Signs And Symptoms Of Crack Addiction
It can be difficult to notice a substance use disorder in a friend or your loved one.
The stigma attached to substance abuse often causes people to hide their addiction.
There are, however, signs and symptoms which may indicate crack addiction. If you are worried you or your loved one may be addicted to crack cocaine, please contact us immediately. Our compassionate team can answer any questions you may have and guide you through the next steps.
Physical symptoms may include:
- Burns on fingers or lips
- Quick or deep breathing
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Why Is Crack Cocaine So Addictive
Over time, when users repeatedly abuse crack cocaine, the pleasure receptors in their brains begin to alter, such that normal activities are not as pleasurable as they once were. The brain begins to crave the effects of cocaine this is what is known as the strong reinforcing effect of cocaine and crack cocaine.
In essence, crack cocaine is addictive because of the intense nature of the high it produces, and the unpleasantness of the withdrawal symptoms that set in rapidly after the high.
Users who have used crack find themselves very quickly coming back to reality, and the temptation to experience that extreme high once again can be overwhelming.
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Who Uses Crack And Who Uses Cocaine
As a result, there is a public perception that cocaine is associated with more affluent drug users, whereas crack use is associated with those in lower income brackets and minorities. Despite this widespread belief, information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that in 1991, the majority of crack users were Caucasian.
Generally, those who want a more intense, faster, cheaper high are attracted to crack. Some people begin with cocaine use and then transition to crack use when the habit of cocaine use is too expensive to maintain.According to the National Study on Drug Use and Health, in 2008, there were 1.9 million cocaine users, of which 359,000 used crack.
Comparing Other Drugs
Residential Crack Cocaine Treatment At Oasis
Our approach to rehabilitationfor crack cocaine addiction is holistic meaning we approach treatment from a therapy, food nutrition, fitness and exercise, sleeping patterns, trauma, one-to-one and group therapy perspective. We ensure your comfort in recently refurbished en-suite rooms, social areas, private garden and therapeutic rooms. You will be catered for by our resident chef and a free laundry service is provided.
As part of our programme, you will have access to a local gym and swimming pool along with supervised trips to the local town. The strategy is to incorporate a private approach to treatment, i.e. one-to-one counselling sessions but not detach you from reality so going back to day-to-day living is not a shock to the system
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The Effects Of Crack On Dopamine Levels
Crack is a strong central nervous system stimulant, which increases the amount of dopamine in parts of the brain that regulate pleasure and movement. In a healthy brain, dopamine is released as a response to a potential reward. When someone takes crack, the surge of dopamine levels is such that it causes an intense euphoria that the brain decodes as something good.
According to some studies, crack could effectively rewire the brain after a single-use. Crack abuse can start as soon as people ingest crack, it strikes its dopamine system, forcing the production of dopamine or feel-good hormones.
The dopamine reward pathway becomes less sensitive to natural reinforcement. It also becomes less sensitive to the drug itself. In turn, the user requires more and more crack to produce the same effect, and natural reinforcement begins to have almost no effect.
Crack cocaine, similar to other addictive drugs, essentially rewires someones brain chemistry to develop a dependency on the substance. Over time, this dependence becomes an addiction that cannot be controlled.
What Advice Would You Give Someone Who Would Like To Help Someone Who Is Addicted To Cocaine
Most drug users deny that they have a problem, and push family and friends away. You may feel helpless, frustrated, and unable to cope. You can get help by contacting a local drug abuse treatment center. You should also do the following:
- Establish appropriate limits and rules with your loved one who may be addicted.
- Dont change your actions to suit the needs of the user.
- Dont cover up for the user when he or she fails to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home.
- Dont make excuses for the addicts drug use.
- Dont lend money.
- Encourage the user to seek help.
- Get additional information and help from Al-Anon or Nar-Anon.
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Genes And Gene Expression
Genes determine the shape and function of every cell. Every individual is born with a unique combination of roughly 30,000 genes. Every cell in the body contains all 30,000. One cell differs from anothera liver cell looks and acts differently from a brain cell, for examplebecause, in each, certain genes are turned on, while others are turned off.
The popular notion that our genes never change is incorrect. It is true that the fundamental pattern of gene activation that gives each of our cells its essential properties is fixed once and for all during development. For example, once a cell develops into a liver cell, it remains a liver cell for life and cannot be converted into a brain cell. However, every cell retains the capacity to change the level of activity of a portion of its genes in response to the demands we place upon it. An example is weightlifting: Muscle cells respond to repeated exercise by increasing the expression of certain genes, leading to growth and strengthening of the individual cells and, collectively, of the entire muscle. So it is with brain cells: As we use them, they respond with changes in gene expression that, overall, increase their capacity to meet the demands we make upon them. For example, our brains register and store memories by altering gene expression in cells in the hippocampus and amygdala.
