It can be devastating when a loved one starts to show signs of a crack cocaine addiction. You wonder, “can someone recover from crack addiction?” There isn’t much representation of recovered crack addict stories in the media, so there isn’t much awareness.
With treatment, it is possible to recover from crack addiction. The process is made a lot easier and safer if you’re able to catch it early on, though.
You are not alone. You deserve to get help with drug addiction. Call us today. We are available 24/7. Call 002072052736
Addiction to Crack Cocaine
First, we’ll discuss a little bit about why crack is such an addictive drug.
Crack is very similar to traditional cocaine, and both of them are central nervous stimulants. The immediate result is an intense rush of euphoria, increased focus, sociability, irritability, and many other possible side effects.
People tend to feel more alert and capable for the brief period that cocaine produces a high. For the most part, the experience lasts for around 15 minutes.
The difference between cocaine and crack cocaine is that crack cocaine is crystalized and able to be smoked. Through the process of crystallisation, a lot of the impurities of cocaine are removed.
This leads crack cocaine to be about 75 per cent purer than cocaine. The effects might be far more intense, and there’s a much larger chance of overdose.
After a euphoric 15 minutes, though, there’s a crash that can leave a person feeling terrible. Your dopamine has rushed out, and you’ll start to feel tired, irritable, and experience cravings.
The quickest way to flood yourself with dopamine is to use more crack. The hit floods your system with dopamine immediately, and you’re left without the negative symptoms for another fifteen minutes.
The short-period diminishing effect of crack cocaine allows tolerance to build up very quickly. That tolerance builds along with the feelings of withdrawal when you’re not using crack.
In a lot of cases, short-term users of crack will experience intense withdrawals to some degree. After a while, those withdrawals will disrupt several areas in your life. Sleep, emotion, mental illness, and irritation can all be affected.
Addiction and Dependence
If you know that crack is going to derail your life, though, why is it still so addictive?
The answer lies in that dopamine hit we discussed earlier. Dopamine is the reward our brain releases to incentivize us to take care of important tasks. Having sex, eating, accomplishing something, and exercising are natural sources of dopamine production in the brain.
When we do those things, our brain gives us a little dopamine hit.
Evolution has selected the individuals who were incentivized to complete those tasks and stay alive. In some ways, the brain’s release of natural dopamine directs much of our daily behaviour. Crack cocaine intercepts that process and cuts out all of the efforts, allowing a rush of dopamine instantly.
It hacks our biology. We’ve evolved over millions of years to crave those rewards in healthy amounts, forcing us to put forth an effort to achieve the things we need to survive. In other words, it’s deep within us to want that dopamine.
When we’re flooded with it, the euphoria is palpable. Our brains develop a tolerance to that flood, and the absence of it is painful. When you’re craving your drug of choice, the full force of human evolution is behind the desire to get more.
The fact that crack is cheap and fast-acting doesn’t help either. People on crack aren’t asking, “what does crack do to you in the long-term.” They’re blinded by the rush of euphoria and the desire deep within them to satisfy that need for dopamine.
There are a few tell-tale signs that someone might have a crack cocaine addiction. Let’s take a look at them.
The first sign that something is going on is behaviour that your loved one doesn’t normally show.
That’s a pretty vague thing to look for, though. There are plenty of things that can cause a person to act differently, so it would be absurd to jump to the conclusion that someone was using crack.
That said, drug addiction might cause a person to keep unusual hours. They might be more secretive about what they’re doing, and they could be hanging out with people who they otherwise wouldn’t.
When there isn’t a logical excuse for the unusual behaviour, there’s a chance they’re doing something they don’t want you to know about. Further, crack dependency and withdrawals might cause a person to have strange moods.
They might be more prone to emotional outbursts, aggressive, suspicious, and paranoid.
It might not be evident that a person is high on crack. Just like cocaine, the immediate effects aren’t always noticeable to the outside world. That said, some things stand out when a person is high on crack.
First, they will have more energy than they tend to have. Excitability and enthusiasm will be present to a higher degree than it normally is in that individual. That hyperactivity might lead to dangerous behaviour, the crossing of social boundaries, and more.
This behaviour will be there when the person uses crack, not necessarily when they aren’t high.
Signs of Withdrawal From Crack Cocaine
When someone is addicted to crack, but their friends and family don’t know, there are several situations where they can’t use the drug or else they’ll be found out.
Social gatherings and time spent at their job, for example, might not be good times to use crack if you want your addiction to remain secret. In those instances, the person might start to experience some withdrawal.
Depending on where they are in their addiction process, those withdrawals could be very strong or pretty minimal. In any case, withdrawals lead a person to behave in different ways.
You might notice a visible depression in the person’s eyes. Their skin might be flushed, and their mind might not be as sharp or as focused as it normally is. Further, they might be more prone to lashing out with aggression.
Irritation, frustration, and aggression are all feelings that withdrawals can bring on. So, if the person you love is displaying those behaviours when they have to be around other people, there’s a chance that they’re on crack or another stimulant.
Physical Signs of Crack Cocaine Addiction
You may have heard about crack eyes or crack hands. These are physical manifestations of the addiction that are good indications that a person is using crack.
The term “crack eyes” refers to the twitchy, irritated nature of a person’s eyes when they’re high on crack. They might look around, darting from place to place with their eyes. Movement of the eyes in that way might not be normal to the person, so it’s a clear indication that something is off.
If your friend or loved one starts to behave differently, look to their eyes to see you feel a significant difference. “Crack hands” refers to physical damage to the skin that comes from smoking crack.
The palms of a person who smokes crack might have lesions, dark spots, or impurities of the skin that don’t exist elsewhere on the body. Beyond that, you might notice dilated eyes, strange speech patterns, tooth decay, and a general sense of unwellness caused by damage to internal organs.
Shift in Priorities
When a person is addicted to something, the things they consider important get reordered. Over time, all priorities get deferred to the use of the drug.
In some cases, even essential obligations to vulnerable children are thrown away in favour of their drug of choice. Before that time comes, though, things like household duties, social gatherings, and punctuality might start to slip.
That shift in priorities will take time to become uncharacteristic for the person. Everybody slips up from time to time, but crack users will eventually get to a point where they cannot manage their former lifestyle. A crack user might try to hide those things from friends and family, but the truth will eventually shine through as the addiction progresses.
The best way to prevent things from getting to that point, though, is to talk to them and try to get help. That can be a difficult thing to do. That’s why treatment and recovery professionals are so helpful as you deal with the process.
Know Someone with a Crack Cocaine Addiction?
Seeing a loved one suffer from a crack cocaine addiction can be very hard. It’s tough to know where to start as you try to help them. We’re here to help you through the process.
Please explore our site or contact us to learn more about crack cocaine, the addiction recovery rate, treatment, and more.