Crack cocaine is one of the most addictive illicit substances on the streets because the high is very powerful yet short-lived. This is due to the way it stimulates the central nervous system and affects the pleasure centers in the brain. Smoking crack causes a flood of dopamine to be released in the brain and produces an extremely heightened euphoria like no other drug.
The short-lived high it produces causes the user to crave more and more of the drug until a tolerance is developed. Once a person has developed a tolerance, they will never achieve that same high they got when they first started using the drug. Crack is so psychologically addictive, a person will continue to try to achieve that high no matter what.
Statistics on Crack Cocaine Addiction
According to information on crack cocaine addiction in the United States provided by the Department of Justice:
Individuals of all ages use crack cocaine–data reported in the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse indicate that an estimated 6,222,000 U.S. residents aged 12 and older used crack at least once in their lifetime. The survey also revealed that hundreds of thousands of teenagers and young adults use crack cocaine–150,000 individuals aged 12 to 17 and 1,003,000 individuals aged 18 to 25 used the drug at least once. (DOJ)
Crack is also one of the most difficult substances to get off of and recover from. The psychological effects it has on the addict make it really hard to stop using. As with a lot of other drugs, once you start you will go to any lengths to get more to prevent the “crash” or debilitating state of depression one can go into after stopping.
Also, the relapse rate for crack is very high. This is due to the intense cravings one can experience after abruptly stopping. Recovery is possible, but it takes a strong desire, determination, and the willingness to go to any lengths to get there.
Handling Cravings for Crack Cocaine Abuse
First of all, cravings are normal for anyone in recovery. With a crack addiction and the profound effect it has on dopamine, cravings can come quickly, out of nowhere, and be extremely difficult to resist. Dealing with these cravings is one of the most difficult parts of recovering with a crack addiction, and they must be taken seriously and handled immediately, or a relapse is imminent.
Home Remedies to Help Combat Crack Cravings
A study funded by the National Institute of Health in 2005 discovered that a common over-the-counter herbal supplement has been very helpful in reducing cravings for chronic cocaine use. N-acetylcysteine or NAC, which is an antioxidant, has been shown to reduce the intense cravings associated with cocaine use.
Antioxidants are free radicals in the body that slow down the aging process. NAC’s metabolic pathway in the brain affects one of the same proteins as cocaine use does. Those that were treated with NAC, were less likely to seek out the drug than those without.
Other home remedies to help control crack cravings can include:
- Self-Care – This is probably one of the most important things you can do when recovering from a crack addiction. Practicing good self-care. That means eating healthy, getting a good night’s sleep, exercising regularly, and taking proper care of your emotional well-being. Being aware of HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, or tired). Experiencing any of these makes it extremely difficult to resist temptation. You have to stay healthy and on top of your self-care.
- Positive Self-Talk – Another important thing is staying positive and using positive self-talk. Create a list to have handy in case a craving arises. List why you have chosen to stop using and any negative consequences that may occur as a result of your use. Tell yourself that this is not the life for you anymore.
- Get A Hobby – You have to keep yourself busy at all times. Find and list some activities you can do when potential cravings arise. These can include taking a walk, calling a friend, playing with your animals, or participating in a hobby that you enjoy. Other hobbies can include cooking, fishing, dancing, hiking, crafts, or video games, or find something you are good at and really passionate about and devote your time to that.
- Know Your Triggers – You have to be aware of your triggers and stay away from them. There may be situations that arise beyond your control, but being prepared will at least help you get through this. Come up with strategies to deal with cravings.
- Rely On Others For Support – A very important part of recovery is having a good, strong support system in place. Tell yourself when these cravings arise, and let others help you. You have lost control over this addiction, getting help from others is a vital part of your recovery.
These are just some of the potential things you can do at home to help combat cravings. As your recovery progresses, you will find out what works best for you and continue growing. Fight the good fight! If you are ready to lead a life free of crack, you will be willing to go to any lengths to get there.