Smoking crack cocaine is not only extremely addictive, it is dangerous for a person’s physical health, mental health, and emotional health. Crack cocaine is formed from powder cocaine strictly to increase the potency of cocaine. The way most people use crack is to smoke it in a glass pipe or other smoking device. Since cocaine is a stimulant type of drug, it affects the normal functioning of the central nervous system. Crack cocaine tells the brain to release an enormous amount of dopamine, which causes people to feel euphoric and become very alert.
Side Effects of Crack Cocaine Abuse
Crack cocaine also has several adverse side effects once the initial surge of dopamine wears off. People who smoke initially feel excited and thrilled to be alive. However, this quickly ends in a matter of minutes. The individual will then feel paranoid, stressed out, and have intense cravings to smoke more crack. Crack quickly causes addiction because it essentially depletes the body’s reserve of dopamine. Dopamine is how the brain regulates how someone experiences a pleasure, as well as motivation to attain things that equate a reward. For example, a person gets out of bed every morning to go to work because they know they will earn money. Money is the reward as it provides many pleasures in life, as well as stability. Dopamine and other brain chemicals make up the reward pathway within the brain that allows a person to experience satisfaction from ordinary activities and to feel above average amounts of pleasure with other things.
Overcoming Crack Cocaine Addiction
Dopamine is released when someone eats chocolate or has a delicious meal; it is also released during sex or falling in love. The reward pathway also activates a dopamine release when someone enjoys an activity like watching a sunset or listening to music. If there is a deficit of dopamine available, then this person will not feel right. They will feel depressed, anxious, and lack the usual motivation to engage in work, regular life responsibilities, as well as a decreased desire to eat or to care for themselves or others. The reward center of the brain is essentially damaged when a person smokes crack. Years of continued crack-smoking will cause enough damage that it takes years of abstinence to return the reward pathway to normal. When someone smokes crack, they also run the risk of developing respiratory illnesses that can lead to chronic cough or heart conditions as well as cause an aneurysm or other pulmonary illness. Crack cocaine addiction also usually leads to engaging in risky behaviors, making the risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis, or other diseases prominent. Along with the physical damage that cracks cocaine causes, a person’s emotional and mental health will also be at risk for developing disorders. Many crack cocaine addicts can either cause a mental health disorder from using crack, such as depression, psychosis, anxiety, or becoming suicidal. Long-term abuse crack cocaine can worsen an existing mental health diagnosis, and crack cocaine treatment is recommended to overcome this substance use disorder.
Crack Cocaine Drug Culture
The drug culture that surrounds crack cocaine is also hazardous. Crack is a schedule I narcotic, which means it is highly illegal. Any person caught with crack cocaine will be arrested and charged with a felony. Crack cocaine can only be bought on the streets. It is sold in drug dealing neighborhoods, and most users eventually commit crimes to get money to buy crack or engage in criminal activities for money such as prostitution and drug dealing. Some people binge on crack cocaine versus smoking it every day. Most users, including regular smokers, prefer to binge on crack. Again, because crack releases so much dopamine that quickly wears off, most people immediately do whatever it takes to get more. This can include robbing the elderly, stealing a car, shoplifting, or writing a bad check. The worst drug to consider trying is hands down, crack cocaine. It causes addiction in most cases after one use. Crack cocaine addiction will make the most responsible hard-working person not care about their family, job, friends, or themselves.
Breaking the Addiction
To help someone who struggles with substance use disorder to crack cocaine, it is imperative to get professional help from a specialized treatment program for crack cocaine. The first step is to gently approach your loved one in a non-confrontational way and ask them why they like smoking crack before accusing them of being addicted. Through accepting them first, they are more likely to be receptive to getting help.