Crack Cocaine Addiction and Abuse

Addiction to crack can develop after the first use and continue to grow, as you need more of the drug to reach that initial “high.”

Understanding Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is a hard, mineral-like substance with an off-white tint. Crack is made by mixing baking soda or ammonia into the powder form of cocaine and dried forming the “rocks” known as crack cocaine. It is most usually vaporized in a glass pipe and inhaled, though some people use soda cans or aluminum foil to heat it.

The name comes from the cracking or popping sound the substance makes when heated. Other names for it include: rock(s), base, candy, cookies, kryptonite, sleet, or most commonly, crack. If someone you or a loved one is struggling with a crack cocaine addiction, contact us now.

Crack Effects and Abuse

When it is smoked (rather than snorted through the nose), the drug reaches the brain more quickly, producing an intense and immediate high. This high, however, is short-lived.

The effects of crack cocaine include:

  • Euphoria
  • Hyperactivity
  • Tension
  • Talkativeness
  • Confidence

Due to its potency, there is a high risk of fatal overdose from using crack cocaine. Even someone using the drug for the first time can overdose.

An overdose is typically preceded by dilated pupils and sweating. Signs of a crack cocaine overdose include:

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

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Addiction to Crack Cocaine

Crack is far more potent and addictive than regular cocaine. Therefore, an addiction to crack develops quickly, and some people become addicted the first time they try it.

Strong cravings for the drug along with the desire to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms make it difficult to quit. People addicted to crack tend to ignore the negative consequences caused by their drug use.

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Getting Out of Crack’s Grip

Just as your brain can be rewired into feeling like crack is the only form of pleasure in the world, it can also be wired back to its original, healthy state through appropriate treatment. Take the first step in taking your life back today.

Signs of Crack Abuse

Although the effects of crack cocaine are intense, people who are addicted to the drug may be good at hiding it. People who are using crack usually exhibit overconfidence and hyperactivity.

Other signs of crack abuse to look for include:

  • Frequent disappearances (to get high)
  • Dilated pupils
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Restlessness
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Uncharacteristic irresponsibility
  • Cracked or blistered lips from smoking out of a hot pipe
  • Burns on fingers
  • Seizures
  • Forgetfulness
  • Impaired coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Increased pulse rate
  • Hand tremors
  • Panic attacks

Immediate Effects of Crack Abuse

Due in part to the unpredictability of the drug’s contents, the effects of smoking crack can vary. Crack’s effects are both physical and psychological, and the severity increases the more a person smokes. Some immediate side effects of crack abuse include:

  • Aggression
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Panic attacks
  • Slowed thinking
  • Seizures
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
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Questions about treatment?

Call now to be connected with a compassionate treatment specialist.

Recognizing a Crack Cocaine Addiction

The symptoms of addiction are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and include ignoring responsibilities to use and doing more than initially intended.

Anyone exhibiting these symptoms may meet the clinical definition of crack cocaine addiction. If someone has four to five of the outlined symptoms, their addiction is categorized as moderate. Anything more than six is considered a severe crack addiction. Learn more about diagnosing an addiction.

Symptoms of Withdrawal from Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is both physically and psychologically addicting. Because addiction to crack can be so hard to overcome, users are generally advised to go through detoxification in a supervised drug treatment center program. There are two phases of withdrawal: acute withdrawal, which refers to the immediate symptoms, and protracted withdrawal or post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS), which refers to the extended psychological symptoms that may occur weeks or months after quitting use.

Common acute withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Exhaustion
  • Unpleasant dreams
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Mood changes
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Protracted withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation or shaking
  • Cravings
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of motivation
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Anger or emotional outbursts

Questions about treatment?

Call now to be connected with a compassionate treatment specialist.

Duration of Withdrawal

How long withdrawal from crack cocaine takes varies for each user and is based on a number of different factors. Factors include the user’s body chemistry, tolerance, and the severity and duration of the addiction. Withdrawal can begin anywhere from an hour to 72 hours after the last crack cocaine dose.

Physical symptoms of crack withdrawal typically last anywhere from 1 to 3 months, although there is no exact timeframe for how long symptoms will last. There have been reports of psychological withdrawal symptoms lasting as long as 6 months.

Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline

24-72 hours During the first 72 hours of withdrawal, users may experience symptoms such as paranoia and body aches. There have also been reports of visual and auditory hallucinations during this period. It is not uncommon for extreme paranoia to set in during the first 24 hours. After this initial period, hallucinations and paranoia generally subside.
Week 1 During the first full week of withdrawal, other symptoms often set in, including irritability, extreme fatigue, trouble sleeping and a general lack of motivation.
Week 2 During week two, cravings for the drug become more intense and depression often sets in. The brain is still reacting to the withdrawal process, and typically will not produce enough dopamine for strong positive emotions. Anxiety may return during this period.
Weeks 3-4 During weeks three and four, the body’s chemistry is still changing and mood changes are fairly frequent. Though the physical craving for crack has subsided by this time, the psychological cravings generally remain through the first month. Feelings of anxiety or depression may remain as well.

Treatment Centers for Crack Addiction

Finding a treatment center that specializes in treating crack addiction markedly improves the chances of a full recovery. Some treatment centers known for helping people break their grip on crack include:

Questions about treatment?

Call now to be connected with a compassionate treatment specialist.

Help for Your Crack Addiction

Overcoming a crack addiction is difficult but far from impossible. You deserve to live the best version of yourself as possible. There are many treatment centers across the country. We can help you find one that is the best fit for you, whether you need help finding a center near you or finding out how to pay for treatment. Get in touch with someone who can help you get and stay clean.