7 Signs of Crack Use and Addiction

7 Signs of Crack Use and Addiction – Crack cocaine saw its popularity soar during the 1980s and 90s and while it’s no longer discussed frequently on the news – crack cocaine is still a serious problem in the US. According to a 2013 National Institute on Drug Abuse survey close to one million Americans admitted to using crack currently or in the past. If you suspect a loved one is addicted to crack cocaine, it’s best to do more research before pointing the finger.

Let’s learn seven of the most common signs of a crack cocaine addiction and what to do if you or a loved one is addicted.  

Sudden Financial Issues

Crack cocaine is notoriously cheap, especially when compared to powder cocaine – but it’s not free. A crack cocaine addiction can have users clawing out their eyes for another hit which means they’ll spend whatever money necessary to feed their addiction. Someone who is suddenly having financial difficulty, along with other symptoms, could be shelling out to their habit. Someone pawning off their possessions and living in a barren home is not normal. If a loved one who you thought was financially well-off is suddenly begging your money – there could be a problem.

Sudden Criminal Issues

Traditionally criminal behavior due to addiction follows a path. First, the user will ‘rob’ themselves, like pawning their favorite guitar before turning to theft against those closest to them. They may steal their parents’ TV or sell off their roommate’s personal jewelry. After they’ve run out of things to steal directly around them, they will turn to the streets.

Financial issues and criminal issues go hand-in-hand. Someone who has had a clean criminal record their entire life may be forced to turn to crime like theft and fraud to feed their habit. If someone you know as law-abiding is suddenly being arrested for theft, breaking and entering, trespassing, and even more severe crimes, they may be desperate for money to get their next hit. Criminal behavior almost always stems for a need or want, rarely just because.  

Abrupt Changes in Personality

Crack cocaine affects every part of a person including their self-identity. Rather than searching for symptoms of a crack high or withdrawal, searching for personality changes can be a better indicator that something is wrong. If someone who used to love riding their bike every morning doesn’t care for it anymore, if your bright daughter suddenly doesn’t care about her college grades, or if your spouse suddenly keeps staying out longer than normal you may have an issue with drugs like crack cocaine. Sudden changes in personality including energy, motivation, and zest for life is an apparent sign that something has gone wrong and the person needs your help.


7 Signs of Crack Use and Addiction

Crack cocaine is a smokable form of cocaine that needs a pipe or other paraphernalia to be used and abused. Common objects associated with crack cocaine include light bulbs, glass tubes, steel wool or other filter-like items, tin foil, aluminum cans, and more. It may not be uncommon to spot these items around a normal home but if they are all together with blackened char marks – you’re looking at crack cocaine paraphernalia.

Physical Signs of Crack Cocaine High

Crack cocaine highs are brief but someone high on crack is generally easy to spot due to the drug’s stimulant effects. You can expect anyone high on crack to appear overstimulated or bizarrely energetic, especially compared to their normal personality. Other physiological symptoms of a crack cocaine high include:

  • Itching / Scratching – Like other illicit drugs crack cocaine can cause formication. Formication is the feeling that bugs or other objects are moving on or below the skin.
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Elevated Blood Pressure
  • Sweating
  • Dilated pupils

Physical Signs of Crack Cocaine Withdrawal

Again, crack’s high is brief, but the physical symptoms of withdrawal may last longer and can be a more apparent indicator that a loved one needs help. Signs of crack cocaine withdrawal include:

  • Tremors, tics, and twitches
  • Exhaustion – Crack users may stay awake for extended periods – even multiple days. The comedown can lead to severe exhaustion and excessive sleeping.
  • Sweating
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Vomiting

Psychological Signs and Symptoms

There are several psychological signs and symptoms to crack cocaine addiction. While physiological signs may be difficult to follow psychological symptoms present more strongly and for longer periods of time. Psychological symptoms of crack cocaine addiction include:

  • Mania – Unusual amounts of energy and drive
  • Depression – More common to see during withdrawal than during the high
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Dramatic mood wings – Crack users can experience dramatic mood shifts both while high and during withdrawal. High highs and low lows are a hallmark of any addiction.  
  • Psychosis – Losing touch with reality.

You may initially want to look for physiological symptoms of crack cocaine addiction, but the most obvious signs don’t present physically. Personality changes and other severe shifts are the major signs that indicate a problem. While just one of these signs doesn’t prove someone is addicted to crack cocaine, a combination of several of these signs should be an apparent sign something isn’t going well.

Getting Help for a Crack Cocaine Addiction

Without help, crack cocaine addictions end in a jail cell, hospital bed, or in the graveyard. If you don’t get help for yourself or a loved one soon – you will face the consequences. Luckily there are thousands of certified treatment and detox facilities that can help your loved one get back on their feet. Every second counts with addiction so pick up the phone or head online today to get help.

10 thoughts on “7 Signs of Crack Use and Addiction”

  1. I live n an apartment. An older woman lives above me. She sleeps most of the day
    But when she wakes I can smell (immediately) a sickening smell, very strong and gives me a headache. Is there anything I can do about it? Thank you.

  2. Margaret Stewart

    I am pretty sure my boyfriend who has been clean and sober for 7 years is doing crack cocaine again and he isn’t being honest about it and he’s in denial.

    1. I think my dad is smoking crack cocaine too. Yesterday he was getting nauseous, vomiting, pupils were huge and had a cough and didn’t want to eat dinner. I smelled a burning smell yesterday in our hallway. He said it was just weed but I know what weed smells like and that definitely was not it. He’s been sober for almost a year. His money has also been disappearing recently and he’s almost never home. When he is here he’s either super upbeat or super down never normal. My mom said these were the same symptoms he had before when he was smoking crack. He’s an alcoholic, opiate addict and now smoking crack again. I’ve been sober for almost 8 years. I guess he’s just not ready. Thanks for listening to me vent.

    2. Mine too, the biggest kick in the ass to me is I work at a inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program and didn’t pick up on this sooner, and I can’t stop it and he doesn’t want help .. it is so painful.

  3. My husband sniffs and smokes crack his attitude and everyday life has changed he keeps the house dark stays in the bathroom alot for a period of time he denies he is using he sneezes and cough a lot very glossy eyes I don’t want to lose him

  4. Hello,
    My boyfriend and I are every day smoker’s ok crack cocaine. We can’t function without it. I’m very scared that something bad is going to happen. I so desperately want help. 😩

    1. Dabbsy, help is available. There was a time in your life that you did function without drugs, so you CAN function without drugs again, and your LIFE can be BEAUTIFUL. The drugs are lying to you, the people in your circle are lying to you, and most importantly, you are lying to yourself. PLEASE go and get inpatient treatment immediately. Then follow that with intensive outpatient, ongoing treatment. You will need to change your environment and stay away from the people in your life who are choosing to remain in their addictions. That means even your boyfriend if he is still in denial or not ready to get help. You can not change him, you cannot rescue him, and you are NOT responsible for the choices he makes. The only thing you can do is start making better choices for yourself TODAY. God designed you and He knows EVERYTHING about you, and God LOVES you with all your flaws and scars. You must make the decision to TURN to God, and God will NOT disappoint you. Look up and read Habakkuk 3:19. And PLEASE get help. There are so many people who love and care about you, some you haven’t even met yet!

  5. Dabsy, Im afraid my son is doing it. He’s 21. Beating this is a struggle for you, you can help others by conquring this. But think of helping yourself because you needs “YOU” Be a friend to yourself. With saying that .how would you think I would approach my son. You can give so much help with your reply. My heart goes out to you and all with this struggle. You are so loved and it’s commendable to be reaching out. Very proud of you.

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