Crack Cocaine Addiction and Recovery

What is Crack Cocaine?

Crack cocaine is a powerful form of crystallised cocaine and is created by ‘cooking’ the powdered form of the drug with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate. This process is called ‘freebasing’ and essentially makes the drug stronger. Crack cocaine is usually smoked and gets its name from the snapping and crackling sound it makes when heated. It can also be injected and is sometimes mixed by the user with heroin to form a snowball.

Like cocaine, this substance produces a rapid and intense release of dopamine the brain’s naturally occurring feel-good chemical. Prolonged use interferes with the brains capacity to produce this chemical normally.

Street Names for Crack Cocaine

There is an endless rollcall of nicknames for crack cocaine and these are usually specific to a country or even an individual town or age group of users. It is also worth noting that sometimes methamphetamine gets called crack but it is in fact a different drug.

  • Rock
  • Crack
  • White
  • Apple jacks
  • Baseball
  • BJ’s
  • Dubs
  • Candy
  • Hubba

What are the Effects of Crack Cocaine Addiction?

Crack cocaine produces an energetic and intense high which only lasts around 5 to 15 minutes. This means that users are often caught in a cycle of finding money to get more drugs and are not interested in other areas of their lives. This drug is so strong it can induce a seizure the very first time it is taken and elevates both the heart rate and the blood pressure.

Every addict’s path into addiction varies. This is a complex disease with many underlying layers which coupled together with trauma, abuse, depression and anxiety make it difficult to diagnose and treat without effective residential addiction treatment.


  • Premature aging.
  • Dental problems
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Increased resistance in the body’s blood vessels and hardening of the arteries
  • Increased risk of heart attacks
  • Increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias
  • Damage to the lungs if smoked
  • Decreased memory and attention span
  • Seizures, strokes and the potential for irreversible brain damage
  • Infectious diseases and abscesses if injected
  • Changes in the brain chemistry – short term
  • Changes in the structure and function of the brain – long term
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Unhealthy eating habits/malnutrition
  • Cravings
  • Tolerance


  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Triggers
  • Compulsion
  • Obsession
  • Lying to yourself/denial


  • Apathy /Exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Memory loss
  • Mood Swings
  • Paranoia
  • Fear
  • Psychosis
  • Loneliness


  • Potential increase in risky behaviour
  • Financial problems
  • Sexual problems
  • Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Lack of interest in work/school
  • Lack of interest and ability in maintain relationships/friendships
  • Damaged relationships with family members
  • Isolation
  • Lying to others


  • Damaged self-esteem and self-worth
  • Damaged relationship with self
  • Lack of interest in life
  • Inability to function without the drug
  • Continued use despite negative consequences

The signs and symptoms of crack cocaine addiction get progressively worse over time and there will be no resolution until effective addiction treatment and aftercare are sought.

Withdrawal from Crack Cocaine

Detoxing from crack cocaine can be a challenging process because this drug is both physically and psychologically addictive.

Symptoms of crack cocaine withdrawal can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Exhaustion
  • Unpleasant dreams
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Mood changes

The Two Stages of Withdrawal – Acute and Post-Acute

There are two stages of withdrawal from crack cocaine addiction. The first stage has immediate acute symptoms and these are usually both physical and physiological. During stage two, former users experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms or PAWS.

These refer to a number of psychological symptoms which can last for weeks or months after the user has stopped taking the drug. This is one of many reasons why residential treatment is the most effective way to treat crack cocaine addiction.

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Cravings
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of motivation
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Anger or emotional outbursts

Crack Cocaine Withdrawal at Hader Clinic

Crack cocaine withdrawal is very specific and symptoms may vary in severity and duration depending on the client. Usually these are both psychologically uncomfortable and potentially life threatening.

Accurate assessment by our capable medical team determines if our clients require a medicated period of detoxification.  This will depend on the individual’s circumstances and symptoms are always closely monitored by our skilled clinical and medical staff and treated accordingly.

Our team are highly experienced in providing safe and effective crack cocaine detox programs. They aim to keep clients as comfortable and supported as possible so they can participate in the program.

Evidence Based Crack Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Hader Clinic

The Hader Clinic program is internationally acclaimed and our staff are experienced in treating people addicted to crack cocaine. We recommend that clients, especially those with a long withdrawal period stay in residential treatment for the full 90 days. However, we also run the program for 28 days and 60 days.

At every stage of the process, clients are monitored, evaluated and their successes acknowledged. This really helps our staff to respond to what is going on for the clients and helps to instil an ever growing sense of self-esteem and a new found confidence.

The Primary Program is fully supervised 24 hours a day by a team of professional staff who want nothing more than to assist clients in their treatment goals. All of our case managers are in recovery creating a nurturing environment where real transformation is not only possible but tangible. They are great examples to clients entering our program who have given up hope that things can ever change.