Understanding Crack and Cocaine Addiction
There are two forms of cocaine, the powder which is ingested through the nose and crack cocaine which is inhaled in a vapour form. Crack cocaine is a hard mineral-like substance which can prove fatal even after one use.
What is Crack Addiction?
While regular cocaine is also problematic, crack addiction is far more threatening. It is more potent and addictive. Therefore, its addiction develops rapidly and it only takes one time for a persona to get addicted to it. The experience is immensely pleasurable but short. The person requires frequent doses to maintain it. Hence, the addiction grows.
This happens because crack sets off excess amounts of the happiness-inducing chemical, dopamine, in the brain. Due to habitual crack cocaine use, the natural production of dopamine is diminished as the body becomes dependent upon
Strong cravings for the drug along with the desire to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms make it very hard to quit. People addicted to crack tend to ignore the negative consequences caused by their drug use.
Effects of Cocaine and Crack
As pleasurable the drug is, its ill-effects are as life-threatening. So, cocaine addiction treatment must be carried out as soon as possible. Here’s how cocaine and crack affect the human body:
- Cardiovascular damage: The most common effect of cocaine is a fatal heart attack. The use of crack and cocaine lead to elevated blood pressure levels, rapid heartbeat and vasoconstriction in the brain and all through the body. It shows through high-energy, stress, anxiety as well as paranoia.
- Cardiovascular damage: Immediate side effects from cocaine and crack cocaine include elevated blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and vasoconstriction in the brain and throughout the body. This reflects the person’s experience of high energy, anxiety, stress, and paranoia. Chronic abuse of both cocaine and crack cocaine can damage the cardiovascular system in several ways, including:
- Blood clots leading to heart attack, pulmonary embolism, stroke, and deep vein thrombosis
- Arrhythmia, or irregular heart rate
- Permanently increased blood pressure
- Angina, or chest pain from tightening of the vessels
- Myocardial infarction, or the death of heart muscle from lack of oxygen related to poor blood flow
- Brain Damage: Cocaine or crack restricts the supply of oxygen into the brain because of blood clots and poor blood flow. Hence, it leads to brain damage which can include:
- Mini-strokes, or transient ischemic attacks
- Cerebral atrophy, or brain shrinking
- Cerebral vasculitis, or inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain and/or spinal column
- Hyperpyrexia, or exceptionally high fever from a disease that requires medical attention
- Changes to prefrontal and temporal lobe functioning, which hurts problem-solving, decision-making, spatial understanding, vocabulary, attention, learning, and memory
- Changes to neurotransmitter production and absorption, which can lead to mood disorders
- Changes to movement, causing tremors, muscle weakness, changes in gait, etc.
The worst part about cocaine addiction is that there is no correlation between the frequency of ingestions and its effects. A heart attack or damage to the brain can occur on even the first-time user of the drug.
Treatment of Cocaine and Crack Addiction
Treatment of cocaine and crack is the same as the treatment of any other substance abuse. The patient requires rehabilitation, counselling and might also require some medical intervention. Some of the best rehab centres in India offer de-addiction treatments, particularly to cocaine. But to understand the treatment, one must understand how does the human body react to detoxification of cocaine.
Any form of detox of a substance, especially drugs, have some effects on the human body. Since the body is physically accustomed to the drug, it reacts negatively when the drug is not given to it. While for alcohol or meth, detoxification can also prove to be fatal. Hence, it can only be administered under medical care. However, for cocaine, the withdrawal is different.
The body rarely reacts to sudden abstinence from cocaine. It easily adapts to detoxification. Hence, it fools a lot of people into believing that they are not addicted to it. But the withdrawal from cocaine or crack is mostly an emotional one. Withdrawal symptoms for cocaine may include:
The post-acute withdrawal symptoms for cocaine are similar to those of other drugs:
- Mood swings
- Variable energy
- Low enthusiasm
- Poor concentration
- Sleep disturbances
The drug affects their life negatively but they have a problem with abstaining from it because of the sheer pleasure it provides.
Recovering from a cocaine addiction problem can be difficult if dealt with alone. So, it’s best to take the help of professionals to eliminate any chances of relapse.