Gaining popularity in the 1980’s right after the height of the cocaine era of the ’70s, crack abuse became so pervasive that it reached epidemic proportions by the early 1990s. While opioids have taken over as the most widely abused drug in the country today, crack still remains one of the most commonly abused illicit substances here and across the world.
What is Crack?
Crack is a semi-synthetic substance. It is made by dissolving powder cocaine in a mixture of water and baking soda and then boiling it. As it cools, it hardens like a rock, which is where the slang term “rock” is derived from. That rock is then cut into smaller rocks and sold. People who abuse crack often smoke it by putting the rock in a crack pipe and heating it. However, it is also common practice to inject this substance. This is done by mixing crack with a household item like vinegar, lemon juice, or even soda. More risk is associated with injecting crack because of the potential for bloodborne diseases or developing an infection.
Signs of a Crack Addiction
Crack is a stimulant, which means that it produces stimulant effects. These effects include excessive energy, increased heart rate, and talkativeness. However, when a crack addiction is occurring, the stimulant effects are often more intense. They can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Decreased appetite
- High blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Alertness (sometimes to the point of paranoia)
These symptoms can occur anytime you use crack but does not always signify an addiction. Wanting to abuse crack to achieve these effects can serve as the beginning stages of addiction.
The specific stimulant effects that are produced by abusing crack are not the only potential signs of crack addiction. If you are addicted to crack, you are probably exhibiting behavioral, psychological, and other physical signs of your addiction. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you may try to hide it, your addiction will eventually become noticeable. Consider the following signs of crack addiction:
- Hiding your crack use from others/using in secret
- Putting your crack use above all other responsibilities in your life
- No longer showing interest in previously enjoyed activities/hobbies
- Withdrawing from friends, family, loved ones, and others
- Slipping in your performance at work and/or school
- Ignoring your hygienic needs
- Making attempts to stop using but continuing to use
- Stealing money to buy crack
- Being deceitful about whereabouts
- Swift changes in mood
- Feeling like you can’t function without using
- Depression (especially when coming down from a high)
- Spending an excessive amount of time thinking about using crack
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when unable to use
- Having cravings to continue using
- Using crack repetitively in one sitting to stay high (a crack high only lasts about 15 minutes)
- Manipulating crack into different forms when using (e.g. breaking it down to inject)
- Abusing other substances to counteract the effects of crack (e.g. using heroin to help bring down the heart and respiratory rates)
If your crack addiction has reached a point where you are seeing some of the signs listed above, get help. You do not have to continue to abuse crack and suffer the consequences of doing so.
Dangers of Crack Addiction
There is no value to crack. Nothing about this substance is good for you from a physical or mental standpoint. Therefore, abusing it is only going to lead you down a path of destruction. Your crack addiction can cause some or all of the above-listed signs to develop. And, once those signs are noticeable, chances are that your wellbeing is at risk.
Depending on specific factors like how much crack you are using, you can be jeopardizing your life. Some of the most common dangers associated with crack addiction can include the following:
- Legal problems – Crack is an illegal substance. If you are caught using it or with it in your possession, you can be arrested. Depending on the situation, you could face fines and/or jail time. While the stigma surrounding addiction is breaking, it has not been completely broken. It’s less likely for you to be ordered to get professional help than it is to for you to receive a charge. It is possible that you may continue to get into legal trouble despite previous consequences. The physical and mental need to keep using can become more important than obeying the law.
- Health problems – Similar to pure cocaine, crack is tied to several cardiovascular health problems. If you are addicted to crack, you are at risk for suffering any of the following health problems:
- Heart attack
- Arterial damage
- High blood pressure
- The myocardium (death of heart muscles)
- Social problems – Chances are that if you are addicted to crack, you use frequently. Of course, everyone uses crack differently, but the high is very short. This means that if you want to stay high, you need to keep using it. Your cyclical use of crack can interfere with your social life in a number of ways. Not only are you putting all your focus on your crack addiction, but you are probably withdrawing from others. The relationships you have can become strained or broken and making new relationships can be difficult. Things between you and your family might be rocky, especially because addiction is a family disease. A lack of positive social interaction can lead to loneliness, depression, and further isolation. All of these feelings can fuel your continued crack abuse.
The consequential results of your crack abuse can also serve as signs of crack addiction. It does not take years of abusing crack to suffer a heart attack or be served divorce papers. These consequences can happen anytime. Thankfully, by getting help, you can eliminate further personal, physical, and mental risks.
Do You Need Professional Addiction Treatment? Call Us Today. We Can Help.
If you are struggling with a crack addiction, do not hesitate to ask for help. At our drug treatment center, we can help you stop your active addiction for good. We can aid in the development of skills that can keep you sober for the long haul. Most importantly, we can offer you our continued support.
Do not wait. Call us right now. We can help.