Crack Addiction

Crack addiction is a powerful problem that is difficult to overcome without professional help. Although sometimes downplayed alongside the opioid addiction epidemic, crack addiction is a major problem that continues to ruin the lives of millions of Americans. If you think that you or someone you love might be addicted to crack cocaine, call SJRP at 833-397-3422 to speak with our Florida drug rehab admissions team about getting help.

Cocaine in its original form has been a controlled substance since the very early 1910s and remains – to this day – one of the most prevalent, and extremely dangerous illicit drugs in circulation. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s and 1980s when crack cocaine became popular in the US. Although crack addiction has waned a bit since the early 2000s and hides behind the opioid epidemic’s shadow, it is still very much a serious problem. A single-use of crack cocaine produces powerful stimulant highs that can quickly lead to addiction.

How Can I Tell If I’m Addicted to Crack?

Addiction can be hard to diagnose, especially if you are just starting to realize that you may have a problem with abusing a substance. If you think you or a loved one of yours may be struggling with addiction, it is important for you to first be honest with yourself, and second, be patient. Here are some questions you should ask yourself (or your loved one) if you think you may have a substance abuse issue:

  • Do you take the drug?
  • Do you take the drug in larger doses or for longer periods of time than intended?
  • Do you spend a lot of time thinking about the drug?
  • Do you spend a lot of time trying to obtain the drug?
  • Do you spend a lot of time recovering from drug use?
  • Do you spend a lot of time using the drug itself?
  • Do you want to cut back or stop your drug use altogether, but can’t?
  • Do you have cravings and strong urges to use the drug?
  • Have your work, home, or school responsibilities been suffering because of your drug use patterns?
  • Do you continue to use drugs or alcohol even though your relationships are suffering because of your use?
  • Do you find yourself giving up important social, recreational, or work-related activities as a result of your drug use?
  • Does your drug use have the habit of endangering you over and over again?
  • Do you find that your tolerance to the substance has increased as a result of your use?
  • Do you continue to use, even though you are aware abusing substances could cause or worsen mental health issues?
  • Have you developed withdrawal symptoms when you do not get and use another dose of drugs or alcohol fast enough?

If you answered several of the above questions with a yes, it is likely that you have a substance use issue and may be struggling with crack cocaine addiction. Even if you only answered a little under half of these questions with a yes, it may be time for you to contact a professional for support.

If you do find that you have a substance use issue, you do not need to worry about whether or not you will be able to receive treatment. Call St John’s Recovery Place, Florida drug and alcohol rehab center, at 833-397-3422 for immediate assistance.

Crack Addiction Symptoms

As with any type of chemically induced condition, crack addiction symptoms can widely vary. Even so, there still remains a large variety of signs that commonly occur as a crack addict’s symptoms. Smoking crack works to stimulate the central nervous system, increasing levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with such things as pleasure and reward, in the brain.

The fast-acting, but short-lived, high leaves the individual craving more. The brain’s chemistry is actually altered as a result of crack cocaine use and is no longer able to trigger cells to reabsorb the dopamine they release. This causes intense cravings and eventually dependence or addiction to crack itself. The initial feelings of desire, dependence, and use result in intense euphoria for most individuals, causing them to repeatedly chase the drug as more severe crack cocaine addiction symptoms settle in.

The most common signs of crack use include:

  • Frequent lip licking
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry nose
  • Bad breath
  • Irritability
  • Erratic or violent behavior
  • Fidgeting or trouble remaining still
  • Lack of interest in food
  • Lack of interest in sleep
  • Wandering minds or lack of continuity in conversation
  • Carrying of paraphernalia (such as spoons, razor blades, or metal straws)

The most common crack addiction symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Avoiding contact or association with loved ones (family or friends)
  • Aggravated problems at work, home or school
  • Psychosis
  • Denial
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depression

Physical Signs of Crack Use & Addiction

There are obviously quite a few signs and symptoms that point to crack addiction. But, is crack cocaine physically addictive? Yes, crack cocaine is physically addictive.

