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Crack Dependence

Are You Dependent on Crack?

Crack cocaine stimulates key pleasure centers in the brain and causes extremely heightened euphoria. It is one of the most powerful drugs when it comes to producing psychological dependence. Tolerance develops quickly and you soon fail to achieve the same high experienced earlier…and this can turn into a real downward spiral of chasing the high and recovering from the side effects of use.


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Do you find it hard to quit because it hurts?
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Crack dependence can be treated!


Learn more about crack cocaine dependence in the text below. Then, we welcome you to send us your questions and comments in the designated section at the end of the page. We value all our reader’s feedback and try to provide personal and prompt response to your legitimate inquiries.

How Is Dependence Formed?

Physical dependence on develops when the brain’s normal way of functioning is altered by the drug. Basically, the brain adapts to a drug in order to keep function. In the case of a strong stimulant like cocaine, the brain actually begins to send signals to the rest of the body: “Whoah! Slow down!”

Furthermore, your brain cells normally release dopamine whenever you experience something pleasurable. Then, within minutes the dopamine is cleared to let the brain respond to other pleasurable things that might occur later. Using crack interrupts the normal reuptake of dopamine by brain cells, and causes dopamine to build up in the spaces between cells. So, it continues to stimulate them for much longer than normal.

Over time and with repeated use, the brain adapts to require more and more stimulation. This makes the release of normal amounts of dopamine to never be enough. So, you need to use crack again and again in order to feel any pleasurable sensation at all.

Does Crack Dependence = Addiction?

Most of the time, yes. IF you are dependent on crack to function, you are also addicted to it. However,  these two conditions are not quite the same. Following is a definition for each.

DEPENDENCE is defined as the occurrence of a set of uncomfortable effects when you stop using or significantly lower your usual crack doses (withdrawal). Although it is possible for a person to be physically dependent on crack without being addicted to the drug, addiction is commonly present in people who develop physical dependence on crack cocaine.

ADDICTION occurs when you associate crack use with a certain lifestyle that you enjoy. Many users choose to get high in the company of others, so the drug becomes associated with good times and good friends. For others, crack use can be a coping mechanism with other life problems. They believe they are unable to function, or aren’t strong enough to cope with everyday problems and stress without crack.

For individuals addicted to crack, the drug becomes their top priority in life. They will obsessively-compulsively seek and use crack despite awareness of negative life consequences, and neglect responsibilities or activities they previously enjoyed.

Signs of Dependence

Although a person may not display all of the possible symptoms listed below, these symptoms are certainly a sign that something is wrong. Some of the signs and symptoms of crack dependence include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Burns and blisters on lips and fingers
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth, Cracked lips, Tooth decay
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Increased body temperature
  • Insomnia and then sudden periods of sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Secretive behavior and unexplained disappearances
  • Slacking at work and/or school
  • Unexpected mood changes (compulsive, aggressive, angry, agitated, paranoid, delusional behavior)

Still, one of the most certain signs of crack dependence is the crack abstinence syndrome, which occurs whenever you stop using crack for some time. Crack withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Disorientation
  • Dysphoria (intense dissatisfaction with life)
  • Hallucinations (hearing sirens or people talking)
  • Hunger
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Paranoia
  • Tactile hallucinations (skin crawling)

Do you recognize 2 or more of these warning signs of a crack cocaine problem in yourself or a loved one? You don’t have to suffer alone through recovery from crack dependence or withdrawal! Reputable treatment programs can address the main issues you are facing and help you get out of a dead end situation with crack.


Crack dependence and withdrawal can be treated!
You can live the life you deserve!


Ending Dependence

Treatment for any cocaine probably typically involves a period of detoxification, during which the drug is cleared from the body. Detoxification is then followed by an intense therapy and counseling program during which you learn how to live without the drug. Let’s see in more detail what these stages of treating crack dependence entail.

1. Detoxification or crack detox usually takes place in a hospital or an inpatient detox center. Generally speaking, this is a difficult process because you experience abrupt withdrawal effects once you stop crack use. Medical professionals provide a safe and secure environment, psychological support and motivation, and will administer medications to manage the severity of withdrawal.

2. Crack treatment programs at an inpatient drug treatment center or rehab center are the next step for recovering individuals. Addressing and dealing with the psychological dependence on crack is usually a lot more challenging and time consuming than recovery from the physical aspects of crack cocaine during detox. This is why crack addiction treatment programs are made to last 30 and 60 days AT LEAST, or preferably 90 days…or more if needed.

3. Aftercare or continued care programs make it possible for many crack cocaine users to continue counseling check-ins on an outpatient basis or reside in a sober-living community after the initial treatment period is over. These recovery facilities are supportive places where counselors provide continued therapy and structure that recovering individuals need.

Teenage Treatment

Cocaine dependency treatment for children and adolescents differs from that of adults. Younger persons need help to finish their education, achieve higher education or job training, or find a professional career path…and specialized treatment programs are tailored to these specific needs of teens.

But, regardless of the crack user’s age, the support that closest family members and friends can offer is one very important aspect of treating crack cocaine dependence and addiction issues.

Got Any Questions?

Want to learn more? Explore the rest of the content on our website regarding crack abuse, addiction, withdrawal and treatment, and much more. We invite you to post your stories and experiences, or ask questions in the comments section below. We do our best to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.

Reference Sources: National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse: Treating cocaine/crack dependence
U.S. Department of Justice: National Drug Intelligence Center: Crack Cocaine Fast Facts
US Department of the Interior: Signs and Symptoms Fact Sheets

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