Crack is considered to be the most addictive form of the stimulant drug cocaine. Rather than snorted, however, crack is usually smoked. A crack ‘rock’ can take various forms, with purer varieties taking the appearance of a crystalline compound.
Once ingested, crack induces a brief burst of euphoria that lasts just a few minutes – much shorter than a traditional cocaine high, which can last a half an hour or more. Due to its brief and intense high, crack is even more habit-forming than regular coke, as users accelerate the cycle of use to maintain euphoria. This binge-crash sequence can continue uninterrupted for days on end.
Crack Addiction Effects and Side Effects
Effects of crack use generally include the following:
- Euphoric “rush”
- Increased alertness
- Excited state
- Decreased appetite
- Dilated (enlarged) pupils
- Increased heart rate
- Intense cravings for more rack shortly after the high subsides
The initial euphoria caused by crack use can quickly turn to feelings of depression and paranoia when the initial rush abates. These people may falsely believe that someone is trying to attack them or get into their house and engage in aggressive and dangerous behavior.
The brief high from smoking crack can be outweighed by a host of adverse effects, and may include:
- Irritability and anxiety
- Aggressive, paranoid behavior
- Abdominal pain
Crack Cocaine Overdose
Cocaine and crack cocaine are involved in thousands of overdose fatalities each year. In 2015, the number of deaths was as high as 7,000 people in that year alone.
Crack overdose symptoms are similar to those caused by traditional cocaine use. However, these symptoms may onset much more rapidly. They include:
- Feeling feverish
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat even while resting
- Uncontrollable energy, agitation, or manic behavior
- Weak pulse or blood pressure
- A decrease in respiration rate
- Clammy skin
- Vomiting in excess or retching
- Trembling and fidgeting
- Angry or violent behavior
- Paranoia and confusion
- Excessive itching/scratching due to feelings of bugs crawling on the skin
- Coma or coming in and out of consciousness
Crack cocaine is especially dangerous when used in combination with drugs, such as opioids, or alcohol.
Treatment for Crack Addiction
Fortunately, addiction to crack cocaine can be treated through the use of a comprehensive, long-term individualized treatment plan. As part of our treatment programs, our center offers behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, group support, and aftercare planning services.
Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process, but you don’t have to battle it alone. Participation in evidence-based treatment has been shown to improve outcomes and help patients maintain long-term recovery.