Crack is the crystal form of cocaine and is considered to be one of the most vilified and notorious drugs abused in the United States today. While it’s popularity even reached movies and TV depictions, being addicted to such drugs can lead to serious and life-threatening problems. That is why recognizing the warning signs and dangerous symptoms of crack addiction is a must.
What is Crack?
Also known as crack cocaine, is a drug that is derived from cocaine. For those who are not familiar with crack, it is basically a rock or crystalline form of cocaine and is usually consumed by smoking. It is more potent when compared to cocaine and it can be very addicting. Crack can cause immediate “high” and can deeply affect the chemical structures of the brain. How is crack formed? By mixing water to cocaine, and adding ammonia or baking soda to the mixture. This mixture is then heated to create the freebase form of crack.
The named “crack” was taken from the crackling noise that this drug produces when it is being smoked. The term “crack cocaine” on the other hand is a street name but it is also called by its other names like Sugar Block, Base, Kryptonite, Rock, Hard Rock and Apple Jack. Other street names of crack include:
- Jelly Beans
Crack can be smoked with marijuana, heroin, or tobacco. It is usually smoked through a glass pipe. Drug production for crack is usually unregulated and the forms can vary within every batch. It can be seen as an off-white, yellowish, white crystal that can be broken into smaller pieces. Each crystal can weigh about a tenth of a gram but users who are addicted to crack usually consume more than that.
Signs of Crack Abuse
There is a myriad of tell-tale signs of abuse. In fact, you will notice them right away as crack abusers exhibit an excessive burst of energy and stimulation. They get overly excited and are usually talking rapidly or consuming food at a fast rate. They can also appear as nervously agitated and often times when the drug wears off, they experience great fatigue and can fall asleep at any time.
The drastic changes in energy among addicts can cause extreme exhaustion. This plays a major impact on their daily lives as well. As a result of these changes, users suffer from unpredictable mood swings, violence, fatigue, and irritability causing them to be hostile towards other people especially to those who are trying to help or stop them. Here are some of the classic signs and symptoms you should watch out for:
- Difficulty in controlling usage of crack. User usually takes more than intended amount.
- Experiences withdrawal symptoms once they stop using.
- Spends more money on the drug or trying to acquire it.
- Craves even after using.
- Continues to use crack even after experiencing personal and health problems.
- Develops risky behaviors like using crack while driving.
- Loss of interest in work and other responsibilities.
- Neglects physical appearance and personal hygiene.
A crack user who chooses to stop using this drug for a while can be at risk for severe depression and suicidal thoughts. However, using it for a long time can also lead to hallucinations and paranoia. Keep in mind that this drug can alter the chemicals in the brain so prolonged use can eventually put a strain on the drug addict’s mental health. Worse, it can even lead to crack overdose and death.
Long-term Consequences of Crack Addiction
There are many debilitating effects of long-term abuse. Physically, it can compromise your heart, reproductive organs, blood vessels, nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, brain, and lungs. Not only that, but crack abuse can also destroy a person’s personal relationships and finances. Here are some of the moderate to severe consequences of crack addiction:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and stomach ulcers
- Lack of appetite that could lead to malnutrition
- Reduced impulse control
- Increased risk of heart attack, stroke and even seizures
- Extreme paranoia
- Impaired memory
- Psychosis or delirium
- Overdose and death
Since most users have impaired judgment and cannot make sound decisions, they are also at risk for:
- Engaging in risky sexual behaviors
- Risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases like Hepatitis C or HIV
Treatment for Addiction
Like any other illicit drug abused, a person who is addicted to crack needs immediate treatment. In fact, anyone can get access to treatment and medical detox if they decide to recover from it. Before rehab, the patient must undergo detoxing first. The process of withdrawal from crack must be carried out in a hospital setting or a facility that specializes in detoxing. This way the user’s vital signs are monitored and medications are administered properly. Keep in mind that withdrawal from drugs can be a very stressful and painful process as the body struggles to function without the drug. Patients can experience distressing symptoms like muscle pain, fever, diarrhea, and even depression. Suicidal tendencies are also common during withdrawal, which is why it is important that health care professionals are present during this period.
Once detox is done, rehabilitation is usually needed and behavioral therapy is often given to a drug addict to help them recover from such addiction.Final Thoughts
Crack is more potent than cocaine and is often one of the leading causes of drug overdoses in the United States. That being said, it is best to stay away from it and get the help you need. If you or someone you know is suffering from crack addiction, it is best to seek help right away. Addiction does not only destroy a person’s physical appearance, but it can also destroy one from the inside as well. Seek help if your addiction is getting worse and save your life before you lose it.