Crack Cocaine Addiction
It’s a popular drug, but it’s HIGHLY ADDICTIVE. Abuse is associated with having good times with your friends, having money and power. They write songs about it. They glamorize it.
But it’s a lie!
Let’s take a closer look at Crack Cocaine Addiction and see if it’s as desirable after the facts are presented. Knowing the facts about cocaine, the truth, might save someone’s life, maybe your own.
Derived from the coca plant
Other names for cocaine include, but are not limited to coke, snow, lady, flake, gold dust, freebase and crack.
Cocaine is derived from the leaves of the coca plant, found in South America. The leaves are mashed, much like grapes are for making wine, then are treated with sulfuric acid. During this process, the active drug is released, as a paste is formed. The paste is then further refined and the end result is cocaine hydrochloride, a fine, white powder. It looks like powdered sugar.
Cocaine became popular in the 1980’s and 1990’s and since that time the medical community has learned much about the highly addictive nature of this drug.
Dr. Nora D. Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, explaining the serious increase in the use and Abuse to cocaine and she wrote:
“One of NIDA’s most important goals is to translate what scientists learn from research, in order to help the public better understand drug abuse and Abuse, and to develop more effective strategies for their prevention and treatment.”
Volkow explains that scientists can actually observe the “dynamic changes” in the brain as a person uses this drug. They can see the “rush” and the “high” and actually see when a person is “craving” cocaine.
How does Cocaine work in the body?
Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. The drug causes the user to experience euphoria, a feeling of well-being beyond what you would regularly encounter. People who use the drug regularly do it for that “rush” they get. They want to feel good.
Side-effects of Crack Cocaine Addiction
Users who chose to snort the drug, often develop nasal congestion and damage the mucous membrane of the nose and have bleeding cartilage. Users coming down from a cocaine high might get depressed, or experience insomnia. Common for cocaine users is a decrease in appetite, accompanied by weight loss.
Use of cocaine causes blood vessels to constrict, leading to an increase in blood pressure, heart rate and heart attacks are common. Cocaine can lead to irregular heart beat, lung disease and irreversible brain damage.
Body temperature and blood sugar rise. Respiratory failure, strokes and seizures are also possibilities. In rare cases, first time users have been known to die from the effects of the drug. Crack Cocaine Addiction also contributes to dramatic changes in behavior, as some users are known to display bizarre actions, or become violent.
Cocaine users have been known to contract HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Blurred vision is a common side effect. Women users are susceptible to miscarriage, or if they carry to term, serious birth defects often occur.
Crack Cocaine Addiction and Alcohol: A dangerous mix
When cocaine and alcohol are used together, another dangerous physical situation occurs. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse research:the liver combines cocaine and alcohol, producing a new substance, cocathylene
This third player intensifies the high, but at the same time increases the risk of sudden death.
Cocaine is highly addictive and one of the most rapidly addictive drugs used. While it became popular in the 1980’s and 1990’s, it is hardly new and is one of the oldest drugs known. Crack Cocaine Addiction has been abused for over 100 years.
Crack Cocaine Addiction creates a tolerance to the drug, as more drug is needed more often to achieve the same results. However, cocaine is so powerfully addictive that even a first-time user can gets a Crack Cocaine Abuse. The craving for the drug can come after the first hit of a crack pipe, or the first snort. People lose control and “need” the drug to feel good.
Users will start to withdraw from the drug sometimes as soon as six hours after taking cocaine. The withdrawal can last up to two weeks. Users can experience depression, insomnia, paranoia, restlessness, and crying spells. Addicts have had cravings for the drug for a month or more.
Forms of Cocaine -- Cocaine Hydrochloride
There are a couple forms of cocaine that are most common, cocaine hydrochloride (powder) and “freebase.” The powder can be mixed with water and injected, or snorted through the nose. Most commonly, cocaine on the street is a white powder, diluted by street dealers with talcum powder, mixed with sugar, cornstarch and oftentimes with other stimulants.
The term “crack” comes from the street and refers to the cracking sound the drug makes when it is smoked. Crack Cocaine is made by combining the powder form of the drug with ammonia or baking soda and water, then heating the mixture to remove the hydrochloride. The drug produces an almost immediate high, usually within 10 seconds. It became popular in the 1980’s for its quick effect and for the fact that it is inexpensive. The combination of these two factors have made crack a huge problem, as users number close to 600,000.
