Cocaine, derived from the South American coca plant, is a potent stimulant and one of the most popular party drugs in the world. Cocaine is also an addictive and damaging substance. Crack cocaine is the result of cooking powder cocaine with baking soda or ammonia, which is then cooled down into “rocks,” which can be smoked. When smoked, crack cocaine provides a hit which is faster, more potent and shorter than powder cocaine has powerful effects on the user’s brain and is the most addictive form of cocaine. Cocaine use results in an excess of dopamine in the brain, giving user’s euphoria, increased energy and confidence. These effects do not last, leading to frequent reapplication of the drug, and the need to take a larger dose to feel the same euphoria. When smoked, crack cocaine produces a high that occurs more quickly than a high from powder cocaine. Although the high from crack cocaine is more intense than the high from powder cocaine, it does not last as long. Frequent abuse of crack cocaine can result in disruption in what is called the reward pathway, the brain functions that control motivation, reward-seeking and the perception of pleasure. Repeated disruption of this pathway can cause the brain to rely on crack cocaine; when natural rewards no longer generate pleasure, depression and distress can set in, alongside cravings for the drug.
SIGNS OF ABUSE
Long term crack cocaine usage results in physical symptoms that are present when an individual is high and persist after the cocaine high has worn off. A person high on crack cocaine can experience interrupted sleep and insomnia, loss of appetite, over excitement, agitation, aggression,, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, nosebleeds or runny nose, irritability, extreme mood swings. After periods of increased activity, a person who uses crack cocaine can experience a bout of lethargy. Prolonged use of the drug greatly increases a person’s risk of heart attack or cardiac issues. Withdrawal from family, friends, hobbies or other interests is common among people abusing crack cocaine. As is weight loss, and other symptoms of depression such as having disheveled appearance, and poor personal hygiene. During use, sometimes a person using crack will burn themselves on the hot pipe, leaving burns or blisters on their lips.
Crack Cocaine Detox
Amatus Health detox facilities offer medically assisted detox for individuals facing acute withdrawal from crack cocaine, as well as inpatient and outpatient therapy programs designed to build the skills for long term recovery. Because of crack cocaine’s effects on the brain’s reward pathways, it is important that any co-occurring mental health disorders are considered when implementing a treatment plan. At every level of care, you will have access to trained professionals to help you get clean and stay clean. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine, reach out to one of our treatment professionals today.
After a crack cocaine binge, there is a crash and subsequent depression that can last several days. During this depression, cravings for cocaine intensify, due to the disruption of the brain’s reward pathway. Withdrawal symptoms include irritability, anger, agitation, lack of energy, apathy, anxiety, paranoia, anhedonia, inability to feel pleasure, interrupted sleep, insomnia or nightmares when sleep occurs. Depression or mood disorders can appear or dramatically worsen if they are already present.