- 1. Toxic Poisoning
- 6. Hallucinations
- 8. Other Psychosis
- 9. Physical Impairments
- 10. Psychological and Behavioral Changes
- Questions about treatment?
- What Is Crack Cocaine?
- Physical Signs Of Abuse
- Behavioral Signs Of Abuse
- Health Effects
- How Is Crack Use And Abuse Treated?
- Find Treatment For Crack Abuse Today at RehabCenter.net
- 1. Changes In Behavior
- 2. Changes In Mood
- 3. Physical Signs Of Crack Cocaine Abuse
- 4. Respiratory Issues Related To Crack Cocaine
- 5. Crack Cocaine Paraphernalia
- Dangers Of Crack Cocaine Use And Abuse
- Treatment For Crack Cocaine Addiction
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Crack is a potent form of cocaine that can easily be produced from powder cocaine to be smoked. This form of ingestion causes the crack chemicals to reach the brain much more rapidly and in higher concentrations than the traditional methods of snorting cocaine powder.
1. Toxic Poisoning
Crack abusers endanger themselves with every hit they take by ingesting toxic chemicals that are used in the processed cocaine as well as those added to make the “crack rocks”. Signs of crack use may be infections, low immunity, breathing problems, organ damages, or fatal poisonings.
Crack users risk overdose by varying potency levels, combining crack use with other substances, or when they have compromised health issues. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, in 2011, the highest number of estimated emergency department visits involved cocaine abuse at 505,224 visits.
Signs of crack use may be a cycle of abuse that can go on for days. These binge cycles will consist of multiple “runs” for more crack after supplies become exhausted. The users may only stop when their funds and connections become unavailable or they are too worn out to go on.
Crack use can make a person withdrawn, paranoid, and hostile.
After using crack for a few hours or days, users experience a storm of activity within the brain and central nervous system that are, essentially, the opposite of their “feel good high”. These rebound signs of crack use can cause users to become agitated, withdrawn, or excessively sleepy and lead to severe depression, and suicidal, harmful, or aggressive behaviors.
A common sign of crack use isparanoia. Abusers think they are being followed or watched and the fear can become so overwhelming that they make rash decisions placing themselves or others in harm. Paranoia can lead to panic attacks and other psychosis which can be physically or psychologically dangerous.
Tactile hallucinations (coke bugs) may lead to picking at the skin which can lead to bacterial infections and other bodily damages. Auditory hallucinations may be symptoms of paranoia and signs of crack use that precedes an overdose.
Panic causes difficulty or erratic breathing, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and can lead to a stroke, seizure, unconsciousness, respiratory failure, or heart attack.
8. Other Psychosis
Beyond paranoia, hallucinations, and panic, other signs of crack use can be a myriad of unexplainable and irrational behaviors that may resemble schizophrenia, mania, or delusional behaviors. The psychotic behaviors of any psychosis can become potentially dangerous.
9. Physical Impairments
Pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, low immunity, infections, burns, kidney or urinary problems, high blood pressure, low oxygen levels, malnutrition, and vitamin deficiencies, brain and central nervous system damages are serious health consequences of crack abuse.
10. Psychological and Behavioral Changes
Functional and structural brain changes can lead to an inability to control thoughts, emotions, or behaviors which may become unwanted, immoral, or dangerous.
Crack is a dangerous form of cocaine, abused for its intense and quick effects. Abuse of crack affects millions in the United States every year. Signs of crack abuse range from moderate to severe, and may not always be easy to recognize. Treatment of crack abuse should be comprehensive as crack addiction changes the way a person’s brain responds to reward.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that cocaine was used by about 1.5 million people in just one month in 2014. In quick numbers, that’s about .6 percent of the national population. Crack cocaine is one of the most highly abused forms of cocaine—a trend that hasn’t declined much since crack was developed in the 1970s.
The high amounts of crack cocaine abused accounts for youth as young as 12 years of age. The age group most affected by cocaine abuse is the 18 to 25 year age range. What is the best way to help reverse this trend in America’s youth, or at least to fight it? Treatment.
Treatment at an inpatient rehab center can help people suffering with addiction to crack begin to heal, to build a new life. But before seeking treatment, you may want to know the signs of crack use and abuse.
Questions About Treatment?
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Questions about treatment?
Call now to be connected with a compassionate treatment specialist.
What Is Crack Cocaine?
Crack is a form of cocaine that has been processed with baking soda or ammonia and formed into a rock crystal. The crystal is then smoked; the crackling sound produced when smoking it is where crack gets its name. The drug can also be snorted or injected.
