Ever since it first appeared on the scene in the 1980s, crack cocaine has been a nationwide epidemic due, for the most part, to the speed with which an individual that consumes crack cocaine can become dependent. Whether or not crack is a physically addictive substance in the way that opiates are addictive has been hotly debated and is the subject of much contention among addiction and substance abuse professionals; however, smoking the freebase form of cocaine, which has been called “crack” due to the popping noise it makes when smoked, gives users an intense, short-lived high that’s followed by an equally intense low during which the individual will immediately begin to crave more crack in order to sustain the high. This is one of the characteristics of the abuse of crack cocaine that makes it so dangerous; the “crash” leads to powerful cravings for more of the drug, causing users to go to great lengths in order to procure more of the drug.

With the crack epidemic still being a concern nationwide, it’s important for individuals to be educated in the effects and dangers of smoking crack as well as how to recover from dependence to crack cocaine. It’s a drug that can create powerful urges that can take hold of users on a profound level, causing them to put themselves in danger not on due to the actual drug consumption, but also due to the situations those who smoke crack put themselves into in order to obtain more of the drug. Here are some of the dangers of smoking crack and how individuals who have an addiction or dependence on crack cocaine can regain their sobriety through programs at Ocean Breeze Recovery.

crack cocaine

Psychological Dependence to Crack Cocaine

A trait that’s unique to crack cocaine relative to other types of drugs like opiates and hallucinogens is that it’s not typically considered physically addictive. A smokable form of the stimulant cocaine, the addiction experienced by individuals who smoke crack experience isn’t a physical dependence to the drug, but rather a psychological addiction due to the drug’s ability to provide an intense high.

Studies have actually found that only between 10 and 20 percent of individuals who smoke crack regularly can be considered addicted; the low rate of crack addiction is due to the majority of users have other activities in which they can engage that provide them with pleasure, whether that entails a preference for some other substance or a more healthy, productive activity that doesn’t involve substance abuse. In fact, this is thought to be why smoking crack became most common in impoverished urban areas where individuals couldn’t afford or had no access to other means of pleasure and purpose.

However, since crack cocaine isn’t considered physically addictive, individuals who attend an addiction treatment program for the abuse of crack cocaine are generally able to skip the detox period since there are no physical withdrawal symptoms when an individual suddenly ceases their crack consumption. Instead of a detox phase, many times individuals who have entered treatment for crack abuse will sleep for several days since smoking crack often leads to “binges” where the crack will keep them from sleeping for several consecutive days. On the other hand, relapse tends to be most common among addicts who have recovered from dependence on crack cocaine since the drug has such an intense effect on the brain and an individual’s psychology.

smoking crack

Effects of Smoking Crack Cocaine

Since crack is the freebase form of cocaine, smoking crack produces many of the effects for which cocaine is known, but in shorter and more intense bursts. As a stimulant, crack cocaine increases the user’s heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and causes contracted blood vessels throughout the body. Immediately upon smoking crack, the user will experience a marked increase in alertness that diminishes any need for sleep for quite some time after consumption as well as a loss of appetite, occasionally erratic or bizarre behavior, paranoia and anxiety, hyperexcitability, and an increased rate of breathing. Visually, individuals who have just smoked crack will have large, dilated pupils and will oftentimes be sweating due to increased body temperature.

There are also a number of long-term effects that smoking crack has been known to cause. Due to its strong effect on blood pressure and heart rate, individuals who smoke crack are at increased risk of damage to the blood vessels throughout the body, but particularly those in the brain and ears, which can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and even death. Smoking crack cocaine has also caused damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs while putting individuals at risk for conditions like sexual dysfunction or damage to reproductive organs, malnutrition, respiratory failure, severe tooth decay, depression and other mood disturbances, disorientation, severe chest pains, hallucinations and psychosis, and much more.

crack cocaine

Getting Help for Crack Dependence at Ocean Breeze Recovery

Since there are no physical withdrawal symptoms that occur during treatment for crack addiction, many individuals have attempted to kick the addiction on their own without the help of a rehabilitation program; however, as crack cocaine is an intense drug with intense effects, the most success will be had by participating in a more intensive recovery program. An inpatient or residential treatment program that removes the individual from circumstances that allowed the addiction to develop and flourish is an important part of the process of recovery, allowing an individual to concentrate on their rehabilitation without temptation to relapse. During this time, individuals will receive an addiction education with which they can identify their addiction triggers so those triggers can be avoided once they return home after completion of the inpatient program.