The most common physical signs of crack addiction may include:

  • Lack of appetite or eating less than normal
  • Poor hygiene or a failure to take care of oneself
  • Lung infections or difficulty breathing due to smoke inhalation
  • Burns on the fingers or lips
  • Track marks or needle marks from injecting crack cocaine
  • Trembling or shaking, referred to as jitters (in the hands, arms or legs)

Other common physical signs of crack use such as nasal irritation or nosebleeds may also occur. Nosebleeds can vary in intensity and may surface along with constant runny-nose, or snuffling, caused by the act of snorting cocaine. There is also the possibility that the user may lose all sense or ability to smell.

Signs of Tolerance to Crack Cocaine

Determining whether or not you have an issue with substance use can be difficult. Determining whether or not you are developing a tolerance to a drug can be even harder. You may start to question yourself, doubt yourself, or grow nervous that you are taking more of a drug than you should be. But how can you know for sure? Here are some signs that you are building a tolerance towards crack cocaine:

  • You find yourself taking higher doses
  • The dosage you used to take no longer gives you the desired effect
  • Your body no longer responds to the drug the way that it used to, needing more of the drug to stimulate the desired effects
  • You find yourself combining the drug with other stimulants to experience a stronger high

Smoking crack may also damage the mucous linings in the throat, resulting in hoarseness, or difficulty speaking. Users generally develop a strong tolerance to the drug which makes it difficult to cut back or quit all together.

Behavioral Signs of Crack Use & Addiction

There are definite changes in the behavior of a person experiencing a high from cocaine, or struggling through crack addiction.

Behavioral signs of crack addiction may include:

  • Having sudden or excessive bursts of energy – which can be uncharacteristic of normal behaviour
  • Sudden crashes, or signs of sudden depression
  • Nervous agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Severe mood swings

Mood swing may range from extreme excitement to aggressive, argumentative, or even depressed. Mood swings may also be sudden, or unprecedented in nature, occurring without much warning. Depression and suicidal thoughts can occur in both current situations of crack addiction, and in those who are in withdrawal from crack cocaine or have given up the substance altogether.

Crack Cocaine Psychosis

Crack cocaine psychosis, otherwise known and associated with crack cocaine paranoia, is a side effect that has been frequently connected with crack addiction. Even in the early stages of crack cocaine use, up to 84% of patients experienced paranoia and suspiciousness, in addition to various other physical and psychological side effects of the drug. Paranoia operates on a large time window, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks at a time. Psychosis, on the other hand, begins with suspiciousness, which leads to paranoia, and eventually delusions hallucinations.

It has been observed that these symptoms gain potency over time. Symptoms increase in frequency and severity with each use of crack cocaine. Individuals with a history of mental health or psychiatric disorders have more frequent hospitalizations after crack cocaine use.

Crack Psychosis Symptoms

Crack psychosis symptoms, such as increased suspiciousness, paranoia, hallucinations and delusions are often accompanied by various behavioral symptoms of crack addiction as well. Crack cocaine impacts neurochemistry in several ways. Just as it stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain, it also works to increase the negative impressions of emotion as well.

Behavioral crack psychosis symptoms can include:

  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Violence
  • Delirium

Side Effects of Smoking Crack

The effects of smoking crack are often similar to those of cocaine use. Immediate side effects of crack use can result in changes to the user’s appearance and, internally can lead to:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Muscle twitching
  • Constricted blood vessels

While these side effects of crack use are not necessarily dangerous to the user, there are grave risks associated with this drug. Some users can or will experience:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac arrest

Short Term Effects

The most common, and certainly most short-lived, side effect of crack use is the near-immediate high. Caused by the increase of dopamine levels in the brain, crack produces a quick, short-lived high that is super intense. Unfortunately, this intense high is followed closely by near-crippling depression, agitation, edginess, and a maddening craving for more of the substance.

Frequent use of crack can also lead to massive changes in the appetite or sleep schedule. Changes may border on complete neglect of sleeping (insomnia) or lack of eating, to binge eating or sleeping for long intervals. Although the first two options are more commonly observed.

Short term effects of crack cocaine use may also lead to:

  • Convulsions
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Anxiousness
  • Anger
  • Hostility
  • Paranoia
  • Increased Heart Rate

Long Term Effects

Crack cocaine is a highly volatile, dangerous, and potentially life-threatening substance.