How Addictive Is Crack Cocaine
Crack is a highly addictive substance for two reasons:
When smoked, the drug enters the bloodstream almost immediately, producing instantaneous effects. Cocaine blocks the regular uptake of dopamine in the brain, causing a flood of dopamine and feel-good chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for providing pleasure, energy, and feelings of well-being. These feelings are so intense yet extremely short-lived, so some people chase a continued high, engage in crack binges, and ultimately become addicted to crack cocaine.
Like most other addictive stimulants, crack cocaine abuse causes extreme changes in the brain. Not only does crack abuse affect the normal production of dopamine, but it also affects the ways in which the body reacts to stress. As the stress circuits in the brain are impacted, people typically develop compulsive behaviors that make it terribly difficult to get sober.
Furthermore, people who are abuse crack cocaine repeatedly will develop tolerance. In short, their body will begin to require more and more of the drug to produce the desired high. As this tolerance builds, the imminent dangers associated with crack addiction become increasingly likely.
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What Does It Mean To Be Addicted To Crack
Those whove developed a crack addiction will compulsively use the substance regardless of the negative ramifications that may come their way. Someone suffering from an addiction to crack may:
- Abandon former relationships.
- Exhibit a change in personality traits.
- Spend money without paying bills.
- Encounter legal issues from use.
Use of crack is not a standalone indicator of addiction, but with cracks highly addictive nature, addiction is likely to develop at some point.
Physical dependence a major building block of addiction refers to the point at which the body acts as if it needs the drug to function normally. An individual with a crack dependency will frequently experience distressing withdrawal symptoms without the drug.
Are Any Prescription Drugs Available To Treat Cocaine Addiction
No medications are currently approved specifically to treat cocaine addiction. Researchers are studying the use of medications approved for other conditions to treat cocaine addiction. The medications showing the most promise are psychostimulants, modafinil, bupropion, topiramate and disulfiram. However, due to small study size and inconsistent results, there is no strong support for any individual drug at this time.
A cocaine vaccine is in early testing stage. The hope of this vaccine is to reduce the risk of relapse and the return to cocaine use. The vaccine works by stimulating the production of cocaine-specific antibodies. These antibodies bind to cocaine, preventing it from crossing the blood-brain barrier and stimulating the pleasure center. So far, studies in humans have shown mixed results. Some patients with high levels of antibodies were better in abstaining from cocaine. However, other studies showed no difference in ability to abstain between those with higher levels of antibodies versus those who received a placebo vaccine.
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What Is The Difference Between Powder Cocaine And Crack Cocaine
Chemically, there is very little difference between crack cocaine and powder cocaine.
Crack cocaine is a freebase version of powder cocaine. This means that the cocaine component is freed from the hydrochloric salt from which it is bound.
In the 1980s and 1990s, lawmakers and public opinion considered crack cocaine to be much more addictive and harmful than powder cocaine. The sentencing for drug possession reflected this, enforcing the same penalty that you would receive for 100g of powder cocaine for just 1g of crack cocaine.
However, several scientific studies have questioned the extent to which crack cocaine is more addictive than powder cocaine. They argue that there are higher addiction rates among crack users because they are more susceptible to becoming dependent on the substance. The demonization of crack cocaine and its harsh sentencing instead results from racial biases intending to persecute the overwhelmingly black demographic that use crack cocaine.
Currently, there is no conclusive evidence on whether or not crack cocaine is more addictive than powder cocaine. There remains, however, an 18:1 disparity in the sentencing of the two substances in United States law.
How Prevalent Is Crack Cocaine Use In The Uk And Abroad
While the numbers of people using crack cocaine in the UK are still relatively low around 4,200 people entered treatment for crack use in 2017-18 in the UK they do appear to be on the rise, with a 4.4% increase between 2014-15 and 2016-17.
This suggests that the UK does have an issue with crack use. One possible explanation for the recent rise in people receiving crack treatment could be so-called special offers on crack cocaine, with crack going down in price recently.
Another is the county lines phenomenon, where drug dealers ferry their product from large cities such as London and Manchester to smaller towns, often using children as mules.
A final explanation is the increase in purity of cocaine, with many users and scientists reporting that purer cocaine is flooding the market.
One EU study looked at cocaine use among selected dance music populations. It found the highest proportion of cocaine use among the UK sample, with 42% having used cocaine in the last 30 days, and around 75% having used cocaine during their lifetime.
