Crack Cocaine Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Programs

Crack cocaine is a crystal rock form of cocaine that is highly addictive. Treatment programs for crack cocaine addiction can help people learn to stay sober and prevent relapse in addiction recovery.

Crack Cocaine Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Options

Crack cocaine is a rock crystal form of cocaine that is created by mixing powdered cocaine with baking soda or ammonia.

When heated, this creates a rock formation that can be inhaled, smoked, or injected. When smoked, crack can cause an immediate high.

Crack cocaine, like powder forms of cocaine, is highly addictive. It can cause powerful short-term effects, including an intense feeling of pleasure, hyperactivity, and talkativeness. It can also cause hostility, intense paranoia, chest pain, and life-threatening cardiac problems.

Recovering from crack cocaine addiction isn’t easy, but it is possible. At Spring Hill Recovery Center, we offer a range of treatment programs for stimulant addiction that treat the physical, mental, and emotional effects of living with addiction.

Crack Cocaine Abuse And Addiction

Crack cocaine is an illegal central nervous system stimulant that can affect mood and behavior. Crack, which is more often used by people already addicted to cocaine, is even more potent than its powder form. This potency can make it more addictive.

When smoked, crack reaches the brain much faster than when it’s snorted, producing an immediate high. This can cause a rapid increase in heart rate, dilated pupils, and other visible signs of substance use.

In addition, cocaine increases the amount of dopamine in the brain, which can affect movement and the brain’s reward system. It can also reinforce continued drug use.

Chronic use can cause an increased tolerance to crack, requiring that a person take higher doses to feel its effects. This can also cause intense cravings.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an estimated 757,000 people in the United States used crack in 2018, out of over 5.5 million who reported using cocaine.

Dangers Of Crack Cocaine

Smoking crack cocaine can have intense effects on mood, movement, and behavior. It can also impair a person’s sense of reality, causing paranoia and other symptoms of psychosis.

Dangerous side effects of crack cocaine can occur both in people who have chronically abused cocaine and first-time crack users.

Dangers of crack cocaine use include:

Polysubstance Abuse

In the last decade, rates of cocaine use have been on the rise, largely due to the opioid crisis. More and more people are mixing opioids with cocaine for a more powerful drug experience.

Polysubstance abuse—abusing multiple drugs at once—can increase someone’s risk for drug overdose and other serious complications.


Crack overdose can occur when someone has taken greater amounts of cocaine than their body can handle. Your risk for overdose is higher if you’ve recently detoxed or if you take cocaine with other drugs.

Signs of cocaine overdose include:

  • seizures
  • difficulty breathing
  • high blood pressure
  • high body temperature
  • severe agitation
  • irregular heartbeat

Overdose can be intentional or unintentional. Without immediate treatment, crack overdose may cause life-threatening symptoms, including heart attack and stopped breathing.

Heart Attack

In addition to seizures, heart complications are one of the primary causes of death among people who use crack. Taking crack, even just once, can risk serious effects on the heart, including palpitations and heart attack.

Violent Behavior

Cocaine can stimulate hostile and aggressive behavior, as well as paranoia and impulsiveness. Criminal behavior and violence is common among people with chronic drug abuse issues. This is due in part to the effects of the drugs, as well as a desperation to get more of them.

Long-Term Effects

Crack cocaine addiction can cause a number of long-term effects to physical and mental health.

Long term effects may include:

  • reduced blood flow
  • permanent damage to the blood vessels
  • malnutrition
  • organ damage
  • nosebleeds
  • scarring and abscesses
  • respiratory distress

Living with an addiction to crack can also cause severe depression. People with substance use disorders are at greater risk for suicidal thoughts and risky behaviors.

While living with addiction can make both individuals and their family members feel hopeless—a future in recovery is possible.

Crack Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Addiction to crack can have sweeping effects on virtually all areas of a person’s life. It can affect how you think, feel, and behave.

Drug addiction can hurt your relationships, negatively affect your ability to work, and cause significant consequences to your physical and mental wellbeing.

