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Telltale Signs & Symptoms of Crack Addiction

According to CESAR, “‘Crack’ is the name given to cocaine that has been processed with soda or ammonia and transformed into a more potent, smokable ‘rock’ form.” Because it is different from regular cocaine and is abused differently, there are some signs and symptoms of crack addiction which are specific to this form of the drug. There are also many similar telltale signs that crack and cocaine addicts share.

Signs and Symptoms Specific to the Abuse of Crack

As stated by the NIDA, “Different routes of cocaine administration can produce different adverse effects.” If you are unsure whether someone is abusing cocaine powder or crack, look for specific effects and signs such as:

  • Respiratory problems from smoking the drug on a regular basis
  • A very quickly developed tolerance (crack abusers often smoke more of the drug in a binge period than cocaine abusers take)
  • The presence of a crackpipe, which is usually made from glass, in the person’s home
  • The commonness of abusing crack with heroin or marijuana or some other type of drug as opposed to cocaine alone

CESAR states that, because the short-lived high will get a person wanting to continue smoking and abusing the drug, “a person can become addicted after his or her first time trying crack cocaine.” This very quick spiral into addiction is one of the stronger signs of crack and not cocaine abuse.

Other Telltale Signs & Symptoms of Crack Addiction

crack abuse

If you’ve tried to quit using crack cocaine before but haven’t been successful you may have an addiction.

Someone who is addicted to crack will:

  • Seek out the drug to the detriment of themselves
  • Spend money they do not have on the drug
  • Experience severe problems in their lives due to crack abuse including:
    • Legal problems (getting arrested, being charged with possession/dealing)
    • Work problems (getting fired, getting reprimanded)
    • Relationship problems (breaking up, breaking familial ties)
  • Diminished life satisfaction and the inability to feel pleasure unless abusing crack
  • Smoking crack when alone
  • Neglecting responsibilities, important life moments, and even daily routines and hygiene in order to smoke crack
  • Becoming tolerant to the effects of crack so that the person needs to smoke more of the drug in order to feel the same effects
  • Becoming dependent on the drug so that the person does not feel normal unless he or she is smoking crack

There are also many psychological and physical symptoms of crack addiction which are caused by the way the drug affects the body. These symptoms are:

  • Physical symptoms
    • Stroke
    • Heart problems
    • Heart disease
    • Seizures
    • Sexual dysfunction
    • Infertility
    • Severe weight loss due to appetite suppression from the drug which can lead to malnourishment
  • Psychological symptoms
    • Psychosis including:
      • Hallucinations
      • Paranoia
      • Aggression
      • Violent thoughts and behavior
      • Delirium
    • Irritability
    • Severe depression
    • Increased frequency of risky behavior

Crack addiction can occur very quickly. A person who is addicted to crack will almost constantly be abusing the drug and will have many physical and psychological problems as a result. Because of this, there are many telltale signs and symptoms of crack addiction. Someone who is addicted to the drug should be treated as soon as possible before any symptoms he or she is currently exhibiting become worse or overdose occurs.

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