Smoking crack causes a short, intense rush of happiness. You feel high because the drug floods the brain’s reward system, which affects how you feel pleasure. The brain remembers that the drug causes happiness, and it naturally craves things that make it happy.
Repeated crack use causes changes in the brain that affect how you feel happiness. The brain gets used to crack highs, and it doesn’t react the same way to other experiences that most people find enjoyable.
The resulting cravings and decreased ability to feel happiness make it difficult to overcome crack addiction. Recovery isn’t impossible, but it takes commitment. The brain adapts to crack quickly, but it heals slowly. You have to be patient and give the brain time to heal. It’s important to avoid mistakes that many people trying to overcome crack addiction commonly make.
It’s easy to replace crack with other stimulants during recovery. You’ll probably feel sluggish and distracted during the first months of abstinence from crack. Legal stimulants, such as energy drinks and nicotine, can be appealing because they cause a surge of energy.
Energy drinks and nicotine cause a variety of health problems. They also force the brain to go through a cycle of energy rushes and crashes that’s similar to the cycle caused by crack binges. The brain needs relief from these cycles to heal.
Amphetamines, such as those found in Adderall or Ritalin, are also dangerous. They cause changes in the brain that are similar to those caused by cocaine, according to the University of Utah’s Genetic Science Learning Center. The brain can’t recover if you replace one powerful stimulant with another.
Many people in recovery from crack addiction realize that they must avoid stimulating substances, but they don’t know that some experiences can also harm mental health.
In moderation, activities such as playing video games, exercising or shopping can be benign. But compulsive shopping, video game binges or prolonged exercise can be unhealthy. Gambling is a high-risk activity that people in recovery from crack addiction should always avoid.
Some people in recovery from addiction develop compulsive behaviors referred to as cross addictions. Replacing a drug addiction with a behavioral addiction can lead to a number of physical and behavioral side effects.
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You should stay away from others who use drugs, especially old friends who may tempt you to use again. Being offered crack or even seeing a friend with a crack pipe can cause intense cravings for the drug. But that doesn’t mean you should isolate yourself.
Crack withdrawal can cause depression and irritability. It can be difficult to reconnect with friends and family members when you’re feeling down or short-tempered.
But isolation is a recipe for relapse. Rebuilding relationships can be a positive and rewarding experience. Connecting with others in recovery can help you find social support from people who know what you’re going through.
Smoking crack is obviously unhealthy, but it’s also associated with several other unhealthy behaviors. People who are addicted to crack usually eat unhealthy diets and have poor sleep habits.
Malnutrition can inhibit recovery by causing headaches, anxiety, depression and other side effects. Inadequate sleep can disrupt mood and judgement. It also increases the risk of other diseases, according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
You should try to adopt healthy habits. Go for a long walk each morning or evening. Clear your mind by trying yoga or deep breathing techniques. Set a career or personal goal to try to achieve.
Recovering from crack addiction is challenging, and several common mistakes can make it even more difficult. Recovery isn’t about changing one part of your life. You need to change your lifestyle and adopt new healthy habits to reduce your risk of relapse.
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