Long term effects of crack cocaine use can result in:

  • Severe Respiratory Problems
  • Lung Damage
  • Bleeding Lungs
  • Severe Heart, Liver, or Kidney Damage
  • A Weakened Immune System
  • Changes to Overall Mood and Disposition
  • Increasing Depression
  • Inability to Feel “Normal”
  • Malnutrition (as extensive eating and sleeping deprivation continue)
  • Hallucination
  • Tooth Decay

Both the short-term and long-term effects of crack use can be extensive, painful, and potentially life-threatening.

Long term crack cocaine use may also result in:

  • Stroke
  • Infertility
  • Respiratory Failure
  • Suicide

Side Effects of Polysubstance Abuse

Individuals who suffer through polysubstance drug abuse as a result of intentional or unintentional use can experience a wide variety of unpleasant side effects.

Side effects of polysubstance abuse can include:

  • Acute health problems
  • Overdose
  • Complications in treatment
  • Complications resulting from co-occurring mental health issues

These risks and side effects can all increase when crack cocaine is mixed with other substances.

Mixing Alcohol and Crack

Just as crack cocaine works as a stimulant, alcohol works as a depressant. Some might think that mixing alcohol and crack cocaine would balance out stimulant high, and depressant low. In actuality, mixing alcohol and crack is extremely dangerous, and there’s no way of knowing how the two substances will impact the user. What is known about this particular mixture, is that it produces a highly addictive effect in which both highs work in conjunction with one another. As the highs increase, so does the likelihood of severe adverse effects that could potentially lead to death.

Mixing Crack and Heroin

Both crack and heroin are highly addictive substances. Combining crack and heroin is typically referred to as “speedballing”. This type of drug mixing is incredibly dangerous and life-threatening. Long term treatment in a residential rehabilitation center is often necessary to help a user overcome addiction to crack cocaine and heroin. The extremely unpredictable nature of mixing crack and heroin significantly increases the risk of overdose.

Side Effects of Using Crack while Pregnant

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, most women who are addicted to cocaine are of childbearing age,”… “and there are over 750,000 cocaine-exposed pregnancies every year. Using crack while pregnant has very specific risks for both mother and child. These risks though can be reduced with proper treatment for substance use disorder.

Using crack while pregnant can result in added stress to the mother’s body, including increased risk for:

  • Migraines
  • Seizures
  • Premature membrane rupture
  • Separation of the placenta from the uterine lining
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Miscarriage
  • Early or difficult delivery (babies born to substance-using mothers do typically arrive early and are smaller than the average born child)

The claims of reduced intelligence and social skills made in the 1980s referring to “crack-babies”, have been determined to be rather grossly overestimated, especially in early childhood development. But, researchers have found that the use of crack cocaine while pregnant can have subtle changes or effects on children in their later years, including but not limited to behavioral problems (difficulty to self-regulate), cognitive performance, information processing, and other planning and attention deficits. Researchers have also sighted difficulty in gaining a sufficient amount of data to reference, as the variables behind each pregnancy, mother and child, can vary so drastically.

Signs of Being High on Crack

Crack is a highly addictive substance that can change the chemical makeup and structure of the brain. Crack addiction comes with many signs and symptoms, but how can you tell if someone is actually high on cocaine? Is there a way to tell if someone is high vs when they are coming off a high? Yes. Typical signs of being high on crack include:

  • Increased agitation
  • Increased paranoia
  • Experiencing delusions
  • Experiencing hallucinations
  • Trouble focusing
  • Mood swings
  • May appear to be in a dream-like state
  • Distracted and disoriented
  • Bloodshot, watery eyes
  • Runny, itchy nose
  • Garbled speech, saying things that do not make sense
  • Is behaving out of character (can be abnormally outgoing, aggressive, or making unusual physical movements)
  • Excessive bouts of sweating and chills
  • Smell unusually smokey, sweet, skunky or even like tar (smells likes drugs)
  • Obtains unexplainable injuries like an unusual nosebleed
  • Is having difficulty breathing, or is breathing too quickly
  • The size of their pupils changes
  • Has an irregular heart beat

How Do You Get Addicted to Crack?

How is it that an individual goes from living a normal life, to struggling with addiction? The first step to becoming addicted to crack is using the drug. Even using crack once can result in addiction down the road. Simply put, if you never use it, you will never be addicted.