Treatment programs are a great ways for recovering addicts to foster a sense of fellowship and community with other individuals in recovery. The community of individuals in recovery is a key component to treatment of crack addiction as it provides a strong, extensive support network throughout the recovery process. There are also a number of 12-step and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), which provide individuals with a network of other experienced recovered addicts who can help those individuals in the process of rehabilitation come to terms with their addiction, work to overcome it, and sustain their sobriety.

If you or a loved one is addicted to crack cocaine or some other substance, contact us at Ocean Breeze Recovery today. Overcoming crack addictions is not easy, but we can provide the tools needed to get clean and remain sober through treatment, aftercare, and beyond.

9 Responses

  1. Jesse parson February 25, 2017

    I need help with addiction

    • Christian Witte February 27, 2017

      Hi Jesse,

      Could you please give us a call at 855-960-5341? One of our admission reps would be happy to talk to you and discuss your options.

  2. Mad dog March 24, 2017

    Just wondering you mention addiction education to help you identify triggers so when you leave you know what to stay away from.. so if your a alcoholic you should just stay home and never leave your house since there’s triggers everywhere for that right…
    Also if your AA based you should now that triggers are only there in the beginning if you leave treatment and still have triggers that means your obsession is still there.

    The whole point of AA is to get to meetings get a sponsor have your sponsor take you through the steps have a spiritual experience get connected with GOD or a higher power of your understanding and that one is God MAY YOU FIND HIM NOW. once your higher power is in your heart there’s no room for fear you higher power will REMOVE the obsession to use drugs you will recover from a hopeless state of body and mind. Dose not me and cured. Removed meaning non exiting meaning not there meaning no such thing as triggers once you do the steps you should not have to walk around with a list in your pockets people remember once connected with your higher power and you go through 12 steps get t9 meeting and start finding new guys to grip and take them through the steps if your helping others being completely selfless your not in your own head the worst place to be…

  3. Teresa March 30, 2017

    Have a husband been on drugs crack for 10 years stops 4 to 5 days does it again looses jobs. Have lost cars tv’s game systems etc I’m done

  4. Tina Louise April 13, 2017

    I have had a problem with crack smoking for the last 14 years and it is destroying my life,especially my financial situation, I can’t afford to go to rehab so all I need is for a trusted friend,or family member to look after my money and only allow me a certain amount each day, I waste ALL my money on this shit every week and I’m tired of being skint from it and feeling so guilty and depressed about it the next day.. I don’t wanna lose my kids or my loving husband as they are all aware wot I do yet don’t try to help me or stop me despite me asking for their help and managing my money for Mr so I can’t just waste it all on this horrid drug.I love the high,orgasmic intense rush it gives me and that is why I want some each time I get paid every week,I can go without it wen I’m skint but I have borrowed money from some friends to get crack and then I owe out money to them which skints me out even more. TBH I am fed up of this perpetual habit and I just need a little bit of tough love and help with my money I get each week so I can’t just think,”oh its Friday, payday,must “treat” myself to a smoke,how can I break free of this mindset and find the inner strength to stop these thoughts and urges? I have zero willpower so its gonna be really difficult to change a habit of over 15 years.

  5. Ronnell stewart May 14, 2017

    Im a navy vet with medical benefits and medicaid. The VA takes months to get u i to rehab and no rehab wont help or take me because i got the VA. I need help. Now. Im hurting everybody who love me.

    • Christian Witte May 18, 2017

      Hi Ronnell,
      Can you give us a call at 855-960-5341 so one of our representatives can help you out?

  6. Robert June 4, 2017

    I’ve been smoking crack for 30 years sometimes I think there’s no help for me . lately I’ve been worse than ever. my family wishes I was dead. I’m broke I have no insurance.

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