Crack Recovery Dos and Don’ts

Crack addiction is a serious disease. The drug causes dramatic changes in the brain that inhibit recovery. The brain can recover from crack abuse, but you have to give it time. Don’t make common mistakes that lead to relapse or hurt your health.
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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.

Some people say they get addicted to crack the first time they try it. The brain adapts to the drug 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 dependence commonly make.

Avoid Other Stimulants

It’s easy to replace crack or cocaine 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.

Don’t Search for Extreme Experiences

Many people in recovery from addiction to crack 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 addiction to crack 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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Avoid Isolation

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 or cocaine 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.

Don’t Continue Your Old Lifestyle

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.

Cocaine rehab teaches people healthy ways to live. It’s important to continue healthy habits after treatment.

Recovering from addiction to crack 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.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Chris Elkins, MA
Senior Content Writer,
Chris Elkins worked as a journalist for three years and was published by multiple newspapers and online publications. Since 2015, he’s written about health-related topics, interviewed addiction experts and authored stories of recovery. Chris has a master’s degree in strategic communication and a graduate certificate in health communication.

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