What Are the Dangers of Crack Use and How Do You Prevent Them?
Crack cocaine first appeared in the 1980s, offering and a more intense high than cocaine. Through the mixing of cocaine with water, baking soda and ammonia, cocaine crystals form. When these crystals are then smoked, it produces a “cracking” sound, which is where the name originates. Just like cocaine, there are several dangers of crack use that we will explore in this article.
While crack cocaine use has remained relatively the same in the last decade, as many as 646,000 people over the age of 26 were current users of the drug in 2016, according the National Survey on Drug use and Health. The most common way that the drug is delivered to the brain is through smoking. However, it is also snorted and injected in some cases. Smoking it tends to produce a more intense high that sets in very quickly. An average dose usually last for around 5 to 30 minutes depending on method of delivery.
Dangers of Crack Use
From the short-lived high, various dangers of crack use occur. The crack cocaine effects start with the short-term dangers and can cause long-terms dangers too if the abuse of the drug continues.
The following highlights some of the most notable dangers of crack use.
Short-Term Dangers of Crack Use
There is flip-side to using crack; the short high is followed quickly by paranoia and depression. Crack cocaine is often cut and its purity can vary greatly, which means that each dose may have different effects. In general, the short-term crack cocaine effects that occur as the user abuses the drug include the following:
- Dilated pupils
- An excited state
- An intense euphoric sensation
- Elevated heart rate
- Decreased appetite
- An increase in alertness
- Sudden onset of cravings for more crack cocaine as the “rush” fades
The paranoia that often sets in as the crack cocaine effects wear off can lead to a state of aggressive behavior and unprovoked physical attacks. This can be result of them falsely believing that an intruder is trying to enter the house or a number of other paranoid beliefs.
As the effects of the drug wear off, the person will start to feel the backlash of their actions, which manifest as the following effects:
- The possibility of a stroke or heart attack
- Abdominal pain
Long-Term Dangers of Crack Use
The more frequent the abuse of crack, and the higher the dosage that is taken, the greater the risks and long-term effects are. Some of the most notable long-term effects of crack abuse include the following:
- Tolerance, which can increase the risk of taking too much and overdosing
- Intense withdrawal symptoms as the body adjust to the abuse of crack
- Mood disorders
- Paranoid delusions
- Addiction and dependence
- Hallucinations as a part of psychotic symptoms
Furthermore, a common long-term symptom of crack abuse is the sensation of “bugs” crawling just under or on the skin. These tactile hallucinations can cause a person to damage their skin in an attempt to get rid of the bugs they feel.
In addition to these common symptoms, a long-term user of crack can experience some of the following damaging effects:
- Convulsions and seizures
- Infertility and other reproductive damage
- Cardiovascular problems
- Systemic toxicity, mostly from the substances used to create crack
- Sexual dysfunction
- Severe damage to the liver, heart and kidneys
- Blistering of the lips from the intense heat of the glass crack pipe
- Tooth decay and oral infections
- Insomnia leading to sleep deprivation
How to Get Crack Out of Your System
Crack cocaine is one of the most physically addictive substance there is. Stopping when a dependence has formed isn’t just a matter of willpower; the symptoms of the disease of addiction make even just finding help hard. How to get crack out of your system is made much easier when professional help is sought.
One of the things that draws people back into the addictive cycle are withdrawal symptoms. Due to the body becoming accustomed to the presence of crack, when abuse finally stops, the adjusted state causes withdrawal symptoms as the body struggles to return to normal function, which can take months in some cases.
Common withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Severe anxiety
- Intense cravings
- Suicidal behavior
The symptoms of withdrawal from crack lie mostly in the mental realm. While not generally perceived to be dangerous, the real risks involved with detoxing alone is that a relapse might occur. A lowered tolerance caused by not using the drug for several days can cause the person to mistakenly take too much, which can lead to an overdose and possible death.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
A common occurrence in people stopping crack abuse is post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). They often occur after the initial week-long detox. The symptoms of the condition are mostly just depression, but it can carry on for months due to the damage and imbalances still present in the brain.
The best way on how to get crack out of your system is through a medical detoxification program. These programs are essentially a detox that is assisted by both medications and around-the-clock medical care. It is by far the safest and easiest way to get through the initial withdrawal phase.
A medical detox for crack tends to last between 5 and 7 days before the above-mentioned withdrawal symptoms have dissipated. If the individual experiences PAWS, then further medication can be given to help bring their brain balance to more natural levels.
Counseling, Therapy and Aftercare Services
Because of the fact that addiction is a relapsing disease, it cannot be cured with just a detox. Even after the drug has left the body, thinking about it can cause cravings to appear. If a person has improper coping skills and used to take crack to deal with the stressors of life, then when faced with similar situations, cravings for the drug will take hold.
In order to treat crack addiction in the long term, one must also partake in therapy and counseling, which is designed to improve coping skills, rectify problematic behavior and thinking, and to help teach the recovering person the skills they need to avoid relapse. This can be achieved in a crack cocaine rehab near me. Once completed, aftercare services can then be used to help the person manage their addiction in the months and years to come.
To find a crack cocaine rehab near me, you can use the rehab locator on Better Addiction Care. Search by state, city or zip code. You can also customize you search to include rehabs that are focused on treating an addiction to crack cocaine.