Those who use crack cocaine face the potential to become addicted, due in part to underlying factors such as:

  • Genetics
  • Co-occurring Disorders
  • Environmental Issues
  • Gateway Substances
  • Psychological Factors

If you have underlying mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, you could be at a greater risk of developing an addiction if you use crack cocaine. Similarly, studies have found that genetics play a role in addiction to drugs or alcohol, too. Likewise, those with a history of aggressive behaviors are more likely to use drugs like crack cocaine, as are those who lack supervision. The old adage “he’s got too much time on his hands,” is very real when it comes to addiction! That’s why, at St. John’s Recovery Place a Florida addiction and recovery center, we keep our clients busy in daily group therapy sessions, and we teach clients the importance of staying actively involved in alumni groups and healthy activities outside of treatment, to help curb their risk of relapse.

Crack Withdrawal Symptoms

Quitting crack cocaine is no easy task. Just like those who use, remain ensnared by side effects that keep them searching for more, those who try to quit experience crack withdrawal symptoms. Common crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms can also include many of the same symptoms experienced in active addiction, such as:

  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Slower Thinking
  • Increased Appetite

There are three stages of crack withdrawal.

  • Stage 1: Includes the crash as the individual fights through the initial symptoms of irritation, agitation, increased appetite, insomnia, depression, and lethargy.
  • Stage 2: Can result in poor concentration, continued lethargy, irritability, and strong cravings. This stage can last for around 10 weeks, if not longer.
  • Stage 3: The individual may experience intermittent cravings to use, and ongoing mood changes, and depression.

It depends on the individual, but withdrawal symptoms can appear rather quickly following their last dose. For some, these side effects can disappear within a few days, for others a few weeks or more. Really it all depends on the individual and their support system.

Crack Abuse Facts & Statistics

Crack cocaine is a cheaper derivative of cocaine sold on the street for “recreational” smoking use. This specific drug made its debut in the United States in the early 1970s but did not gain in general popularity until the mid-1980s. It was at this time that cocaine users also began pairing the substance with heroin and alcohol to further intensify their high. Since then:

  • In 2018 5 million people, ages 12 and over, admitted to having used crack within their lifetime
  • Nearly 9% of overdose deaths in 2017 could be traced back to cocaine
  • Highest cocaine use rates reported from the North East, while highest cocaine overdose and death reported from Midwest

Crack Epidemic Statistics in Florida

The state of Florida cites drug abuse as a serious ongoing problem in their population ranks. Age and region have not been noted to be the responsible causes for this trend, but it has been noticed that certain regions of Florida have suffered more than others. South Florida, seems to have been hit the worst with abuse statistics and rates.

Overall, the whole state of Florida has seen an increase – research shows – in the use of cocaine. The numbers have steadily risen over the last five years, nearly doubling in size from 2013 to 2017. And the numbers only seem to continue rising from there.

Crack epidemic statistics:

  • Less than 2% of Florida residents over the age of 12 reports crack cocaine use in the past year
  • Which is lower than the national 2.03 average, but higher than the average reported a few years back of 1.6%.
  • Teens in Florida – kids from the ages of 12 to 17-years-of-age – reported using cocaine within the last year, totaling in at 0.5%.
  • By no specific race, young adults (individuals in their late teens or early twenties) in the state of Florida beat the highest national average for cocaine use, at 88%
  • adults anywhere above the age of 26 report a much lower rate of consumption in Florida, totaling in at 5% of people who used within the last year.

As time wears on, the statistics about crack addiction fluctuate and change. As of right now, they are on the rise in some age groups within Florida state, but hopefully, the numbers can begin to go down with continued support from peers and support systems battling against substance dependence as a team.

Can You Overdose on Crack?

It is undeniable that crack cocaine is as highly potent as it is addictive. Especially when combined with other drugs, it is very possible to experience a crack overdose. The most common crack overdose symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Cold Sweats
  • Black Phlegm
  • Itchiness
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis

Keep in mind that almost all of these side effects can be attributed to normal crack use or addiction as well, and that depending on how significant the overdose was an individual can experience one, a few, or all of these symptoms.

It may be difficult to tell the difference between someone experiencing “normal” cocaine side effects, and overdose, but the overdose symptoms are usually more intense. Crack overdose can be fatal, or may cause severe damage to internal organs such as the lungs, heart, or brain. Typically, the margin for error occurs within those who try crack on a more frequent basis, as they may lose track of how much crack they are consuming.

