Table of Contents
Crack, what is it?
Crack cocaine, also just referred to as crack, is a type of cocaine that is smoked most often, although it can also be snorted. Crack creates a short, but very intense high in users. It’s often described as the most addictive type of cocaine available, and it was widely used in urban and inner-city areas in the 1980s.
Crack is still recreationally abused, and it can cause serious, harmful effects on users and crack cocaine addicts. Crack is dangerous on its own, and it’s also often mixed or “cut” with other substances which can range from other drugs to household products or chemicals. Crack use is correlated with trauma such as childhood abuse.
One study found that, even controlling for demographic factors, childhood abuse was a contributing factor in nearly 60% of crack cocaine use,” according to the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation.
What’s it like using crack?
When someone uses crack, it creates a euphoric high, and other symptoms including a false sense of self-confidence, loss of appetite, increased alertness and energy, and intense cravings for more of the drug.
Many people who use crack experience severe psychological side effects including paranoia or psychosis. Crack creates its effects by triggering a surge of dopamine into the brain. Dopamine is a brain chemical that causes feelings of happiness or euphoria. Drugs like crack flood so much of it into the brain that it’s far beyond what would normally be released, thus the high.
An addiction to crack cocaine can form after using the drug only once, and it’s such a dangerous form of cocaine. While crack abuse rates have gone down, it’s still a high-risk substance. Crack addiction rehab and treatment centers have to be specifically experienced in dealing with this type of addiction.
Crack abuse and crack addiction are unique from many other forms of substance abuse.
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When someone uses crack, even for a very short period of time, they are likely to become psychologically addicted to it. The artificially-stimulated flood of dopamine in the brain creates a reward response and triggers certain brain activities.
This reward response can lead to the brain of the person using crack to feel compelled to keep using it, in order to achieve the desired effects. This becomes a reinforcement response in the brain, which is ultimately what addiction is. Addiction changes the function and the chemical makeup of the brain.
Addressing Mental Issues Caused by Usage
Crack rehab has to address these brain changes, and also the social, psychological, and physical elements of addiction for it to be most effective. It’s not uncommon for crack to trigger certain psychological symptoms that can mimic other mental health disorders.
For example, someone may experience symptoms of bipolar disorder or mania if they use crack. Crack addiction treatment has to address these symptoms, in addition to the addiction itself.
Crack rehab will often begin with a detox program. Following detox, crack rehab can take place in an inpatient setting, or a partial hospitalization program. There are also crack outpatient programs available.
Beginning the Steps to Recovery
For most people, crack rehab is a series of steps. They begin with detox, move into inpatient treatment, and from there step down into a partial hospitalization program. Following partial hospitalization, the person may then participate in outpatient care outside of an inpatient drug rehab center, and finally, aftercare planning may include participation in a program like Narcotics Anonymous.
Drugs like crack are psychologically addictive, but also create physical dependence. Physical dependence to crack indicates that a person’s brain and body have become used to the presence of the drug to function “normally.” If the person suddenly stops using crack after a period of time, they may experience withdrawal symptoms.
During crack detox, patients can receive medical care and monitoring as the remnants of the drug leave their system. Crack detox should be focused on helping the patient be safe and comfortable during this time. Crack withdrawal symptoms that need to be managed during a medical detox can be physical and psychological.
Crack inpatient treatment is the most intensive type of rehab care. Inpatient rehab for crack addiction will typically begin with a medical detox. Once someone has fully detoxed from crack and any other substances used, they will begin the actual treatment process. Crack inpatient treatment will often include a combination of therapy modalities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and supplemental treatments to help reduce and manage stress, and re-enter daily life.
A drug rehab program offering any kind of addiction treatment should be private and confidential. Addiction treatment should also address the needs of the whole person. A person is more than their substance abuse, and it’s important to look for rehab centers and addiction treatment programs that take this into consideration.
A partial hospitalization program is somewhat in the middle between inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment. While someone might begin their crack rehab journey with partial hospitalization, what more often happens is that following residential treatment, a patient moves into partial hospitalization.
Partial hospitalization requires patients to continue participating in intensive day treatment. However, at the end of each treatment day, patients can return home.
Because of the gripping nature of crack addiction, in most cases, it’s not recommended someone participate in a PHP program until they have gained the tools and coping mechanisms of inpatient rehab. Otherwise, the freedom of being able to return home each night might contribute to the likelihood of a relapse.
Crack outpatient rehab is flexible and doesn’t require participants stay in a residential facility. Outpatient rehab can be drug education, group counseling, individual counseling or a combination. With some addictions, if a person hasn’t been experiencing addiction symptoms for a long period of time, they may begin with outpatient rehab.
With crack, this isn’t typically recommended. Crack is extremely addictive and can cause severe psychological and physical symptoms. Outpatient rehab should be something a person enters into only after first completing more intensive treatment, with regard to crack addiction.
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Many different factors play a role in selecting a crack treatment program. A few considerations include:
- Are other drugs being used simultaneously to crack? This can require intensive and specialized treatment if so.
- Has the person tried other crack treatment programs previously and relapsed?
- Does the addicted individual have co-occurring mental health disorders that need to be addressed during treatment?
- How long has the person been using crack, and will detox likely include very intense symptoms?
- Is there psychological damage from ongoing or long-term crack usage?
When someone seeks treatment for crack addiction, there are likely to be many different therapy modalities that are often combined into one program. These different forms of therapy are important to help combat the complexity of an addiction to a substance like crack.
- One form of therapy often used at a crack facility for addiction is cognitive behavioral therapy. The objective of cognitive behavioral therapy is to help retrain people to stop their negative or detrimental thoughts or behaviors.
- With cognitive behavioral therapy, patients learn how to recognize negative thoughts as they’re starting. They then learn new ways to approach life as opposed to returning to negative thought patterns and behaviors.
- Another type of therapy often introduced at a rehab facility for crack addiction is motivational interviewing. This involves helping patients stop using substances but providing positive reinforcement to show how their life will benefit without the use of drugs.
As has been touched on, it’s very frequently recommended that someone struggling with an addiction to crack seek residential treatment. Crack is a particularly dangerous and addictive drug, and it’s very difficult to break the compulsion of usage without proper treatment. Some of the benefits of residential treatment for someone who is addicted to crack include:
- The environment is very structured and supervised, which is in contrast to the environment of chaos that often surrounds the use of crack.
- Residential treatment provides a high level of emotional and physical support.
- Most residential crack treatment programs include a medical detox protocol within the same facility. This is helpful because it reduces the need to transition to a new facility following detox.
- Residential treatment facilities are better equipped to handle all of the many complex elements of crack addiction and dependence.
Help is Available for Crack Addiction
If you’re interested in learning more about crack addiction as well as available treatment options, contact Amethyst Recovery. Our team of addiction and intake specialists can help you explore the options available, whether you’re struggling with crack or your loved one is. We’re available anytime at (888) 447-7724.
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