Crack is the most potent form of cocaine that exists, and it gives the most intense feelings of euphoria, resulting in many cases of addiction. Crack cocaine is a freebase form of the popular drug, cocaine and according to the Manual of Adolescent Substance Abuse, it is the most addictive form of cocaine there is. When it is heated for smoking, it creates a cracking sound; hence the name, “crack”.
When a person uses crack, they feel a sense of euphoria, confidence, cravings for more, a loss of appetite, alertness and insomnia. Initially, the drug causes a large amount of dopamine to be released in the brain, which usually last only a few minutes. Once this initial high from the dopamine passes, the user is overcome with a severe depressed feeling or “low,” which prompts the user to take more.
The drug looks like whitish rocks and is known by many names including work, rocks, hard, cavvy, base and most commonly, crack.
Due to the common effect of insomnia associated with crack cocaine, people who abuse the drug often spend large periods of time sleeping in order to recover from their use. Even during the “high,” people often feel paranoia and anxiety, which can persist after use.
Additional signs include, having little or no money for anything else due to their funds going towards the acquisition of crack. People will become withdrawn and avoid spending time with their friends and family. Criminal activity is common due to the severe cravings people experience. Drug paraphernalia will usually be found lying around when a person is abusing crack, and there will be changes in their attitude due to the overwhelming urge to constantly find more crack.
Once a dependency has formed, it can be very difficult for an addict to quit on their own. The biggest driving force in a person who is abusing crack, is to obtain more of it. There are many symptoms that are correlated to crack addiction and include the following:
As with other stimulants, the physical symptoms of withdrawal may not be very severe but due to the severe psychological symptoms, it can be dangerous. One of the biggest concerns is that the person might develop suicidal thoughts and/or intentions. Additionally, a person trying to detox by themselves will find it exceptionally difficult to stop due to the intense cravings that they feel.
Crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms include a chronic fatigue, paranoia, anxiety and depression. People often struggle with sleep and when they do manage to fall asleep they have intense nightmares. People who experience withdrawal symptoms are advised to be under supervision to avoid health complications and relapsing.
In a survey done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it was discovered that among people aged between 18 and 25 around 1.6% have done crack in their lifetime and 4.3% in people over the age of 26. Helping those that have become hopelessly addicted to this harmful substance is possible through treatment programs that aim their efforts towards behavioral modification through the use of methods such as, Motivational Incentives – a method in which people are motivated to change their behavior through rewards and positive reinforcement.
Additionally, there has been success in treating the addiction through the use of disulfiram – a medication used in alcoholism. A combination of medications and behavioral therapy often achieves the best results. Through treatment, a person can learn to live a healthy life again and cope with the cravings that they experience that once led them to abuse drugs.
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