Crack Overdose Treatment

In response to a potential overdose, the first action should be to call 9-1-1 immediately to seek emergency treatment for an individual. After having made contact with medical personnel, it is sometimes helpful to try and cool someone who is experiencing an overdose off, bringing their overall body temperature down, and making sure that they are in no way capable of hurting themselves, especially if a seizure may occur.

Do not attempt to hold anyone who is having a seizure down, or put anything in their mouth, just make sure to stay with them until paramedics arrive.

Upon arrival, medical personnel may administer a sedative to the individual experiencing the overdose symptoms, and/or help calm them down if they are conscious. Exact treatment methods vary depending on the severity of the overdose symptoms.

Crack Addiction Treatment Options

The best option to avoid crack addiction is abstinence, but, in case crack addiction does occur there are preventative crack addiction treatment plans available. The most common methods of crack addiction treatment are:

Getting treatment or help for anyone who is addicted to crack cocaine is extremely important. Without treatment, crack addiction could be lethal, or it may result in severe internal and psychological damage to the user.

Crack addiction treatment begins by acknowledging that there is a problem, and then moving forward to break the initial dependency. From there, you will take baby steps towards your sobriety. A solid support system is essential to recovery. At St. John’s Recovery Place, we pay special attention to each and every client that comes to our peaceful Florida addiction and recovery center by the lake to get help. Crack addiction treatment programs are individually tailored to each client to ensure you get the support, therapeutic care, and healing opportunities you need to restore your life.

Our crack addiction treatment programs focus on delivering a level of care that is appropriate to each client during his or her time at St. John’s Recovery Place. No two treatment plans are the same because we realize the importance of individualized care to help you or your loved one get through crack cocaine withdrawal and begin to feel more balanced and prepared for recovery.

Is There a Crack Cocaine Vaccine for Addiction?

Crack cocaine abuse is a serious ongoing problem in the U.S. It has led to many deaths, addiction, and a ring of criminal activity that has caused major problems in the U.S. for many years. As a result, many drug and alcohol rehab centers have developed treatments specifically geared for combating addiction in clients with a dependence on cocaine.

Yes. A vaccine has been in development for many years to help prevent relapse in cocaine addicts undergoing the recovery process. But, the vaccine has only been met with limited success. As a result, the injection for cocaine addiction treatment is used in conjunction with other addiction treatments, medications and therapies to help clients improve their lives, health, and recover. But the vaccine is not used on its own to treat crack cocaine addiction.

What Happens in Crack Addiction Treatment?

Addiction treatment looks different for everyone. Some individuals may need to undergo the whole process from the beginning, working through withdrawal, detox, inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, and entering back into society through a sober-living home or transitory treatment program slowly. Others may be able to go straight into outpatient treatment, or need to undergo a longer inpatient treatment period.

The point is, addiction recovery is not the same for everyone. But, the types of treatments offered from one program to the other typically resemble each other quite closely. In crack addiction rehab you can expect to experience:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group counselling
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Individual counselling
  • Group activities
  • Support group building
  • Skill building
  • Nutrition therapy
  • Exercise coaching

And so many more types of holistic and support therapy types. Addiction recovery may not look the same for any two individuals, and it may be very difficult to work through, but the one thing that remains the same is that here at SJRP we have got your back, and want to see you recover to be the healthiest, happiest version of yourself that you can be.

There is no need to place a timeline on recovery, you just need to give it your best effort, and let it happen in its own time. Allowing yourself to not compare your recovery achievements to others will help you heal even more. If you would like to know more about addiction recovery treatment options, call St John’s drug rehab at 833-397-3422 today to learn more about admissions and your next steps in recovery.

Seeking Help for Crack Abuse

Understanding crack addiction is simple – crack is highly addictive and using it in conjunction with any other type of depressant or stimulant is a recipe for some type of pain down the road. Crack addiction leads to many long-lasting psychological, mental, and physical side effects, very few of which are pleasant, no matter if an individual uses for a short period of time, or a long period of time. Overdose is 100% possible and very difficult to differentiate from normal crack abuse symptoms. The use of crack cocaine can even be fatal, but with help, anyone can overcome crack addiction.

If you or someone you love is addicted to crack cocaine, call SJRP at 833-397-3422 to speak with our Florida drug rehab admissions team about the treatment options available to assist you or your loved one in recovery.