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7 Signs of Crack Use and Addiction

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.


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.
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