Crack Cocaine Addiction Recovery is a Process
Recovery is a process. It begins with a person discovering or admitting that they have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol and they need help. Depending on their individual situation and needs, a recovery treatment program is established, either in a residential setting, or out-patient. People who receive treatment for their crack cocaine addictions are not cured of those crack cocaine addictions, so recovery is also a lifestyle. Like other chronic conditions, like diabetes, crack cocaine addiction isn't cured, but it can be managed.
One of the first steps in recovery from crack cocaine is to get the substance out of the system, and so recovering addicts will go through detoxification (detox). There are some who think that detox is the solution, but it's really only the beginning.
Because recovery is a lifestyle change, addicts need to learn new skills and coping mechanisms to keep control over their crack cocaine addiction, rather than addiction controlling them. Some require a medical intervention, to ease the craving for a drug. Others respond well to counseling or psychotherapy.
Everybody is different, so programs are as diverse as the addicts themselves.
The 12-Step Recovery Program is popular, mainly because addicts can share their experiences, receive help and support from each other, and in the years since Alcohol Anonymous introduced those steps in 1935, over 25 self-help groups have adapted the steps to fit their needs. But recovery is not limited to 12-step, and it's important to understand that individual needs will dictate treatment options.
Recovery is the path that leads to sobriety and a restoration of sanity. The path is your new direction in life, not the end. Recovery never ends, but recovering addicts have walked down the path and received the knowledge and support they need to live a happy, healthy and productive life.
How do I break the cycle of crack cocaine addiction in my life and move toward recovery?
This is a huge question. The most important thing is to understand that you have a problem, which is the first of the AA 12-Step process for breaking the crack cocaine addiction cycle. You have come to admit that you are powerless over your crack cocaine addiction and that your life is out of control. This is important because people want to believe that they can solve their own problems and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. If you are like most people, this fighting spirit doesn't work with addiction.
It's important to know that addiction can not be cured, it can only be controlled. Once the substance is out of your system, and once the medical aspects of your addiction have been addressed, there is still a management issue. That's where treatment programs come into play, because treatment is designed to equip addicts how to manage their behavior. Because of this relapse is usually common when you're trying to break the drug addiction cycle. Expect relapse but don't give up because of it!
Self-awareness is an important component here. People use for a variety of reasons, but mostly to either feel better or to party. Addicts need to feel better. They need the drug just to get by. What is missing, what are the voids in their lives that create the urge to seek the drug as a solution? Even after they have gone through detoxification, there is still that pattern of behavior to deal with.
AA offers insight.
The second step to break the drug addiction cycle says that: "we came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." That's the key to breaking the addiction cycle. We are not able to control our behavior and we know we need outside help. For theists, that power is God, however they understand God. For atheists, that power has to come from something else.
If there is no power greater than one's self, perhaps the power is an intellectual construct, a principle, a power that comes just from believing in something. We are all body, mind and spirit. However you define that greater power, it is something that affects the spirit.
Important questions need to be asked:
How do I experience myself?
How do I experience others?
How do I experience the world?
How do I experience the relationship I have with that higher power?
The individual answers to these questions give insight into the voids in our lives. Understanding the voids and allowing those voids to be filled with something other than the drug, is how the cycle is broken. The power comes from outside of us, much like an electronic device needs to be plugged into the wall to function.
The Third Step in breaking the crack cocaine addiction cycle
The third step is surrendering to that power. Coming from a Judeo-Christian background, this writer believes that man was made in the image of God, who is spirit. The power greater than ourselves is that God who connects with our spirit. But there are so many different understandings of God, which is why "as we understood him" in that third step is so important. The theology is very diverse and this is not the place to discuss all of the differences.
The cycle is broken when our lives are no longer controlled by the drug, with the understanding that any subsequent use of the drug might trigger the whole cycle again. We need to stay "plugged in" to that outside power source.
Cocaine may be fashionable, but it kills. Cocaine may be popular, but only because people aren’t thinking of it as an enemy. Cocaine may be celebrated, but it is not worthy of its praise. People don't know the truth, either because they have never been told or because they have chosen not to listen. Cocaine is a lie. It represents the dark side of the human experience, the desire to feel good now and have it all now. For a fleeting moment of euphoria, it robs the human soul of purpose, meaning and the gift of relationship. It takes over and becomes lord and god to whomever uses it.
If you are using, seek help. If someone you know or love is using, get them help. Nothing cocaine provides is worth having.