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The mental and physical effects of cocaine in its natural, powdered form sometimes draw attention from individuals with substance use disorders. This is a serious concern on its own. When the substance is transformed into crack cocaine, however, the risk of side effects become even greater, making treatment at a reputable Scottsdale or Phoenix addiction center even more critical.
Cocaine is typically used in a powdered form and snorted. Those wanting a faster, more powerful effect may opt for crack cocaine. Crack is the product of boiling dissolved cocaine with baking soda in water until rock-like solids form. At this point, the substance can be cut into small pieces that can be smoked. The crack emits a crackling sound as it is heated, hence its name. The use of crack delivers an intense high that sometimes lasts around 15 minutes.
Cocaine and crack cocaine are considered stimulants. As we see in at our addiction center in Scottsdale, Arizona, repeated use can result in changes in the brain that leave the user dependent on the substance. Such changes may be reversible but usually involve unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The individual stopping the drug use may experience signs of depression or have suicidal thoughts.
The neurotransmitter known as dopamine is produced in the brain in the mesolimbic dopamine system. The consumption of crack cocaine can trigger responses from this neurotransmitter. This creates the sensation of euphoria and the desire to seek out and continue the use of the product that caused such pleasurable feelings. Since the high is fairly brief, many users increase consumption, a dangerous practice that can lead to serious side effects.
Manic behaviors, such as agitation, impulsivity, rapid speech patterns, or failing to eat or sleep for long periods, are associated with the use of crack cocaine. This means that the body is overly stimulated, which presents itself as excited, energetic, or reckless behaviors. In someone who may normally be calm or quiet, this change in personality can be obvious to others. Long-term use may trigger episodes of paranoia, hallucinations, or unpredictability.
The person using crack generally feels that the high is a positive experience. After the high ends, most succumb to sleep, sometimes in inappropriate places and stay asleep for an abnormal amount of time. The extreme high followed by such an exhaustive low eventually interferes with normal daily life. Relationships with coworkers, family, and friends may become affected, particularly if the individual has forgone sleep for days, skipped meals, and is fighting urges to use. When the person is coming off the high and sleeps excessive amounts, everyday responsibilities, such as work or school, may be ignored. Periods of time when the drug is not available, depressive symptoms and erratic behaviors can appear, which could make matters unsafe for the individual as well as for others close to that person. However, getting the proper treatment with a specialist in Arizona can see that in individual is on a path to recovery.