Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that can result in severe psychological addiction. It comes from the coca plant, and it has been used and abused for hundreds of years. Cocaine comes in a powder form that can be snorted or added to the liquid and injected. Crack cocaine, meanwhile, is a rock crystal-like substance. Many substance abuse therapists, medical researchers, and past users claim that crack is cocaine’s most addictive form.
Because crack cocaine is so addictive, and the physical health costs so high, there is a great need for effective rehab centers for crack cocaine addiction. At JourneyPure Bowling Green, we help people beat cocaine and crack cocaine addiction, even when rehab has been tried before.
The Effects of Cocaine
Cocaine typically comes in a powder form that can be snorted or added to the liquid and injected into the user’s veins. When done in one of these ways, the drug stimulates the reward pathways in the brain. For this reason, it is very easy to become addicted and use the drug chronically.
Crack cocaine is a rock crystal-like substance that users typically smoke in a glass pipe. Many users claim that crack is the drug’s most addictive form. It produces a faster and more intense high than cocaine in powder form.
During the rush of taking cocaine, the user’s brain floods the body with dopamine, causing an intense euphoria. This euphoria is followed instantly by a craving for more crack. Because it takes a longer time for the brain to replenish dopamine stores than the rush actually lasts, subsequent hits weaken in intensity.
During a crack cocaine binge, the user takes more and more of the drug to try and achieve the first high’s strength. This causes worsening anxiety, paranoia and anger. The most severely addicted people suffer from hallucinations and psychosis. When this happens, it’s time to consider contacting a crack cocaine rehab center.
The History of Cocaine and Crack
The coca plant is indigenous to South America, and people have chewed the leaves of the coca plant for hundreds of years, both for medical purposes and as a recreational drug. When the Spanish explored South America in the 1500s, they began taxing the coca crop after they discovered the mental effects of cocaine.
The drug spread throughout Europe and the U.S. In the past, cocaine and coca leaves were used to “cure” everything from dandruff to flatulence; today cocaine has limited clinical use as a topical anesthetic. It was not long before people discovered that the chronic abuse of cocaine quickly turns into addiction, and so laws were passed in the 1910s and 1920s to ban the substance.
Still, demand in the U.S. grew as the drug came north from Central and South America. Soon it developed a reputation for crime and violence.
Crack first appeared in major U.S. cities in the early 1980s, with the first large-scale production and use occurring in 1984 in Los Angeles, California. Because of crack cocaine’s purity, the drug was cheaper and more lethal. Many people who had built a tolerance to cocaine would overdose on crack cocaine, so much so that hospital admissions due to cocaine overdose doubled across the U.S. within one year.
Risk Factors and Side Effects of Cocaine and Crack Abuse
Cocaine does not produce physical dependency in the brain but it can cause serious damage to organs and systems. Death resulting from overdose and subsequent heart attack is a very real risk. Intravenous drug users also put themselves at risk of a variety of diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
With frequent or chronic abuse, cocaine causes physical problems such as irregular heartbeat, and spikes in body temperature and blood pressure. People who struggle with cocaine addiction often have appetite problems, nasal congestion, and sleep issues that range from insomnia to oversleeping. Regular cocaine use can also lead to the development of serious autoimmune diseases, like lupus.
In addition to all the physical risk factors associated with cocaine, people who smoke crack cocaine often suffer lung trauma. And it should be kept in mind that illicit manufacturers of crack cocaine may add a toxic substance in order to “stretch” the drug. For this reason, people who smoke crack are at risk of developing serious complications related to ingesting toxins.
Psychologically, people who abuse cocaine and crack often develop intense paranoid fantasies and violent tempers. While a user might appear euphoric at first, agitation, restlessness, and anxiety develop over time.
After a cocaine or crack cocaine binge, depression, exhaustion, and anxiety often result. This is known as the “crash.”
How Long Is Crack Cocaine Detox?
The duration of time it takes to withdraw from crack cocaine and the intensity of symptoms varies from person to person.
Generally, withdrawal symptoms appear within a couple of hours after the last dose. These symptoms persist for a few days, becoming most intense about 72 hours after the last dose.
After a week or two, the brain continues to struggle to regain normalcy and produce intense cravings. This is maybe the most critical point for slipping into relapse due to intense cravings. It is common for protracted, or post-acute, withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) to persist for months after detox.
The total time you spend during acute crack detox will depend on a number of factors including:
- amount and frequency of use
- length of habit
- level of dependency
- the patient’s general health
Crack damages brain functions and it may take three to six months after acute detox is finished for the brain to restore normal functioning.
The symptoms that occur in the phase are known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) and in most cases these decrease over time. The most common symptoms of PAWS usually include anxiety, depression, fatigue, and insomnia.
While the physical withdrawal symptoms from crack detox are most severe within the first week after the last use and reduce with each passing day, the psychological withdrawal symptoms may persist for weeks and even months after cessation.
While detox is not an easy process, it is a necessary part of recovery. Of course, detox is only a beginning. It will not resolve an addiction to crack. Ongoing individual and group therapy, as well as healthy diet and exercise, are necessary in order for the patient to get and stay healthy.
Getting Help At Our Cocaine & Crack Detox In Kentucky
At JourneyPure Bowling Green, we help patients manage uncomfortable cocaine and crack withdrawal symptoms and instruct them on how to keep cravings at bay. At the same time, patients will learn why and how their drug abuse became a problem and develop the tools needed to rebuild a satisfying, drug-free lifestyle.
You don’t have to let cocaine define your choices. Call us now for a complimentary consultation and find out how we can help you find your path to freedom, starting today.