In Massachusetts, about 30 percent of people who seek substance abuse treatment report using cocaine in the past year. This translates to tens of thousands of people.

Treatment for crack addiction can come in many forms:

  • Detox
  • Inpatient Rehab
  • Outpatient Counseling
  • Addiction Recovery Support Groups

The type of treatment program a person needs may vary by their drug use, physical health status, and mental health history. At Spring Hill, we can evaluate you or a loved one to determine which type of treatment may be most suitable for you.

Withdrawal And Detoxification

After becoming physically dependent on cocaine, stopping your crack cocaine use may cause withdrawal symptoms. Unlike alcohol abuse or addiction to heroin, cocaine withdrawal is unlikely to cause physical symptoms.

Cocaine withdrawal may cause agitation, anxiety, depression, and increased appetite. The biggest danger of withdrawal is your risk for relapse. Beginning a detox program can help mitigate this risk.

Inpatient detox and treatment is the safest way to get sober from cocaine and receive support as you undergo withdrawal. Outpatient detox may also be viable. However, with outpatient detox, a person is more likely to return to crack use.

Inpatient Rehab Programs

Inpatient rehab programs offer around-the-clock supervision and support within a supportive treatment environment.

Rehab centers that treat cocaine addiction may offer a wide range of treatments and therapies to aid residents in early addiction recovery.

Spring Hill offers customized residential treatment for crack cocaine abuse, as well as access to medical detox.

Within our residential rehab program, residents follow a structured routine during the day, where they may attend substance abuse counseling, group therapy, and meet with a clinician.

Our residential rehab program for crack cocaine addiction includes:

  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Mindfulness Practices
  • Outdoor-Based Therapy
  • Integrated Clinical Care
  • 12-Step Groups

Spring Hill takes a whole-person treatment approach that recognizes that addiction recovery requires more than just getting sober.

By entering our inpatient program, our rehab center can provide a safe place for you to heal from the effects of your addiction and learn supportive strategies for a fulfilling, drug-free future.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is a less intensive form of treatment. This does not involve living at a treatment center.

Instead, residents may attend counseling, support groups, and meet with clinical and psychiatric providers as needed to monitor their health.

Outpatient treatment programs, such as day treatment and intensive outpatient, may be most suitable for people who:

  • have recently completed inpatient rehab
  • have mild substance abuse issues that don’t require a higher level of care
  • are looking for ongoing support in early addiction recovery

In addition to formal outpatient programs, many people can also benefit from attending community support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

This can help former cocaine users remain accountable in their sobriety. It also provides an opportunity to share and learn from others who have had similar experiences with drug abuse.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some support groups that have typically been held in-person are now offered virtually. Spring Hill has also remained open for new admissions.

Aftercare For Crack Cocaine Addiction

Aftercare services, such as individual case management and continued care coordination, can provide long-term treatment planning to reduce the risk for drug relapse.

At Spring Hill, our primary forms of aftercare include alumni support and assistance in coordinating sober living arrangements.

Our alumni support network connects current and former Spring Hill patients and provides access to alumni recovery support groups and events.

Further, our aftercare professionals can identify community-based sources of support for residents returning home after treatment.

Find Treatment For Crack Abuse And Addiction At Spring Hill

If you’re seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one in the Greater New England area, look no further than Spring Hill.

Spring Hill is an accredited addiction treatment center that offers residential rehab and intensive outpatient treatment from our peaceful facility situated in the woodlands of Ashby, Massachusetts.

At Spring Hill, you’ll find:

  • compassionate health care
  • customized programming
  • evidence-based treatment
  • dual diagnosis treatment
  • family weekends
  • alumni support

Our New England treatment center serves the state of Massachusetts, as well as surrounding New England states. If you live outside of Massachusetts, we’re happy to help you coordinate travel arrangements and verify insurance.

Don’t wait to learn what we can do for you. Call us today to learn more about Spring Hill’s crack cocaine treatment programs and the types of treatment services we offer.

Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team

Published on: October 16, 2020

©2022 Spring Hill Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

This page does not provide medical advice.

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