Substance Use

Crack Cocaine Use Disorder Treatment

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Crack Cocaine Abuse and Addiction Treatment Options

Crack cocaine is a powerful and addictive drug that can have severe consequences for those who use it. It is a stimulant that causes an intense high that quickly wears off, leading to cravings for more of the drug. Crack addiction can be challenging to overcome, but with help from a qualified treatment center, it is possible to achieve sobriety. This article will discuss the dangers of crack cocaine addiction and what you can do to get help.

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What Is Crack Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that comes in two forms: powder and crack. The powder is a form of cocaine that’s white, bitter-tasting, and odorless. It can be snorted, injected, or smoked. Crack is cocaine processed with baking soda (or ammonia to create freebase) to be smoked. It is a very potent drug that causes an intense high lasting only a few minutes.

Crack addiction is one of the most challenging addictions to overcome because the high it produces is so addictive. People addicted to crack will do anything to get their hands on the drug, including committing crimes and stealing from family and friends.

How Does Crack Cocaine Affect the Brain?

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug that directly affects the brain. When people use cocaine, they often feel an intense euphoria – a high. This “rush” is followed by a state of extreme depression and fatigue, which can cause users to use the drug again to try and recapture the euphoric feeling. As with some other drugs, cocaine changes how the brain works over time. Regular use can lead to addiction, a chronic relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences.

Cocaine works by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. When cocaine enters the brain, it blocks the reuptake of dopamine, which results in increased dopamine levels in the brain. This increased level of dopamine leads to the pleasurable effects of cocaine use.

Dopamine is also involved in the development of drug addiction. The repeated use of cocaine leads to changes in the brain that make it difficult for users to stop using the drug, even when they want to. These changes are caused by neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to experience. With regular cocaine use, neuroplasticity alters how dopamine affects the brain, increasing the risk of addiction.

The Dangers of Crack Cocaine Use

The dangers of crack cocaine use can be divided into short-term and long-term effects.

Short-term dangers of smoking crack cocaine include:

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Contracted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased body temperature
  • Depression
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Violent behavior

Long-term dangers of crack cocaine abuse include:

  • Increased drug tolerance
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Severe depression
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Respiratory failure
  • Lung damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Damaged blood vessels leading to heart attack
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Delirium or psychosis
  • Mood disturbances

Signs and Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Addiction

Though there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, understanding the general signs and symptoms of crack cocaine addiction can help you determine if someone you love is addicted to crack cocaine.

Some common signs and symptoms of addiction include:

  • Changes in mood or behavior: The use of crack may lead someone to become more withdrawn, irritable, or anxious. They may also have drastic changes in their sleep patterns and eating habits.
  • Loss of interest in activities: An addicted person may stop participating in activities they used to enjoy, such as hobbies, sports, or time with friends and family.
  • Financial problems: An addicted person may start having financial difficulties because they spend all their money on cocaine. They may also begin borrowing money or stealing to get cash for drugs.
  • Problems at work or school: An addicted person’s performance at work or school may decline as their addiction takes hold. They may start missing work or school more often or get fired.
  • Isolating from friends and family: An addicted person may start to separate themselves from the people they love as their addiction progresses. They may stop taking phone calls, cancel plans, or miss important events.
  • Neglecting responsibilities: An addicted person may start to neglect their duties at home, such as taking care of their children or paying bills.
  • Poor Decision Making: Drug use commonly leads to poor judgment and decision-making. Some examples include engaging in unprotected sex, driving under the influence, spending large amounts of money, and being more prone to violence.

You must discuss addiction and recovery if you notice any of these changes in a loved one. Addiction is a severe disease that requires professional treatment. With the right help, people can recover from addiction and lead happy, healthy lives.

Factors That Contribute to Crack Abuse

Many different factors can contribute to crack abuse. Knowing the signs and symptoms of addiction can help you identify if someone you love is at risk of developing an addiction.

Some of these factors include:

  • Peer pressure: People who associate with others who use drugs are more likely to start using drugs themselves.
  • Trauma: People who have experienced trauma, such as abuse or violence, are more likely to develop substance abuse problems.
  • Mental health disorders: People with mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, are more likely to self-medicate with drugs like crack cocaine.
  • Family history: People with a family history of addiction and substance use disorders are more likely to develop an addiction.
  • Low self-esteem: People with low self-esteem are more likely to turn to drugs to cope with their negative feelings.

How To Get Help for a Crack Cocaine Addiction

Many options are available for those who want help with their addiction. Treatment options include:

  • Detoxification: The first step in treatment is to detox from cocaine. This can be done at a professional detox center, where patients will be monitored and given medication to help with withdrawal symptoms. The detox process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It involves flushing the cocaine out of your system and allowing your body to adjust to being without the drug.
  • Inpatient treatment: Patients can enter an inpatient treatment program, which is a live-in treatment facility where they will receive 24-hour care. Patients will participate in therapy and other activities during treatment to help them recover from their addiction. This treatment can last anywhere between a few weeks to a few months.
  • Outpatient treatment: Patients can also enter an outpatient treatment program, which allows them to live at home while attending therapy during the day. Patients will typically meet with a therapist a few times per week and may also participate in group meetings. This treatment is typically less intensive than inpatient treatment and can last several months.
  • Sober living homes:Sober living homes provide a safe and structured environment for people in recovery. Residents are typically required to follow specific rules, such as abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and may be subject to random drug tests. For recovering addicts, sober living homes can provide a transitional step between treatment and real life.
  • Peer support groups: Peer support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, can provide support and fellowship for people in recovery. By having a network of people to lean on, addicts are more likely to stay sober.

