Severe headaches
  • Clammy skin
  • Cold sweats
  • Stroke
  • Coma
  • Death

Psychological Symptoms of a Crack Overdose

  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hallucinations
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Homicidal or suicidal behavior

How to Get Off Crack Through Treatment

Overcoming a biochemical dependency and adjusting to life and society without the use of crack can take a long time. Some may believe that returning to normalcy can only be achieved through inpatient care. However, The Owl’s Nest provides various levels of outpatient care to help people overcome an addiction to crack cocaine.

Each program may include forms of holistic and talk therapy. Patients will participate in both individual and group therapies to reap the full benefits. Therapy will be accompanied by participation in the 12 step program to help patients regain their strength through accountability and spirituality. Additionally, the Owl’s Nest gives patients a safe place to recover if they need it through supportive housing. The following outpatient programs can show patients how to get off crack.

Outpatient Programs (OPs)

Outpatient programs for crack addiction let individuals live at home while showing them how to get off crack in the long term. General outpatient programs (OPs) only require a few hours a week of treatment via therapy. A program like this would only be appropriate for individuals who have completed a partial hospitalization program or an intensive outpatient program.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)

PHPs involve the most time commitment, which makes it best for those just starting on their journey to recovery. Patients will spend time in various forms of therapy and medical care five days a week, for a minimum of eight hours per day. Those in a PHP will have a case manager and meet with medical professionals to make sure they are working toward their goals safely.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)

IOPs are a step down from PHPs in terms of time commitment and intensity. Individuals interested in an IOP should expect to commit multiple hours a week, three to five times a week to various therapies. This allows individuals to receive the care they need, but still allows them to retain responsibilities outside of treatment.

The Owl’s Nest Can Help You Overcome Crack Withdrawal Symptoms and Addiction

Without long-term professional support and new relationships away from the environment of drug use, it can be nearly impossible to overcome the intense psychological challenges associated with crack addiction. Luckily, The Owl’s Nest shows individuals how to get off crack through effective treatment and individualized care. Contact us now if you or a loved one needs help overcoming a crack addiction in Florence, SC.

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