The Symptoms and Side Effects of Crack Withdrawal

crack withdrawal side effects

What is Crack Cocaine?

Cocaine is an illegal stimulant drug that is derived from the leaves of the South American coca plant. Crack, or crack cocaine, is a form of cocaine that has been processed into a rock crystal. Users smoke the crystal, inhaling the vapors. Crack cocaine is the second most trafficked illegal drug in the world.

How Does Crack Affect the Body

The effects of crack on the body begin with the brain. Crack increases dopamine levels in the brain, creating a “high” feeling of happiness, alertness, and high energy. It does so by circumventing the brain’s normal pattern of recycling dopamine, creating a euphoric rush. This high is short-lived, lasting between 5 and 10 minutes. The vapors from crack reach the brain more quickly than snorting powdered cocaine, producing a more rapid, intense high.

Crack’s effects are not limited to the brain, however.  Side effects include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle twitches
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Hypersensitivity to light, sound, and touch.

Crack overdose can occur after the first use or any subsequent use. If treated immediately, recovery from an overdose is possible, but it can cause death by heart attack, stroke, respiratory failure, cerebral hemorrhage, or seizure. Crack users are also more likely to engage in risky behavior, putting them at higher risk for infection with HIV and hepatitis C.

Crack Cocaine Addiction

Frequent use of crack leads to both tolerance and addiction. The user will require a higher or more frequent dose to achieve the same high, will crave crack, and suffer symptoms of withdrawal without it. Crack is one of the most addictive forms of cocaine, leaving the user psychologically and physically dependent on it.

Crack Use During Pregnancy

When a pregnant woman uses crack, it can affect the pregnancy and the developing fetus. When taken in the first few months of pregnancy, crack can increase the risk of miscarriage or lead to placental abruption late in pregnancy. Placental abruption can cause severe bleeding, early birth, and even fetal death.

In pregnancies carried to term, crack passes through the placenta to the fetus, where it can cause brain damage and congenital disabilities. So-called “crack babies” may suffer:

  • Smaller than average head size
  • Reduced growth potential
  • Kidney, brain, and genital defects

Even in children who appear developmentally typical, exposure to crack in the womb can cause deficits in cognitive performance, attention to tasks, and information processing.

Symptoms of Crack Withdrawal

It is a challenge to overcome crack addiction, but it is not impossible. The first step is detoxification to allow all traces of crack to leave the body. Detox will cause symptoms of withdrawal. Symptoms may begin within hours of the last hit of crack, and can include:

  • Aggression and violence
  • Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Paranoia
  • Extreme cravings for crack
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Exhaustion
  • Flu-like symptoms

A supportive rehab environment can help the user during this time when the risk of relapse is high. Medications can be used to ease the withdrawal symptoms or to help the user gradually wean off of crack. Medications can include:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Pain relievers
  • Anti-seizure medications

Counseling can be helpful in determining the mental and emotional root of the drug abuse and prepare the user for a sober future. This may include understanding triggers for drug use and how to avoid them, new techniques for dealing with stressful situations, and how to structure a sober lifestyle.

If you or someone you loves struggles with crack addiction, call our toll-free number today.

Cocaine and its Highly Addictive Properties

cocaine addiction

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is an illegal stimulant, sold on the street as a fine white powder. It is derived from the leaves of the South American coca plant.  Users snort cocaine, rub it on their gums, or mix it with water to inject into the bloodstream. Sometimes cocaine is combined with other stimulant drugs, such as amphetamine, or dealers may mix it with other powders, such as flour or cornstarch, to increase profits. It is a commonly used recreational drug that can have devastating side effects, from instant death to long-term damage to the body.

What is Crack Cocaine?

Crack cocaine is a highly addictive form of cocaine that has been processed into crystals. Users smoke the crystal, inhaling the vapors. Crack cocaine is the second most trafficked illegal drug in the world.

Cocaine and its Effects

How ever it enters the body, cocaine increases dopamine levels in the brain, creating a “high” feeling of happiness, alertness, and high energy. It does so by circumventing the brain’s normal pattern of recycling dopamine. The brain usually releases dopamine as a response to a pleasurable stimulus and then recycles it. Cocaine causes the brain to release dopamine, but instead of recycling it, allows it to build up, creating a euphoric rush. This high can last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on the method used.

