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Crack is a term used to describe cocaine that has been mixed and “cooked” with baking soda and ammonia. The chemical process that ensues when the cocaine is mixed with these elements results in a hardened, more potent form of cocaine that is generally smoked to produce intense, but very short, euphoria. When heat is placed to the drug, the chemicals make a crackling sound which is why this form of the drug is called, “crack.”
According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, crack cocaine is more potent than regular cocaine and increases the risk of compulsive use for the individual. After just a single use of crack cocaine, the risk of addiction is evident. Some users will become psychologically addicted to this drug immediately; they will seek the euphoria and stimulant effects of the drug after just a single use.
Crack addiction treatment is often necessary for users who make the decision to abuse crack cocaine because quitting becomes very difficult as the drug’s physical and psychological strongholds take effect.
Recognizing the Need for Treatment
If you or someone you love has been abusing crack cocaine, addiction treatment may be the only safe and sure way of getting your life back on track. Recognizing the need for help can be difficult, especially when your instincts are overrun by your cravings and a desire to use. Pay close attention to the following signs that crack cocaine is ruining your life or the life of someone you love:
- Severe depression when crack is not being used
- Violent outbursts when not using
- Strong cravings which result in drug-seeking behaviors
- History of aggressiveness, mood swings or erratic behaviors when crack is not being used
- History of aggressiveness, mood swings or erratic behaviors when the drug IS being used
- Poor health but a continued desire to use
If you feel like you can’t go a single day without crack or as if life simply is not worth living unless you are high, crack addiction treatment is not only necessary, it could be a lifesaving decision for you.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders, “a maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, which occurs in a 12-month period,” signifies a substance abuse disorder such as crack addiction. Any of the following signs could mean that you need treatment for crack addiction:
- Failure to maintain roles at work, home or school; neglecting responsibilities.
- Failure to refrain from drug use in situations which are risky or dangerous such as while operating a vehicle or while working.
- Failure to quit using even after physical fights have ensued, arguments with loved ones have occurred or promises have been made to quit.
- Markedly increased amounts of the drug are necessary in order to produce the same effects.
- Drug-seeking behavior has taken over other areas of your life and you are predisposed or preoccupied with the need to smoke crack.
- You feel sick, unhappy, miserable or otherwise off when you don’t smoke crack.
- Use of crack is no longer controlled, you smoke and smoke until it’s gone or maybe you even seek more when it’s gone.
- Important activities, such as time with family and friends or participation in a hobby, have been put off in order to use.
- Cravings are so strong that they create a distinct desire to use which is difficult to avoid.
Types of Crack Addiction Treatment
If you or someone you love is addicted, choosing treatment is the first step that you will take towards getting sober. There are a number of options available to make your fight a little bit easier and more comfortable. First, you must consider the primary methods of crack addiction treatment which include:
- Residential treatment – around-the-clock care, counseling and therapy, meals and housing provided in a residential setting where you can focus 100% of your time on recovery without interruption and with minimal risk of relapse as you will live in a facility where drugs and alcohol are strictly prohibited.
- Outpatient treatment – occasional care, counseling and therapy, no meals or housing provided because you live at home while you attend regularly scheduled treatment sessions that allow you to get the help that you need while also staying in close contact with your family, returning home after treatment and being free to work or attend school while you are receiving help.
If you are heavily addicted to crack cocaine, you use regularly and have tried other methods of quitting but have been unsuccessful, chances are you will need the intense treatment offered by a residential treatment program in order to kick start your sobriety and stabilize your body so that you don’t relapse. Residential treatment removes you from the situation, allows you to get the help and support that you need and keeps you in a safe environment which reduces your risk of relapse. Unfortunately, this type of treatment is also costly and if you have a job or care for a family at home, you will have to make other arrangements as you will spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in treatment until you are released from the program or you make the decision to release yourself.
If your crack addiction is controllable, you have a strong family support network at home, and you have not completely lost touch with reality (ie. You still have a job, go to school or maintain responsibilities at home) then outpatient treatment could be a solid solution for you. Here you will attend regular meetings, receive counseling and therapy, and then return home to continue to work towards your sobriety. Unlike residential treatment, outpatient treatment does not provide around-the-clock monitoring so you will have to be strong and have a strong support system in order to prevent relapse.
Unfortunately, relapse rates are high with any type of addiction. Crack addiction treatment can lay the foundation for your recovery, but the continued abstinence will be up to you. Support groups, such as NA or Cocaine Anonymous, provide peer support for people who are in recovery from cocaine addiction. These programs often help users to maintain abstinence even after they are no longer in a residential or outpatient treatment program. Support groups such as these are also an effective addition to outpatient treatment. If you choose outpatient treatment for your crack addiction, consider getting involved with a support group as well.
Your choice will depend on the severity of your addiction, your location, your responsibilities and priorities and various other matters. Consider the following factors when choosing crack addiction treatment:
- Your budget – residential treatment is often much more costly than outpatient care
- Your insurance – most insurance plans will cover at least some residential treatment and many of the services offered on an outpatient basis are covered
- Your location – if you choose outpatient treatment, it’s important to choose a convenient location that you can get to
- Your health – residential treatment may be more suitable if you suffer from other health conditions which require treatment
- Your commitment – outpatient treatment can work if you are highly committed and remain in control of your addiction
- Your background – if you have already tried outpatient treatment and it didn’t work, then you should choose residential treatment. Likewise, if you have already completed residential treatment, outpatient treatment is the next step towards lifelong sobriety.