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Crack Cocaine Addiction

Beating Crack Addiction

Crack cocaine addiction continues to be a problem worldwide due to the growth in the popularity of the drug and ease of access.

Symptoms | OverdoseCocaine-induced psychosis | Crack cocaine

Crack is popular due to its incredibly quick-acting high, with users experiencing euphoria in as little as 10 seconds after inhaling it.

Another reason for its popularity is that it’s relatively inexpensive to produce and to buy – especially compared to pure cocaine.

What is Crack Cocaine?

Crack cocaine is the street name given to the form of cocaine that has been processed from powdered cocaine, and combined with water and another substance, typically baking soda, to form a smokable substance. The substance was dubbed ‘crack’ due to the crackling sound heard when the mixture is smoked.

Why is Crack Cocaine so Addictive?

Because it is smoked (rather than snorted through the nose), the drug reaches the brain more quickly and produces an intense and immediate high. This high, however, is short-lived. Since crack is so highly concentrated, it is extremely addictive.

Crack forces a release of excess dopamine, the neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s pleasure and reward centres. As early as the first time you smoke Crack, your brain has already started rewiring itself because it finds the resulting “high” pleasurable.

Many continue taking crack cocaine in search of replicating their first high. But this is detrimental, as many fail to achieve as much pleasure as they did from their first experience – leading to repeated abuse, and in search of this rush, many users will frequently increase their doses to intensify and prolong the euphoric effects. 

What are the Effects of Taking Crack Cocaine?

A range of studies has evidenced the intensive effects that crack cocaine can have on the brain and body. Crack cocaine induces significant behavioural, neurological, and physical alterations in the user – which can lead to a range of effects.

The effects of Crack Cocaine include:

  • Euphoria
  • Hyperactivity
  • Tension
  • Confidence

Due to its potency, there is a high risk of fatal overdose from using Crack Cocaine. Even someone using the drug for the first time can overdose.

An overdose is typically preceded by dilated pupils and sweating. Someone who has overdosed may exhibit:

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Seizures
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Hallucinations
  • Overdose may even result in a stroke

Furthermore, kidney problems or high blood pressure have a higher risk of fatal complications caused by smoking crack cocaine.

This happens because crack cocaine sets off excess amounts of the happiness-inducing chemical, dopamine, in the brain. With regular crack cocaine use, the natural production of dopamine is diminished as the body becomes dependent upon the drug.

The long-term effects of abusing crack can be detrimental. Long-term crack cocaine abuse can cause damage to most of the body’s vital organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and heart. Additionally, crack cocaine users are more susceptible to infections because the drug compromises the immune system. 

Signs of Crack Cocaine Addiction and Abuse

Crack cocaine is far more potent and addictive than regular cocaine. An addiction to crack cocaine, therefore, develops rapidly, and some people can even become addicted after their first instance of crack cocaine abuse. Because the high they experience is so pleasurable — and so short — they need more of the drug to maintain it. Eventually, an addiction is born; with the user needing to consume the drug to feel normal.

Other signs of crack cocaine abuse to look for include:

  • Frequent disappearances (to get high)
  • Dilated pupils
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Irritability
  • Inability to sit still
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Shirking responsibilities
  • Burns on fingers
  • Cracked or blistered lips from smoking out of a hot pipe
  • Becoming withdrawn

How is Crack Addiction Treated?

Crack addiction is a deeply unpleasant experience for any user. The addictive qualities of the drug are so strong that it induces such a significant physical response. It’s important to treat the addiction in a medically supervised environment, to ensure that the user is being treated effectively and can be monitored during the withdrawal process.

Despite crack addiction being so debilitating, life without the drug is possible, and Castle Craig has efficacious treatment programmes, with a patient satisfaction rate of 98%. We pride ourselves on dedicated inpatient care, working with a wonderful team to provide a treatment programme that delivers long-lasting results.

Crack addiction is typically treated through an intensive rehab programme, which includes detox followed by a range of psychological therapies such as CBT, DBT, individual and group therapy as well as holistic treatments like meditation and mindfulness.

Detox and Therapy

Detox from crack cocaine can be hard. Users tend to experience a drastic come-down, due to stopping the intense high that the drug delivers.

The detox phase can be challenging, as their cravings for crack cocaine will be so intense.

Crack cocaine dramatically alters the pleasure receptors in the brain, meaning that the withdrawal process can induce particularly depressive symptoms in the user, which they may find very overwhelming.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Intense cravings
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Severe depression
  • Nightmares
  • Intense cravings

However, in a guided treatment facility, such as Castle Craig, our team will help you manage your withdrawal symptoms through personalised treatment plans, and round the clock care and support. Addiction can make you feel isolated, but our team are here to remind you that you are not going through this alone, and we will support you on your initial recovery journey, and beyond.

A safe environment is of the utmost importance when attempting to detox, and Castle Craig has been providing treatment of the utmost quality for over 30 years. The duration of a substance-abuse detox period will depend on how long, you were using crack cocaine and the level of frequency. Once the detox is completed, the patient will join the treatment programme and begin a comprehensive treatment plan to begin their journey to recovery.

Rehab for Crack Addiction

Inpatient rehab for crack cocaine addiction is one of the best ways to ensure a complete recovery from crack addiction. The road to recovery is a long process, but rehabs have varying treatment plans, but rehabilitation for crack cocaine addiction tends to focus on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), support groups, and personal therapy to focus on the individual recovery journey.


As crack cocaine addiction tends to be so deep-rooted, there is no quick fix for recovery. Focussing on the longevity of recovery is essential for a successful rehabilitation journey, and that’s why Castle Craig puts so much emphasis on aftercare.

We implement a strong aftercare programme that consists of supporting patients by providing a two-year continuing care plan, weekly drop-in therapy sessions, and teletherapy. We highly encourage patients to join a community support group, to facilitate their recovery by being supported by people who are going through the same journey.

Castle Craig and You: Beginning Your Journey to Recovery

Addiction is an incredibly hard and challenging time for yourself and those around you. Castle Craig recognises how scary it can be to seek help and we pride ourselves on providing an entirely non-judgemental environment. Our staff give the highest level of support and care, as they are trained and equipped to focus on more than just the addiction, providing a holistic approach to your recovery and aftercare.

If you’re ready to seek support, do contact us to begin your road recovery. We’re here to help.


What are the long-term effects of crack cocaine abuse?

Crack cocaine can have a profound impact on the brain and body. The long-term effects will ultimately depend on the method of use. Injecting crack cocaine can lead to collapsed veins, risk of contracting blood-borne diseases. The long-term effects of smoking crack cocaine include severe heart damage, as well as damage to the liver and kidneys. Users are more likely to have infectious diseases.

How long does crack stay in your system?

The half-life of crack cocaine is very short, lasting only 15 minutes. However, depending on how much crack cocaine is used it can be detected in hair for up to three months. It is typically detected in the urine for one to four days after use but can be detected several weeks after. Crack cocaine can be detected in saliva for up to 24 hours after use, and up to 2-12 hours after use in blood.

Can crack cocaine kill you?

An overdose from crack cocaine can be fatal. If the drug is laced with other substances, your chances of suffering an adverse reaction increase.  

How is crack cocaine addiction treated?

Crack cocaine addiction is treated through a combination of detox and intensive psychological therapy, such as CBT, DBT and group counselling.