Crack is commonly regarded as the most addictive form of cocaine. Rather than being snorted nasally, crack is typically smoked. A crack “rock” can be found in several forms, many of which appear as a crystalline substance. A person who is dependent upon the use of this drug is commonly referred to as a crack addict.
Once ingested, crack produces a brief burst of euphoria that lasts a few minutes and is usually shorter than a cocaine high. Due to its brief but intense high, crack is thought to be even more habit-forming than traditional cocaine, as users seeking to maintain a high must accelerate use. A binge-crash cycle can continue for many days on end uninterrupted.
Signs and Symptoms Common to Crack Addicts
Effects of crack abuse may include the following:
- Feelings of euphoria
- Increased attentiveness
- Excited state, talkativeness
- Elevated mood
- Decreased appetite
- Elevated heart rate
- Intense drug cravings
- Large or dilated pupils
The initial euphoria produced by crack use can quickly dissolve into feelings of depression and paranoia after the initial rush wanes. An individual high on crack or coming down from it may erroneously believe that another person is trying to assault them and, as a result, engage in risky and aggressive behavior.
Side Effects of Crack Use
A crack addict will also likely encounter a litany of adverse side effects, including the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Heart attack
- Coughing or wheezing (“crack lung”)
General Signs of Addiction
The following are signs that an individual is suffering from addiction to substances:
- The development of tolerance, meaning the person needs ever-increasing amounts of a drug to experience the desired effects
- The development of dependence, in which the person encounters adverse effects or withdrawal symptoms when the drug high wears off
- He or she continues to use a drug despite the detrimental impact it has on their lives and the lives of loved one
- He or she spends a significant amount of time thinking about attaining and using a substance
- He or she is frequently unable to control the use of a substance and uses it for a more extended period than intended
- He or she has lost interest in activities or hobbies that were formerly considered enjoyable or important
- He or she has begun to neglect everyday responsibilities, such as those related to school, work, family, household chores and personal hygiene
- He or she is engaging in risky behavior such as driving while under the influence
- He or she is borrowing or stealing money or other items to appropriate the means to buy drugs
- Other have begun to complain that there has been a significant change in his or her behavior that is unfavorable
- He or she has experienced noticeable weight loss or gain
- He or she presents with an unkempt appearance or uncleanliness, such as not bathing for days or weeks
- He or she socializes with others who do drugs
It is important to stress that a person who is addicted to a drug like cocaine will often go to unimaginable lengths to attain and use the drug. In addition to stealing, he or she may become a dealer or resort to prostitution and other illegal activities to get the money needed to use.
Crack Cocaine Overdose
Many people falsely believe that the use of crack and cocaine is not the problem that it once was as the focus has moved to the opioid epidemic. However, cocaine in its various forms continues to be involved in thousands of overdose fatalities each year, and many of these deaths are also related to the additional use of opioids, amphetamines, and other substances. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among all the lethal overdoses in 2017, 13,942 (nearly 20%) involved cocaine, and 10,333 (almost 15%) included other stimulants.
The symptoms of crack overdose are nearly identical to those that are related to traditional cocaine use. However, these symptoms may manifest more rapidly. They include the following:
- Chest pain
- Rapid pulse
- Weak pulse
- Low blood pressure
- Slowed respiration rate
- Cold, clammy skin
- Vomiting or retching
- Trembling and fidgeting
- Uncontrollable energy
- Severe agitation
- Aggressive/violent behavior
- Paranoia or unusual thoughts
- Excessive itching (pruritis)
- Feeling of bugs crawling under skin
A cocaine overdose is potentially life-threatening, and if you suspect that you or someone you know appears to be experiencing an overdose, you should call 911 immediately.
Getting Treatment for Addiction
Fortunately, a person who is a crack addict can be treated through the use of an integrated, customized treatment plan. As part of our treatment programs, Just Believe Detox offers evidence-based therapies and services, including psychotherapy, individual and family counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and more.
Recovery from addiction can be a lifelong endeavor, but no one should have to struggle with it alone. If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to cocaine or crack, we urge you to contact us today! We are dedicated to helping those who need it most overcome substance abuse and reclaim the healthy, fulfilling lives they deserve!