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Crack Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment
Do Something Before It’s Too Late
Away from movie and TV depictions, crack cocaine addiction is a serious, deadly problem for thousands of people across Ireland.
Recognising the signs and symptoms of a crack dependency at the soonest possible moment is vital for getting you or someone you love into urgent addiction treatment.
One reason Crack is more addictive than cocaine is that the chemicals in the drug reach the brain much much faster; it is less of a high and more of a rush. Therefore, even in a very short period, crack can become addictive.
If you or a loved one is using crack and is becoming progressively paranoid, angry and aggressive, you/they need help. We understand the pain and the grips of a crack addiction, making us the right rehab team to map out and navigate the next steps to recovery.
We know that an addiction to any drug can be worrying, but we’re here, waiting for you in real-time. So get in touch when you’re ready.
Safe Detoxification from Drugs & Alcohol
Crack Cocaine Breakdown
- What is it? Would you recognise crack if you saw it in your home? It’s a crystalised form of cocaine that comes in tiny, rock-like crystals in varying shades of white. Crack cocaine is a free base form of cocaine that can be smoked and injected. The high offered to users is short but intense and is recognised as one of the most addictive forms of cocaine. Crack cocaine is the mixture of cocaine and baking soda, which, when boiled together, creates a solid form that can be broken down into smaller pieces once cooled.
- Street names: Crack, rock, blow, freebase, flake
- Signs of use: The tell-tale signs of crack cocaine use in a user often display excessive and perhaps uncharacteristic bursts of energy and stimulation, pushing the boundaries of any regular type of excitement. These manic activities include talking rapidly, widely consuming substances, lacking appetite and being noticeably nervous and agitated. Makeshift or glass pipes are also an indicator.
- Poly-use (common substance combinations): The use of opiates alongside cocaine or crack cocaine is common. The practice of ‘snowballing’ or ‘speed balling’ (injecting crack and heroin together) is regularly reported. Alcohol misuse is also common in all types of drug users, with the NDTMS reporting a total of 47% of participants abusing alcohol and drugs at the same time.
- Side effects: When the dose of the drugs wears off, dependent users will show huge signs of fatigue and will often fall asleep anywhere and for prolonged periods. Regular sleep habits are rendered impossible, causing unpredictable mood swings and violent and argumentative behaviours. “Like amphetamine, it produces euphoria, tachycardia, hypertension and appetite suppression.” Source.
- Long-term medical effects: Severe depression, suicidal thoughts, paranoia and hallucinations. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help immediately.
- Withdrawal: Those with a crack cocaine dependency are at risk of uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms when they stop using. It is reported that the first five days of stopping crack are the hardest. Source. However, the withdrawal timeline can extend up to four weeks.
All It Takes Is One Hit
According to this source, it does not take high amounts or frequent usage of crack cocaine for the brain to be effectively rewired.
When the drug hits your system, it strikes the brain’s mesolimbic dopamine system, forcing the production of dopamine, which in turn awards the user with intense feelings of pleasure and gratification, thus creating a strong anticipation to experience more of these feelings.
The strength of this release in dopamine after a single dose of crack exceeds any level of satisfaction that would be derived from any normal or healthy activity.
In fact, especially in the case of cocaine, the brain is prevented from breaking down and reabsorbing the dopamine, which effectively puts the dependent user in a frenzy of ecstasy and stimulation, creating an instant hook.
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Treatment Works: Crack Cocaine Rehab
Just like your brain is rewired to believe that crack cocaine is the form of pleasure available, there are therapeutic interventions we can use to wire the brain back to its original, healthy state.
Overcoming an addiction to crack cocaine is possible; however, due to the highly addictive nature of the drug, it is recommended to involve medical professionals to ensure a safe, stable and comfortable withdrawal process.
Features of a crack cocaine addiction treatment programme:
- Minimum 28-day stay duration
- 1-4 week drug detoxes
- Dual diagnosis assessments
- Intensive individual therapy (CBT, DBT, EMDR)
- Daily group therapies, couple & family therapies
- Nutritional and general health management and mental health care
Explore our detox and therapeutic options for a crack cocaine dependency at our inpatient, residential facility 40 minutes from Dublin – we have specially trained medical staff and mental health nurses to help you every step of the way.
The First Step: A Crack Cocaine Detox
Typically after the first week of crack withdrawal, users generally recover from the extreme physical symptoms – this is often due to the help and supervision of a team of medical professionals.
At Smarmore Castle, we have private, dedicated detox units that can ease you into withdrawal with all your symptoms managed.
By withdrawing from crack cocaine with Smarmore Castle, you avoid all the dangers of a crack cocaine overdose. And as several mental health issues arise due to prolonged crack cocaine use, it will be the safest option to undergo detoxification in a medical facility like ours, where we have round-the-clock monitoring and support from doctors and mental health nurses.
“Psychiatric comorbidity among cocaine-dependent users is not only increased for other substance disorders, but also for personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depressive disorders.” – Relationship between cocaine use and mental health – NCBI.
Crack Cocaine and Mental Health
Various treatment workers and service users agree and believe that crack is responsible for causing many mental health difficulties, including paranoia and the tendency to be more aggressive than usual.
It is thought that the highly addictive nature of the drug leads users to become more desperate and undertake more daring and dangerous acts compared to heroin users, for example, robbery and shoplifting.
It’s also been noted that these particular acts are not always carried out under the influence of crack but rather linked to long-term psychosis caused by prolonged crack use.
Quick Assessment & Admissions
We Know How You Feel.
You’ve got so much on your mind and are likely to be in great pain. We hope it will make you worry less knowing that you have access to round-the-clock care and support whenever you need it.
Allow Smarmore Castle to bring comfort and strength to you and your family through the weeks ahead.
We have astounding success rates that have helped many just like you navigate this difficult time, providing them with the hope and healing they needed to pull through.
It all begins with a call – speak to us on ++353 41 214 5111.
- How to Access Rehab With Health Insurance
For those experiencing existing mental health conditions in Ireland, there are private medical insurers who can help you cover treatment. As addiction experts, we know that receiving the appropriate care and support when you have a mental health disorder is pivotal to attaining long-lasting recovery. Below, we will go through the various health insurance options to help you understand your options when it comes to seeking private residential care for substance abuse. Please note that there is no guarantee that you can be covered for all addiction problems as policies are always assessed on a case-by-case basis. Find Out More
- My Loved One Doesn’t Want Help, What Do I Do?
You can’t force someone to go to rehab. At the end of the day, it needs to be their decision because they are the ones that need to be open to turning their lives around. There are ways in which you can encourage someone to enter treatment, one of these ways is via an intervention with a trained interventionist, who facilitates an honest discussion between family members and the addict. This is something Smarmore Castle can arrange – contact us today.
- Which Drugs Does Smarmore Castle Detox From?
- How Long Is the Treatment Programme?
Our treatment programme starts at 4 weeks and is flexible in length, giving you the opportunity to extend for a longer period if you need it.
- Do You Treat Dual Diagnosis?
All patients are reviewed by a consultant psychiatrist in the first week and we can diagnose and provide treatment for a number of co-occurring mental health conditions.
- Do I Need to Be Abstinent Before Admission?
Our medically managed detoxification with 24/7 medical cover means that we can perform complete and complex detoxes at Smarmore Castle. You don’t need to be abstinent before arrival.
- How Do I Get To Rehab Safely?
Smarmore Castle is one hour north of Dublin international airport, please speak to our advisors if you require collection from an airport.
We can also arrange a ‘sober transport’ service with a trusted driver, from anywhere in Ireland or Northern Ireland, at an additional cost.