Cocaine’s effects are not limited to the brain, however. As a stimulant, cocaine causes:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle twitches
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate

Other side effects include paranoia, irritability, and hypersensitivity to light, sound, and touch. The various methods of using cocaine damage the body in different ways:

  • Oral ingestion: damage to bowel from reduced blood flow
  • Needle injection: increased risk of hepatitis C, HIV, and other bloodborne pathogens
  • Snorting: loss of sense of smell,  chronic runny nose, nose bleeds, difficulty swallowing

A cocaine overdose occurs when the user takes in more cocaine than the body can handle. An overdose can occur after the first use or any subsequent use. If treated immediately, recovery from an overdose is possible, but it can cause death by heart attack, stroke, respiratory failure, cerebral hemorrhage, or seizure. Cocaine users are also at risk for infection with HIV and hepatitis C, even if they are not injection users because they are more likely to engage in risky behavior.

Signs of Addiction

Frequent use of cocaine leads to both tolerance and addiction. Tolerance to cocaine means that the user will require a higher or more frequent dose to achieve the same high. Addiction means that the user will crave cocaine and suffer symptoms of withdrawal without it. Cocaine and crack addictions are some of the most devastating addictions, leading people to act in ways they would never have before their addiction. Addicts will go so far as to commit a crime, all to obtain the drug.

The first step in treating cocaine and crack addiction is to recognize the signs of addiction. A person addicted to cocaine may show the following symptoms:

  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Mood change
  • Insomnia
  • Denial
  • Poor hygiene
  • Loss of interest
  • Extreme weight loss

Treatment for Cocaine and Crack Addictions

Overcoming an addiction to cocaine is possible. Inpatient treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy can be very effective. In this type of treatment, the user will aim to understand the cause of the addiction and learn how to approach the future more healthily, avoiding situations that may trigger drug use. We can help you or someone you love to overcome a cocaine and crack addictions. Call us at our toll-free number today.

Signs and Symptoms of a Cocaine Addict

cocaine addict

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant that can result in an overdose with just one use.  Or, it can lead to a lifelong addiction to the drug. Sadly, cocaine addiction remains a serious problem in the United States, affecting more than one million Americans and their loved ones. If you or someone you know is addicted to cocaine, don’t hesitate to contact Choices Recovery for help. With guidance from Choices’ addiction recovery experts and the aid of the rehab’s innovative treatment programs, you can develop the skills you need to overcome your cocaine addiction and finally begin on the path to recovery.

How is Cocaine Abused?

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that is most often found in powdered form.  It is known as “coke” or “blow,” or as a solidified, rock-like substance known as “crack cocaine.”  Powdered coke is consumed by snorting it or dissolving the powder in water to be injected, Crack cocaine is used by heating the rock crystal in a pipe and inhaling the vapors this process produces. The most dangerous thing about cocaine is that a person can overdose on the first use or anytime thereafter.  Obviously, there is no “safe” way to use the drug. A cocaine overdose occurs when the person uses too much of the drug. This causes a toxic reaction that can result in serious adverse health consequences or death.

How to Recognize a Cocaine Addict

Cocaine has become the drug of choice for individuals looking for a rush of pleasurable feelings, called a “high,” which is a result of changes in the way the brain functions. The intense euphoric feeling users get from cocaine occurs because the drug affects the central nervous system  It increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for regulating feelings of pleasure. Over time, cocaine abuse interrupts the natural process of dopamine production in the brain.  It prevents the chemical from being recycled back into brain cells causing a build-up among nerve cells. As a result, users develop a tolerance to the drug, requiring more and more cocaine to produce those same feelings of euphoria. This possibly leads to a cocaine dependence and addiction. Some common signs of a cocaine addict include:

  • Paranoia
  • Panic
  • Euphoria
  • Feelings of superiority
  • Irritability
  • Nosebleeds
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Long-Term Cocaine Effects

Because the high associated with cocaine use only lasts for a short period of time, people abusing the drug often fall into a binge and crash pattern, where they repeatedly use cocaine to experience those euphoric feelings brought on by the drug, and to avoid the depression, exhaustion and other negative symptoms brought on by a crash. Sadly, frequent cocaine abuse can result in a cocaine addiction, which can have an adverse effect on the individual’s body, mood, and personal relationships. Some possible long-term cocaine effects may include:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Stroke
  • Brain damage
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Coma
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Tremors
  • Overdose
  • Death