In addition to these, some alternative therapies can help treat addiction, such as:

  • Acupuncture: This therapy involves inserting thin needles into the skin to promote healing. Acupuncture helps by relieving withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings. 
  • Yoga: Yoga can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. It also helps to increase flexibility and strength.
  • Meditation: Meditation helps to focus the mind and calm the nerves. It is often used as a tool to manage cravings and prevent relapse.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: This therapy helps patients identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their addiction. This can be an effective treatment since it allows patients to address the root cause of their addiction.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a crack cocaine addiction, help is available. Zinnia Health is one of the leading treatment providers of addiction, including inpatient and outpatient treatment, detoxification, and sober living homes.

Our experienced and compassionate staff will work with you to create a customized treatment plan that meets your needs. With locations in California, Rhode Island, Florida, New Jersey, Colorado, and Indiana, we aim to provide quality care to those struggling with crack addiction across the country. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and how we can help you or a loved one start on the path to recovery.

Relapse Prevention for Crack Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can make it difficult to abstain from using the drug. However, there are certain things you can do to help prevent a relapse.

  • Avoid people, places, and things that remind you of using cocaine: This may mean avoiding certain friends or places that you used to go to when you were using. It’s essential to be aware of your triggers and avoid them if possible.
  • Create a support system: A support system can include family members, friends, therapists, sponsors, or sober peers. These people can offer emotional support and help you stay accountable for your sobriety.
  • Develop a healthy lifestyle: Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are all critical for maintaining recovery. By taking care of your body, you’ll be better equipped to fight off cravings and prevent relapse.
  • Keep a positive outlook and stay busy: It’s essential to stay positive and keep your mind occupied. This can be done by setting goals, attending support groups, or participating in activities you enjoy.

How To Help Someone You Know Who Is Addicted to Crack Cocaine

If you know someone addicted to crack cocaine, the best thing you can do is encourage them to get help from a professional treatment program. You can also offer your support and assistance in any way you can.

Some things you can do to help include:

  • Listening without judgment: Addicts often feel ashamed and embarrassed about their addiction. It’s important to listen without judgment and let them know that you’re there for them.
  • Encouraging them to seek help: Professional treatment is the best way to overcome an addiction. You can encourage your loved one to seek help from a therapist or treatment center.
  • Helping them find a treatment program: Many different treatment programs are available. You can help your loved one find a program that best suits their needs.
  • Providing emotional support: Addicts often feel isolated and alone. It’s crucial to provide emotional support and let them know you care about them.
  • Offering practical assistance: Practical assistance can include helping them find a job or a place to live. 
  • Avoid enabling behavior: It’s essential to avoid enabling behavior, such as giving them money or covering for them. This will only enable their addiction and make it harder for them to recover.
  • Staying positive and hopeful: Recovery is a long and challenging process. It’s important to stay positive and encourage your loved one to keep fighting for sobriety. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, don’t hesitate to seek help.


Addiction is a complex disease that can be difficult to overcome. However, with the help of a professional treatment program, it is possible to achieve sobriety. Addicts often feel ashamed and embarrassed about their addiction, and it’s important to listen without judgment and let them know that you care about them. You can also offer your support and assistance in any way you can. Recovery is a long and challenging process, but it’s worth fighting for.

You can encourage your loved one to keep fighting for sobriety by staying positive and hopeful. At addiction centers like Zinnia Health, many different treatment programs are available, so we can help you find the one that best suits your needs. Contact us today through our site or call us at (855) 430-9439 to learn more about our services and how we can help you or your loved one achieve sobriety.

Crack FAQs

How long does a crack high last?

The effects of crack cocaine are short-lived, lasting only about 15-30 minutes. However, the euphoria caused by the drug can be so intense that users often crave another dose immediately after the high wears off.

Can you get addicted to crack after one use?

Yes, it is possible to get addicted to crack or snorting cocaine, even if it’s the user’s first time. However, the risk of addiction increases with each subsequent use.

What are the withdrawal symptoms of quitting crack?

Withdrawal symptoms of quitting crack include anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritability, and insomnia. These symptoms can last for weeks or even months.

What is the difference between powder and crack cocaine?

Powder cocaine is a white powder that is snorted or injected. Crack cocaine is a rock crystal that is smoked, and crack cocaine is more potent and addictive than powder cocaine.

Other drugs cocaine addicts are likely to abuse

Cocaine addicts are also likely to abuse other drugs, such as alcohol, marijuana, heroin, and prescription drugs. This is sometimes because they are trying to self-medicate or cope with the adverse effects of cocaine withdrawal.

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