Crack addiction, much like any other addiction comes with withdrawal. A person becomes addicted to a substance, especially crack, after their body has become accustomed to having the drug on a daily basis. The addiction can be mental and physical. Often times, an addict will not quit using because they are afraid of going through the withdrawal phase. This phase is extremely difficult for crack addicts as the process can be long, painful and mentally taxing. However, once the withdrawal phase is over, true healing and recovery can begin.
Crack is a form of cocaine that is smoked and is stronger than powder cocaine. Once a person begins using crack they immediately become addicted. For some, mental addiction can start after their very first use while others might not experience addiction until they have used several times. Yet, physical addiction is the same across all users. After the very first hit of crack physical addiction and withdrawal set in. The body immediately begins to crave more of the drug and the user will start to experience symptoms as soon as the high wears off.
Crack Withdrawal Symptoms
Physical crack withdrawal symptoms can last up to a week. Additionally, mental crack withdrawal can last anywhere from a week to up to six months depending how much crack a person used on a daily basis. Heavy users will experience withdrawal symptoms for a much longer period of time than those that would be considered light users.
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Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
- Lung cancer
- Extreme weight loss
- Black phlegm in the lungs
- Difficulty sleeping
- Extreme shakiness
- Heart Attack
These physical withdrawal symptoms last on average about a week. However, in some cases these symptoms have been known to last for much longer periods of time; anywhere from 1-3 months. There is no known way to determine how long withdrawal symptoms will last for each person. Every person’s addiction is different and therefore the withdrawal is different as well.
Mental Withdrawal Symptoms
- Tactile/audio hallucinations
- Hyper sexuality
- Fear of impending doom/death
- Difficulty concentrating
- Intense cravings
- Mood changes
- Lack of motivation
- Inability to feel pleasure/joy/happiness
- Anger/emotional outbursts
Mental withdrawal symptoms last much longer than physical withdrawal symptoms. The mental withdrawal process can last for weeks to months and in some cases longer. The drug cravings are the most dangerous mental symptom because they can cause a recovering addict to relapse and go back to using crack.
Crack withdrawal is a dangerous process for all users, no matter how long they were using crack cocaine. Because withdrawal is so dangerous, crack addicts seeking to detox are encouraged to go to a detox center or facility so they can be monitored and receive proper medical attention should the need arise. Common forms of detox are in-patient detox centers, hospitalization, chemical detox and other forms are also available. The most widely known form of detox is quitting cold turkey but, because of the dangers and severity of the withdrawal symptoms this form of detox is highly discouraged regarding crack cocaine.
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How to Stop Crack Cravings
Once a person stops using crack they will experience an extremely intense desire and the need for more of the drug. These are known as cravings. Cravings for crack are extremely dangerous, if a person is unable to control their cravings they will most likely end up using crack again only to start the cycle of addiction all over again only with the risk of overdose becoming greater. Cravings are both physical and psychological. The physical cravings of crack will subside after a period of time when the body goes through the detox process. However, the mental and psychological craving for crack will remain for a greater length of time.
What do psychological cravings look like?
- Obsessive thoughts
- Vivid dreams about using crack
- Strong desire to do anything to get crack
- Paranoia (such as people around them have crack and are keeping it from them for their own purpose of making the addict suffer)
- Inability to focus on anything else
In order to combat these cravings for long-term success, multiple programs and therapies are available to help crack cocaine addicts learn how to control and overcome these cravings. Through addiction treatment an addict will go through the process of targeting these cravings, learning how to deal with them in a constructive manner that doesn’t result in relapse or further use of crack. Such therapies and treatments include: cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, relapse prevention and others. In addition to these therapies addiction treatment centers also offer numerous different programs and activities to help crack addicts get back into the swing of life without the aid of drugs. Such activities include: volunteer work, equine therapy, sports, doing things outdoors, yoga/exercise and others.
Also, a person suffering from intense crack cocaine cravings can also receive help from medications. Medications have not been recognized by the FDA as a solid alternative to combat crack cravings. However, the use of some medications has been known to help reduce the onset of cravings and block the drug-induced euphoria brought on by the use of drugs. Such medications are: baclofen, modafinil and disulfiram. Even with the aid of medications, addiction treatment is still needed for long-term sobriety.
Crack cocaine still remains a prominent and extremely dangerous drug in our society today. When a person decides to experiment with crack cocaine, even once, they are essentially opening themselves up to crack addiction and a future full of pain and anguish. Through withdrawal, detox and addiction treatment crack addicts will be able to find their way again without the use of drugs. But this is only possible when each individual person makes the decision to quit for themselves.
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