Crack Abuse: Effects, Signs & Symptoms

If you suspect that you or your loved one have a serious problem with crack cocaine, the next step is gathering more information and preparing yourself for enrollment in treatment. Some of the key areas to address are the signs and symptoms of addiction, things to expect during withdrawal/detox and appropriate treatment options once detox comes to an end. With this knowledge in hand, you can make informed choices that support long-term success on your journey to recovery.

Addiction to crack and other forms of cocaine is a form of a larger condition known as stimulant use disorder.1 This condition includes symptoms of addiction, as well as symptoms of dysfunctional, non-addicted abuse. The stimulant use disorder diagnosis acknowledges the fact that you may have overlapping problems with crack abuse and addiction. You may also have separate issues that only fall into one of these categories.

Symptoms of Crack Abuse

Core symptoms of addiction in people with crack problems include:

  • An inability to limit the number of times you consume the drug
  • An inability to limit the amount of the drug you take at any one time
  • Multiple failed attempts to stop using crack
  • Rising tolerance to the effects of the drug
  • The presence of strong drug cravings between sessions of use
  • The substitution of crack use for other previously preferred recreational activities
  • Continued use of the drug after you experience serious mental or physical problems related to the effects of crack

Core symptoms of non-addicted abuse include repeated use of the drug in dangerous situations (i.e., while driving or operating machinery), a crack-related failure to meet important obligations/responsibilities and continued consumption of the drug after you develop problems with your friends or family.

Signs of Abuse

A range of other signs may indicate the presence of an addiction to crack2. Things you should look for include:

  • Burns marks on lips or fingers (caused by the heat of a crack pipe)
  • Aggressive outbursts
  • Loss of concern over personal appearance or general hygiene
  • Bouts of paranoia
  • Bouts of serious depression
  • An increase in restless or nervous behavior
  • Altered sleep patterns
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Visual or touch-related hallucinations
  • Dangerous drug-seeking behaviors (e.g., trading sex for doses of crack)

Compared to powdered cocaine that’s inhaled or swallowed, crack has a much more rapid, powerful effect on your brain. This means that people who use the drug can develop symptoms of addiction sooner rather than later. It also means that people who use the drug have a greater tendency to develop severe addiction-related problems.

Reach Out For Help

We provide holistic care and treatment using an individualized approach specifically tailored to your needs. Secondly, we help you lead a healthy, substance-free life with adaptive coping and problem-solving skills. Contact us today for more information on our certified staff of professionals, as well as our first-rate facilities.

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Substance Use Disorders
    https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders/substance-use
  2. Cleveland Clinic: Cocaine (Crack)
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/4038-cocaine-crack
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