Crack Cocaine Addiction

Crack cocaine is one off the most commonly abused substances. If you take it, you will experience an intense high marked by pleasurable feelings. However, this high is short lived and will immediately be followed by intense edginess, depression, and cravings for more of the substance. It is for this reason that you may quickly develop a substance use disorder soon after your first time using crack.

What Is It?

Crack cocaine appears as a hard and mineral like substance. It has an off-white tint to it. The substance is produced by mixing ammonia or baking soda with cocaine (in its powder form). After that, the mixture is typically heated with a torch or lighter until it turns into the rocks that comprise crack.

If you start using this drug, you will typically vaporize it in glass pipes. These pipes are often referred to as a rose or a stem because they come with a rose inside. After that, you will inhale the resultant smoke. Alternatively, you may heat it in aluminum foil or soda cans, or take it intravenously through an injection.

Today, crack cocaine is considered to the freebase form of its parent drug cocaine. It is also largely popular because it is inexpensive and produces a fast acting and ultra-potent high.

The drug is also referred to as a crack due to the sound that it makes when the rock-shaped chunks of the substance are burned. However, it also has many other names on the street, including but not limited to:

  • Nuggets
  • Jelly beans
  • Gravel
  • Dice
  • Candy
  • Rocks
  • Base
  • Cookies

Crack is a powerful stimulant. When you use it, to this end, it will produce a rapid and euphoric high. The stimulant effects of this drug means that it can speed up different physical and mental processes. It can also increase your energy levels as well as make you feel like you are in control.

When you smoke crack cocaine, you will experience near-immediate effects. This is because you would inhale the drug directly into your lungs after which it will be absorbed into your bloodstream relatively quickly.

As a result, you will feel its effects relatively quickly but they will dissipate anywhere between 2 and 20 minutes. Due to the fact that this high is short lived, it is highly likely that you will abuse the drug in binges. The resulting binge and crash cycle will, however, increase your risk of developing tolerance, physical and psychological tolerance, and eventual addiction to crack cocaine.

What Are The Effects?

Since crack is considered to be an illicit substance, using it is a type of drug abuse. As we mentioned earlier, you will most likely smoke this drug instead of snorting it through your nose in the same you would with regular cocaine. As a result, the drug will get to your brain much faster, where it will produce an immediate and intense high. However, this high tends to be short lived.

Even so, this high is accompanied by various effects of crack abuse. These include:

  • An inflated sense of self
  • Confidence
  • Decreased appetite
  • Euphoria
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hyper stimulation
  • Increased alertness.
  • Increased self-importance
  • Intense euphoric feelings
  • Talkativeness
  • Tension

Crack cocaine is like many other drugs in the sense that using it persistently and regularly will cause your desired effects to be replaced quickly by its negative effects. The drug is also potent, meaning that you have a high risk of suffering a fatal overdose. This is one of the reasons why you may overdose even after your first time using this substance.

Signs to Look For If Someone Is Abusing Crack Cocaine

Crack is one of the most dangerous of all addictive substances that you can decide to get involved with. It is highly unlikely that you would start using this drug in a recreational or casual way for a significant period of time because it is one of the powerfully addictive substances you can find today.

To this end, any use of this drug should be considered to be a serious condition. If you suspect that someone might be taking crack cocaine, there are some signs and symptoms that you should look out for.

In particular, crack is addictive due to the intense euphoric rush that it causes. However, this rush tends to fade relatively quickly and it will leave you wanting more of it. It will also activate the reward centers of the brain - which could reinforce the continued abuse of the drug.

Some of the physical signs that you should look for when you suspect that your loved one might be abusing this drug include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Fasciculation or twitching of the muscles
  • Hypertension (or raised blood pressure)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nosebleeds
  • Reduced sleep
  • Suppressed appetite and weight loss

You might also notice some psychological signs that could point out the fact that they might be abusing this drug or already addicted to it. These signs include:

  • Aggression
  • Continued crack abuse at the expense of their relationships, finances, and other essential aspects of life
  • Inability to stop abusing the drug even though they strongly desire to do so
  • Persistent thoughts about drug use
  • Psychotic symptoms, including paranoia and hallucinations
  • Putting a high priority on getting and using the drug
  • Strong cravings for crack cocaine
  • Volatile mood swings

Short and Long Term Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Addiction

Although it is cheaper, crack cocaine is far more addictive and potent than regular cocaine. As a result, there is a high risk that you could quickly become addicted to it soon after you start abusing this drug. It is also for this reason that you may develop an addiction the first time you experience with it.

Due to the high that you experience when you take crack cocaine, you will soon find that you have to take more of the substance. This is the only way you are going to be able to maintain the short pleasure that the drug produces.

As your crack addiction develops, you will increasingly find that you have to look for and abuse this drug to be able to feel its effects. Over time, you will display the following short and long term signs and symptoms of crack cocaine abuse and addiction:

Short Term Symptoms

The fact that you will most likely smoke the drug means that its effects tend to be more intense and immediate than those of regular cocaine. Signs of short term crack addiction include:

  • Anxiety
  • Contracted blood vessels
  • Convulsions
  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Faster breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • High blood pressure
  • High body temperature
  • Hyper excitability
  • Hyper stimulation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Intense euphoria
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Sudden death (if you take too high a dose of crack cocaine)
  • Tactile hallucinations, such as feeling that there are bugs burrowing under your skin
  • Violent, bizarre, and sometimes erratic behavior

Long Term Effects

In the long term, your crack cocaine addiction could be marked by the following symptoms:

  • Abscesses if you inject the drug
  • Anxiety
  • Apathy
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Exhaustion
  • Confusion
  • Damage to the mouth, lips, and teeth
  • Death
  • Delirium
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased frequency of engaging in risky behavior
  • Infectious diseases if injected
  • Infertility
  • Irritability
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Lung damage
  • Major depression
  • Malnutrition
  • Marked cognitive decline
  • Mood disturbances
  • Permanent damage to the blood vessels in your ear and brain
  • Psychosis
  • Reproductive damage
  • Respiratory failure
  • Seizures
  • Severe chest pains
  • Severe depression
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Sexual problems
  • Strokes
  • Tactile hallucinations
  • Weight loss

Crack Cocaine Overdose Risks

If you overdose on crack cocaine, you may display the following symptoms that require emergency medical treatment:

  • Aggression
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Black phlegm
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Chest pain
  • Cold sweats
  • Dilated pupils
  • Fatal complications if you have high blood pressure or kidney problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Itchiness
  • Nausea
  • Psychosis
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizure
  • Stroke
  • Sweating

Best Options for Recovery

The best option to recover from your crack cocaine abuse and addiction would be through an inpatient or an outpatient addiction treatment program. The program will start your treatment through a medically managed detoxification process. This is designed to help you overcome your physical dependence on the substance as well as manage any arising withdrawal symptoms.

The most common symptoms of withdrawal that you may experience while addicted to crack cocaine include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings

Once you are through with detox, you will make the transition to a rehabilitation program. During this program, you will focus on dealing with the psychological aspects of your crack abuse and addiction. You could also receive group and individual therapy as well as attend support group meetings.

It is recommended that you spend anywhere between 30 days to 90 days - or even as long as one year - in the rehab program to ensure that you are able to completely overcome your addiction to crack cocaine.

CITATIONS

http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/crack.asp

https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/content/cocaine-coke-crack-facts

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/teeth-and-drug-use

https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/cocaine.pdf

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/cocaine-abuse-and-addiction.page

Questions? Need Help?

If you or a loved one needs help for substance abuse or addiction, fill out the form below and a counselor will respond shortly.

Fill out this form.
100% Free and Confidential