General Question

linguaphile's avatar

What are the long term effects, years after quitting crack?

Asked by linguaphile (13875 points ) May 14th, 2013

A friend of mine was a heavy-using crack addict for 12 years, but quit on his own 13 years ago and has not touched crack since.

While I find it admirable that he quit on his own and is able to stay clean, I’m wondering if there may be some long-term effects, such as some brain chemistry changes. He does have extreme mood swings, but I’m not sure if that’s his personality or something caused by his 12 years of crack use. I’ve researched this online and can’t find this kind of information.

Does anyone know?

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6 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Apparently yes…very serious flashback effects possible, decades after quitting.

http://www.netwellness.org/question.cfm/35653.htm

trailsillustrated's avatar

There is that study, but, it takes about two years for the brain to recover. Chances are he was suffering from mood swings or some sort of personality thing before he got hooked. How do I know? I was the hardest core drug addict (speedballs, not that far off from crack) it took about two years for me to get my full hearing and eyesight back, and about five for my brain to recover. I mean to the degree it was before I ever saw a drug. He’ll be fine. You are still stuck with whatever depression or personality glitches you had before doing a drug. I am talking about recovering your intellectual capacity, motor skills, and personality in general.

keobooks's avatar

Most people who abuse drugs are self medicating for one kind of mental health issue or another. I think chances are high he had those problems beforehand—especially if it’s 13 years later.

This is one problem I had with certain 12 step group members. Many of them were anti-medication of any kind and refused to take antidepressants or mood stabilizers. I believe that since most of us who were actively addicted were medicating ourselves against mood swings, depression or other disorders—we NEED to be seen by a doctor after a year or two clean. (I say a year or two, because I think it takes a while for your brain chemistry to get back to normal after years of use.)

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’ve seen people who basically had no lasting symptoms and others that had major symptoms.

linguaphile's avatar

Thanks all for the replies— appreciate you sharing your experiences!

swfpdx's avatar

Well I think that a positive long term benefit of quitting crack is life. I like Keobook’s response. I worked for GI docs for 9 years and we did studies for Hep C treatment. Many of these patients contracted their Hep C as a result of intravenous drug use. In order to qualify for treatment the patients had to be determined to be able to cope mentally. So many former drug addicts were severely depressed thus disqualifying them for treatment. This led many to believe that the long term effects of their former drug abuse included depression. It is the chicken or the egg question though. Which came first, the drug addiction or the depression.

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