By contrast, in the Netherlands, 20% of clubbers had used cocaine in the last 30 days, and 32% had used it during their lifetime.
This data suggests that the UK has relatively high cocaine use compared to other European countries, although only a small proportion of this will be crack cocaine use.
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Crack Cocaine Addiction Treatment
Addiction affects each person differently, so treatment should be tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual.9 An initial assessment will help determine the proper level of care.15
Crack cocaine addiction treatment can occur in various settings and levels of intensity, depending on how severe a persons struggle with addiction is and other needs they may have.9 Inpatient or outpatient settings can each offer different levels of intensity, and may be adjusted to meet your needs as you progress through the program.9, 15
Ensuring that treatment is tailored to the individuals and not just the disorder, increases the likelihood for a successful long-term recovery.9 As you progress in treatment, your needs may change, so the treatment facility should reassess your treatment plan periodically.9 A treatment program may also address:9
- Your physical health concerns.
- Parenting skills.
- Co-occurring mental health conditions.
Treatment programs utilize behavioral therapies, sometimes more than one at a time, to help you overcome substance use and create positive changes in your life.9
What Are The Stages Of Crack Addiction
Every crack user has their own story about how they started using crack, but there are certain stages which are common to many crack users.
- First crack experience. It all begins with the first time you take crack. One use is not enough to make you addicted, but the overwhelming euphoria that people feel when they first take crack often makes people want a repeat of that experience
- Growing accustomed to crack. After the first experience, some decide that they never want to try crack again. Others, however, feel an urge to take more crack, and those that do enter a phase in which they rapidly familiarise themselves with the drug, and begin to develop cravings
- Developing a habit. Once crack use becomes a regular, daily experience, a third phase has been reached. In this phase, crack use starts to become a habit. Cravings become a normal part of life, and using and procuring crack starts to take precedence over other, previously important things such as relationships with loved ones
- Dependence becomes addiction. When crack use takes over all aspects of life, and you continue to use it despite serious negative consequences, you have developed an addiction. At this stage, proper treatment is needed in order to help you overcome your addiction safely and effectively
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Crack In African American Communities
The initiation of crack cocaine into socially eroded communities took place during President Ronald Reagans term in office, when there was a structural shift that caused huge manufacturing industries to move outside the cities. Their relocation created workforce competitions that further widened the gap between social and economic segments in the inner cities of America.
Few skills and resources were needed to sell crack. Many small-time drug dealers worked independently and outside the control of organizations like the Medellín cartel. The rewards clearly outweighed the risks. A small-time drug dealer who sold crack daily earned a median net income of $2,000 per month. The increase in the demand for crack cocaine caused intense competition between drug dealers as they fought to profit from the same customers. Consequently, violence became linked to crack cocaine as these small-time drug dealers defended their economic boundaries.
The emergence of crack cocaine in the inner cities led to a drastic increase in crime between 1981 and 1986. Federal prison admission for drug offenses soared, and murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rates increased significantly. There were also marked increases in robbery and aggravated assault.
More About The Addictiveness Of Crack Cocaine
They say that once you try crack you cant go back, but is this true? Data collected from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse found that roughly 6.2 million American adults abuse crack cocaine on an annual basis. Because crack cocaine is potent and cheap to make, it is also commonly used among high school students and young adults. Because this drug is so powerfully addictive, even using crack cocaine one or two times can lead to physical and psychological dependence.
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Early Signs Symptoms And Complications Of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine is a highly addictive amphetamine, and around 1.5 million people in the United States will use cocaine in a given month. People between the ages of 18 25 have the highest cocaine addiction rates of any age cohort.
Roughly half a million people will visit an emergency room this year for cocaine abuse.
- Weight loss
- White residue on hands, nose, and mouth
- Financial difficulties
- Burn marks on hands and lips
While cocaine is addictive, its derivative, crack cocaine, is worse. Crack is made by combining powder cocaine with water and baking soda. It is boiled down into a solid, and once cooled, is broken in pieces and sold as crack. This highly concentrated form of cocaine is cheaper than cocaine and more addictive. Some people will become addicted to crack after the first hit.
Also, cocaine and crack differ in the manner in which they are consumed. While cocaine is snorted in its powder form, crack is smoked. It gets its name from the sound it makes when it is heated in a pipe.
Because crack is highly concentrated cocaine and much cheaper, its harder for people to quit. Many people who start out with a cocaine habit will switch to crack as a cheaper alternative to getting high. Also, cracks effects, while intense, dont last as long as cocaine. Thus, its more psychologically addictive. Crack is considered much more harmful than cocaine and is the second most addictive drug on the market. Heroin is the most addictive and detrimental street drug.