The process of detoxification is central to all drug rehabilitation programmes including crack detox. Physically ridding your body of the substance paves the way for full recovery to take place. Although the period of crack detox might seem like the most challenging time, long-term psychological support is absolutely essential if you or your loved one is going to stay clean. In essence, the treatment for crack addiction is the same as the treatment for cocaine addiction, which is largely psychological in nature. There are physical withdrawal symptoms, but they aren’t as severe as would be experienced during heroin addiction, for example.
Crack is a condensed, smoke-able form of cocaine which has much more short-lived effects. The effects of crack come from its impact on the brain’s neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine. Your brain releases dopamine as a reward for behaviour integral to survival, such as eating and drinking. By breaking down the proteins which transport dopamine, it causes an abundance of the chemical, which creates the drug’s euphoric effects. The “high” that comes from this dopamine surge lasts for around 10 to 15 minutes. This commonly leads to bingeing on the drug and with frequent use this becomes crack cocaine addiction.
The cause of crack addiction is the adaptation of the brain. It produces neurotransmitters for a reason, and the excess dopamine confuses things immensely. To protect itself, it reduces production of dopamine and also retracts some receptors which it stimulates. This explains why crack addicts frequently chase their initial high and have to smoke larger and larger amounts to achieve the same effects. When the brain doesn’t receive the drug its dopamine supplies are depleted, and to avoid the long process of re-structuring it craves more crack. The effects of this chemical imbalance and the re-structuring process cause the withdrawal symptoms associated with crack detox.
Most crack withdrawal symptoms are psychological, and there isn’t usually a serious physical risk during detoxification. The depleted reward chemicals lead to depression, which in severe cases can cause suicidal thoughts. Other symptoms of crack withdrawal include irritability, fatigue, vivid dreams, slowing of activity and increased appetite. The process of crack detox has several stages, characterised by extreme emotional responses and bouts of cravings. This makes it extremely difficult for individuals to get clean without lasting psychological support.
The main focus for crack detox should be psychological causes of addiction. The physical cravings are often managed through medications such as gabapentin and baclofen, but these aren’t absolutely necessary. Additional medical help is almost always beneficial, however, and these drugs can help users shake off the physical traces of addiction and focus on the root causes. Counselling and structured day programmes make up the majority of crack and cocaine treatment, but in severe cases residential care can be required. If you or your loved one is combining crack with another drug, such as alcohol, there may be more significant physical risks posed by withdrawal.
If you or any of your loved ones is addicted to crack, finding the right treatment is absolutely essential. The variety of services provided by different drug rehabilitation centres and their unique approaches should be matched up to your needs and your personality. We have a comprehensive knowledge of the different drug rehabs across the country suitable for crack detox, and can tell you about the services they offer and the treatment models they employ. We’ll suggest the best options to you and help guide you to the right solution. Our advice is completely free, so pick up the phone and get in touch!