Crack is a stimulant. Stimulants work by enhancing certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, resulting in a feeling of euphoria. When someone smokes crack, the euphoria “rush” or high is extremely intense, but lasts only about 10 to 15 minutes.
Here are some fast facts about crack abuse, referenced from the Center for Abuse Substance Research:
- Crack is the most potent form of cocaine.
- Abusing cocaine is dangerous, but “crack cocaine is the riskiest form of the substance.”
- Smoking crack allows it to reach the brain more quickly.
- Smoking crack also increases the risk of abuse (continued crack use).
- People can develop addiction to crack after just one use.
Physical Signs Of Abuse
If you think someone you know is abusing crack, but aren’t certain, you may be unsure how to proceed. Some physical objects you may find related to crack abuse are small hand pipes or glass water pipes. People affected by crack abuse use these pipes to smoke the drug.
Other things to look for are powder (from snorting) or needles (from injecting). Physical signs include:
- blistered/cracked lips from smoking from a pipe
- burns on the fingers or hands
- increased breathing
- pupil dilation
Behavioral Signs Of Abuse
A lot of crack’s appeal is that it gives people who use it a strong sense of well-being. Sometimes, this can lead to increased performance. The NIDA explains, “some people find that cocaine helps them perform simple physical and mental tasks more quickly, although others experience the opposite effect.”
Crack is used for its quick onset and intense high. But it can result in odd, unpredictable, even violent behavior. The following are behavioral cues associated with crack abuse:
- extreme happiness
- increased energy level
- mental alertness
The effects of smoking crack are short-lived, but intense. That’s why after just one use the brain can be rewired to produce severe cravings for the drug. Though the desired effects of crack only last a few minutes, other short-term effects can last for hours. Prolonged crack abuse can have a number of damaging effects to a person’s health.
Below is a list of both short- and long-term effects of crack abuse. Effects vary according to duration of abuse, the person abusing it, other substances abused, and more.
- decreased appetite
- increased blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate
- intense urges to use the drug again
- hypersensitivity to sight, sound, and touch
- muscle twitches
- breathing issues
- chronic runny nose
- heart failure
- loss of smell (from snorting)
- problems with bowel movements
- risk of getting infectious diseases
- risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases
- severe depression
- swallowing issues
How Is Crack Use And Abuse Treated?
For some people, treatment may seem daunting. Withdrawal from crack use is severe, producing extreme depression, irritability, endless fatigue, anxiety, and constant, ceaseless cravings. Many avoid seeking treatment, or even stopping use of crack, to avoid undergoing harsh withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment is more readily available than ever, though. Addiction to crack essentially trains a person’s brain to believe it needs and wants the drug all the time. Much of treatment helps a person rearrange his or her thinking to reverse the harm from addiction.
One example of this is cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps addicted individuals develop positive lifestyle habits. Coupled with counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy can help recovering individuals realign their thinking and heal from the emotional and mental scars of abuse.
Other types of treatment include:
- Gender-specific treatment, which caters to the unique needs of each gender
- Dual diagnosis treatment, which assesses and treats any co-occurring disorders
- Support groups, which offer mental and emotional backing
- Faith-based healing, for spiritual encouragement
- Adventure therapy, a modern form of therapy that offers positive healing in a natural environment
These are just some of the services offered at the treatment facilities of RehabCenter.net. Whatever questions you have about treatment methods or facilities, we can answer for you.
Find Treatment For Crack Abuse Today at RehabCenter.net
If you just discovered your loved one is affected by crack abuse, you may be feeling overwhelmed. You are not alone in feeling this way. Millions suffer from crack abuse every day, and their loved ones may feel just as you do.
Crack is a dangerous drug, perhaps one of the most dangerous. Addiction to crack can take over a person’s life. Don’t let that happen to you, or your loved one. Reach out for help today. Contact us at RehabCenter.net for more information on crack abuse, treatment options, and our renowned rehab facilities.
For More Information Related to “Signs Of Crack Use And Abuse” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From RehabCenter.net:
Center For Abuse Substance Research—Crack Cocaine
National Institute On Drug Abuse—DrugFacts: Cocaine
Friday, March 23, 2018
Abusing crack cocaine has many negative physical and emotional consequences. Recognizing the signs of use and abuse can save someone’s life.
Cocaine is illegal and addictive. Crack is a base form of cocaine that is commonly smoked, and has been called “the riskiest form.” Still, crack cocaine is abused and can affect a person’s life in many negative ways.
Some common signs of crack cocaine use and abuse are:
- Changes in behavior
- Changes in mood
- Physical signs of crack cocaine abuse
- Respiratory Issues Related To Crack Cocaine
- Crack Cocaine Paraphernalia
1. Changes In Behavior
As a stimulant that affects the central nervous system, crack cocaine use can drastically alter a person’s behavior. Crack causes narrowed blood vessels, which produces faster breathing and an increased heart rate.
