Crack cocaine, which is also called crack, rock, candy, and jellybeans, is a type of cocaine that’s been dissolved in an ammonia-water or baking soda-water solution, and then heated to remove the liquids and separate out a solid form of the drug. Aside from the form, another difference between crack and cocaine is that crack is smoked rather than snorted or rubbed into the gums, and this method of ingestion results in a much more potent high.
Like cocaine, crack is highly addictive and can cause an overdose. One of the main reasons it can be so addictive is that people who take cocaine tend to binge by taking multiple doses in short periods of time, and this type of behavior quickly leads to increased use, dependence, and addiction.
Crack use is much less common than cocaine use. In fact, a study conducted in 2014 shows that only 23.6% of people who used cocaine used crack cocaine. Despite it not being abused as much as cocaine, crack isn’t any less dangerous than cocaine, and being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of crack cocaine abuse in a loved one could mean a friend or family member gets help sooner rather than later.
Physical Signs & Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Abuse
When a person is high on crack or abusing the drug, the brain gets flooded with the neurotransmitter dopamine, and this creates feelings of euphoria and can lead to addictive behavior. Because of the effect the drug has on the brain, there are many physical signs and symptoms that can alert loved ones to the addiction. A person who is high on crack may be extremely happy and hyperactive, as well as sensitive to sound, touch, and sight.
Other physical signs & symptoms of crack cocaine abuse include:
- Burns on the lip (from a pipe)
- Being highly energetic
- Mental alertness
- Increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Nausea and stomach pains
- Muscle twitches or tremors
- Irregular heart rhythm
- Loss of appetite
- Blood vessel constriction
- Ashes or soot on the hands and fingers
Psychological Signs & Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Abuse
There are also many psychological effects that act as telltale signs of crack cocaine abuse. People who abuse crack may be prone to paranoia, and this can lead to erratic, bizarre, and unpredictable behavior, even when the person isn’t high on the drug.
Some of the other common psychological signs and symptoms include:
- Irritability and restlessness
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Taking unsafe risks
- Hallucinations, especially tactile ones
Because the drug can cause hallucinations, some other psychological signs of crack use can manifest physically, such as picking at the skin, having memories of things that didn’t happen, and talking to people who aren’t there.
Behavioral Signs & Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Abuse
Since crack use affects areas of the brain that control emotions and the reward pathway, abusing the drug can cause a number of behavioral signs as well. Many crack cocaine abuse signs & symptoms that are behavioral surface with other drugs as well, and they can affect any and every aspect of a person’s life. Common things to watch for include:
- Social: changing friends, isolation, withdrawal, and lack of interest in recreational activities
- Work: declining performance, absenteeism, getting fired or reprimanded, ignoring duties, or having trouble at school
- Home: neglecting responsibilities, lying to family, or getting into trouble with the law
- Health: getting sick more often, neglecting appearance and hygiene, and emotional instability
- Finances: getting into debt, borrowing or stealing money, and spending lots of money
Long-Term Physical Effects of Crack Cocaine Abuse
Even though crack makes people feel euphoric while they’re high, the drug takes a great toll on the mind and body, and there are a number of long-term side effects associated with abuse. These effects range from mild to severe, and some can even be life-threatening. For example, one of the long-term crack cocaine abuse symptoms is an increased risk of contracting blood-borne diseases like HIV or hepatitis, and both of these can be fatal. Other long-term physical effects of crack abuse include:
- Increased risk of addiction and overdose
- Heart attack
- Tooth decay
- Weight loss or malnourishment from lack of appetite
- Movement disorders
- Heart, liver, lung, and kidney damage
- Respiratory failure
- Sexual dysfunction and infertility
Long-Term Mental Effects of Crack Abuse
Beyond that, there are also long-term mental risks associated with crack abuse, including that some of the effects become persistent. After prolonged use, some of the most common mental crack cocaine abuse signs include:
- Severe depression and increased risk of suicide
- Lasting irritability and restlessness
- Persistent paranoia
- Mood disturbances
- Disorientation and confusion
Similarly, prolonged use leads to impaired judgment and riskier behavior and this can lead to accidents, injuries, harm to others, and even death.
At Futures of Palm Beach, we have plenty of experience with crack addiction, and will be available every step of the way. Call today to learn about our comprehensive addiction treatment programs.