Contact Choices Recovery for Help

According to national statistics, 1.9 million people use cocaine each month, with the highest rate of use occurring among adults 18-25 years of age. Unfortunately, many users don’t realize that cocaine is highly addictive, and by the time they begin to experience adverse cocaine effects, they may already be addicted to the drug. If you or a loved one is facing an addiction to cocaine, the addiction recovery experts at Choices Recovery can help. The founder and CEO of Choices Recovery, Per Wickstrom, struggled with an addiction to cocaine and other drugs for more than 22 years before getting clean and is now committed to helping others do the same. Contact Choices Recovery today at our toll-free number to speak to a certified substance abuse counselor about your addiction.

Hidden Signs of Cocaine Abuse

When a person is abusing drugs, they will try to hide it from anyone close to them. Drug addiction something that everyone enjoys. It is something that may have started off as fun and games until an addiction is developed. An addict will try to hide their addiction because they are ashamed. They may want help but are afraid to reach out. It is important to know the hidden signs of drug abuse. When the signs are noticeable it is OK to get that person help.

Understanding Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine can make you feel happy and excited. But then your mood can change. They can become angry, nervous, and afraid that someone’s out to get them. They might do things that make no sense.  People who abuse cocaine get a fast rush when it is used. Some people who have an addiction to cocaine begin to rely on it for the energy they thing their body is getting. Cocaine has an effect that makes abusers more alert and moving faster. The heart begins pumping faster and the mind begins races. When the high wears off they can crash for days and become depressed.

When they become depressed without it and have no energy they thought they had before they may begin to panic and figure out anyway to get more.

First Signs of Abuse

When an abuser has run out of cocaine and no longer is high they will begin panicking. You may see them trying to sell anything they can. Money or items may come up missing or they may be gone for days at a time.  If these are things you are noticing, it is ok at this point to ask questions. They may also become very moody, easily agitated, and less productivity. All the signs of when an abuser does not have cocaine are the complete opposite from when they do. When the signs and symptoms go back and forth is the time for suspicion of abuse.

Typical signs and symptoms of current cocaine use

Mood Swings

When a person is abusing cocaine, they can have various mood swings. When they first use it they will become excited and happy. But then their mood can change when the feeling begins to wear off. They can become paranoid, angry, or anxious. They may also do things that don’t make sense.

Runny Nose

People who snort cocaine can have frequent nose bleeds. In addition to nose bleeds they may have a constant runny nose as if they have a cold and they are sniffling a lot.

Dilated Pupils

A person who is under the influence of drugs will have dilated pupils and/or more alert looking eyes that are sensitive to light.

Other Noticeable Signs:
  • Increased agitation.
  • Effusive enthusiasm.
  • Increased movement (i.e. hyperactivity).
  • Increased common cold-like symptoms and/or nosebleeds.
  • Signs of involuntary movements (i.e. muscle tics).
  • Changes in concentration and focus.

Dangerous Side Effects of Cocaine Abuse

One of the most serious effects of cocaine abuse is heart muscle damage. Cocaine may cause damage by inducing cell death in the muscles of the heart (cardiomyopathy). Intravenous cocaine use can lead to inflammation of the inner tissues of the organ (endocarditis).

These cellular effects of cocaine accumulate into serious conditions such as heart attacks and cardiac arrhythmias, which may be fatal. Other symptoms of cocaine-induced cardiotoxicity include:

  • Inflammation of heart muscle.
  • Rupture of the aorta, the major artery leading from the heart.
  • Severe declines in health and life quality due to reductions in cardiac function or severe blood loss.
  • Cocaine-induced heart failure or damage may also increase the risk of stroke, or brain damage resulting from interruptions in the blood supply available to the brain.

The abuse of this drug is also associated with kidney damage. The prolonged use of cocaine is thought to be related to the inflammation of important microstructures within this organ.

If you believe someone you love may be abusing cocaine or any other substance do not hesitate to call for help today. It is never too late to call. Getting them help today could potentially save their life.