The heightened stimulation of the body results in bursts of energy, euphoria, and hypersensitivity. These effects may cause a person to be hyperactive and to talk excessively, sometimes without making sense.
Crack cocaine can produce unusual aggression or restlessness. It can also give someone “jitters”—involuntary trembling or twitching of the body that can continue even when the high wears off.
People struggling with crack cocaine addiction often lose interest in things that used to be important to them. Jobs, friends, and financial obligations may become less important than their desire to take drugs. They may also suffer from loss of appetite and insomnia.
2. Changes In Mood
The neurotransmitter dopamine regulates feelings of pain and pleasure. Cocaine works by blocking the brain’s dopamine transporters to create a build-up, which results in a pleasurable sensation.
Right after using crack cocaine, a person may be positive, confident, and euphoric. The high is brief, lasting five to 15 minutes. When coming down, a person will likely experience a “crash” and a craving for more of the drug.
Other mood shifts associated with crack cocaine use and abuse are:
- panic attacks
The short duration of the high from crack cocaine paired with the uncomfortable after-effects can lead to binging in order to maintain the euphoria. Long-term use increases the risk of negative mood changes and drastic mood shifts.
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3. Physical Signs Of Crack Cocaine Abuse
A common indicator of crack cocaine abuse is burns or blisters on lips and fingers from a hot crack pipe.
Poor dental hygiene to the point of tooth decay may also be a sign. With prolonged crack cocaine abuse, the mouth and nose dry out. Lowered saliva production means the teeth are less protected from decay. Cocaine also damages tooth enamel.
If crack is snorted, it can cause damage to the inside of the nose, often resulting in nosebleeds. With long-term use, crack cocaine can destroy the ability to smell.
People using crack cocaine may have red, bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils. They may also suffer from the sensation of bugs crawling underneath their skin (“coke bugs”), which can cause compulsive itching.
4. Respiratory Issues Related To Crack Cocaine
Smoking crack cocaine may come with a unique problem called “crack lung.” This is a serious condition involving fever, coughing up blood, low blood oxygen levels, and possible respiratory failure.
Other respiratory issues from crack cocaine abuse include:
- chest pain
- difficulty breathing
- hacking or chronic cough
- black mucus
- fluid or blood in lungs
Crack cocaine has been suggested to increase the risk of lung cancer. It also can damage airways, whether snorted through the nose or inhaled into the lungs.
5. Crack Cocaine Paraphernalia
Crack is often associated with smoking, but it can also be snorted or injected. The type of paraphernalia used with crack cocaine differs depending on the mode of intake.
A glass crack pipe is generally used for smoking, with a metal scouring pad or similar screen-like object used as a filter inside the pipe. It can also be smoked off of a piece of aluminum foil that is heated at the bottom, and the vapors may be inhaled through a straw or hollow pen.
When a person snorts crack cocaine, they may also use a straw, hollow pen, or rolled paper. Credit cards and razor blades are common tools for scraping the powdered crack into a line for snorting.
Injecting crack cocaine requires mixing it with an acidic substance, such as vinegar or lemon juice, to break it down into a liquid. This may be done on a metal spoon with a lighter beneath it. It is then injected with a syringe.
Dangers Of Crack Cocaine Use And Abuse
Crack cocaine is a base form of cocaine mixed with baking soda or ammonia. It looks like yellowish “rocks” rather than the white powder of pure cocaine. Despite being a less pure version of cocaine, crack is very potent and addictive.
Smoking takes a substance directly to the brain, which heightens the effects and produces a nearly instant high. Binging on crack cocaine to keep the high increases the risk of addiction, which can occur after only one use.
Withdrawal symptoms, such as depression, fatigue, insomnia, and slowed brain function can set in after only a few uses as well.
Crack cocaine is often used with other substances. It may be smoked with marijuana or tobacco, or taken with heroin (called “speedballing”). Polysubstance abuse increases the risk of overdose and other drug-related issues.
Abusing crack cocaine can lead to dangerous diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C. While sharing needles is a common cause of disease spreading, a 2007 study found that Hepatitis C could possibly be transmitted through open sores when sharing crack pipes.
Treatment For Crack Cocaine Addiction
There are no medications approved by the FDA specifically for crack cocaine addiction, but treatment options are available. Crack cocaine addiction does not have to control someone’s life.
Inpatient drug rehab centers provide individualized programs for people suffering from crack cocaine addiction. These may include community recovery groups or cognitive-behavioral therapy to help someone connect with others and change the way they live.