Crack Addiction: Effects, FAQs, & Treatment

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FAQs

Crack cocaine is one of the most demonized and notorious drugs, often depicted in the media as emblematic of chronic substance abuse and severe addiction. Read on to discover what crack does to people, is crack addictive, and how to engage with evidence-based treatment for crack addiction (stimulant use disorder). 

How Addictive Is Crack?

Crack is a highly addictive variant of powdered cocaine. When cocaine hydrochloride is processed with water and baking soda, then heated and cooled into smokable rocks, it becomes even more dangerous. Crack cocaine is named for the distinct crackling sound produced during its creation.

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Crack addicts usually smoke the drug in glass pipes. Smoking crack allows the drug to reach the brain much more rapidly than snorting powdered cocaine. The high delivered by crack is intense but fleeting, lasting for no more than 15 minutes. This means that most people who use the drug are driven to repeatedly seek the initial intense sensation. Compulsive patterns of consumption are likely to trigger the development of crack addiction.

Using crack cocaine immediately impacts the brain’s dopamine system, prompting an excessive release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. This flood of dopamine induces intense feelings of pleasure and triggers a strong craving for more crack cocaine.

The dopamine release triggered by crack cocaine far surpasses the satisfaction derived from natural, healthy activities that stimulate dopamine production. Beyond this, cocaine prevents the brain from reabsorbing and breaking down dopamine, prolonging the euphoric and stimulating effects, effectively ensnaring people in a cycle of intense pleasure and craving.

A man finishes an exercise, representing Crack addiction

Effects of Taking Crack

Due to the drug’s inconsistent composition, crack side effects can vary widely from person to person. These effects include both physical and psychological manifestations, with severity escalating with increased use. Immediate side effects of crack abuse include:

  • Aggression
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Elevated heart rate 
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Rapid speech
  • Dilated pupils
  • Decreased appetite
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Nausea
  • Intense cravings for more crack
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Potential death from respiratory failure

Seeking crack indicates addiction, as people persist in pursuing the drug despite the demonstrable problems it causes. For someone addicted to crack, weighing the disadvantages against benefits and discontinuing the habit rationally becomes challenging. Addiction is characterized by compulsive substance use regardless of adverse outcomes. Those addicted to crack may either deny the drug’s role in their issues vehemently or find themselves powerless to act against their intense cravings.

The prolonged misuse of crack can result in severe, lasting consequences. Chronic abuse of crack cocaine inflicts damage on many vital organs, including the liver, kidneys, and heart. Those who abuse crack are also at heightened risk of infections due to compromised immune function. Long-term crack abuse presents dangers that include:

  • Depression
  • Permanent impairment of blood vessels
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Liver damage
  • Lung damage
  • Formation of abscesses
  • Malnutrition
  • Severe dental decay
  • Reproductive harm and infertility
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Kidney failure
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Fatality

FAQs

What does crack do to people?

Crack cocaine stimulates the central nervous system, triggering intense euphoria, increased alertness, and heightened energy. Crack use is also associated with dangerous physical and psychological effects, from aggressive behavior and paranoia to severe health issues.

What are the main crack drug effects?

The main effects of crack include hyperstimulation, immediate euphoria, decreased appetite, and increased blood pressure and heart rate. Long-term use of crack can cause respiratory problems, heart issues, stroke, mental health disorders, and addiction in the form of stimulant use disorder.

Why is crack so addictive?

Crack is highly addictive due to the intense and near-instant effects it delivers, stemming from the way that it strongly stimulates reward pathways in the brain. This leads to a compulsive cycle of use as people chase the initial high, rapidly developing tolerance and physical dependence.

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Get Treatment for Crack Addiction at California Detox

Whether you are addicted to crack or cocaine, we can help you break any abusive patterns of substance use at California Detox.

Begin your addiction recovery with supervised detoxification at our rehab in Laguna Beach, CA. Crack withdrawal is primarily psychological rather than physical, so you can access emotional support as well as clinical care during detox. After a week or so, you can move into ongoing residential treatment.

Our inpatient program allows you to focus on tackling the psychological aspect of crack cocaine addiction without being distracted or triggered. Expect to engage with targeted treatments that include:

Call 949.694.8305 today and start combating crack addiction right away.

FAQs

Crack cocaine stimulates the central nervous system, triggering intense euphoria, increased alertness, and heightened energy. Crack use is also associated with dangerous physical and psychological effects, from aggressive behavior and paranoia to severe health issues.
The main effects of crack include hyperstimulation, immediate euphoria, decreased appetite, and increased blood pressure and heart rate. Long-term use of crack can cause respiratory problems, heart issues, stroke, mental health disorders, and addiction in the form of stimulant use disorder.

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