Signs and Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Use

Crack Cocaine Rocks

The results of abusing crack cocaine are so severe that only the most powerful addiction would keep a person using this drug. Crack cocaine is a strong stimulant that energizes the entire central nervous system and places damaging stresses on the heart, lungs and brain. It is also very often associated with a dramatic deterioration of the quality of life.

When crack cocaine is smoked, the muscles tense and the heart beats faster. The person experiences exhilaration as a result of the release of specific mood hormones.

At the same time that the heart beats faster, the blood vessels constrict, resulting in elevated blood pressure. At any time, this change can result in a heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest.

Telltale Indications of Crack Use

A person abusing crack cocaine may leave behind tiny plastic bags with small off-white rocks of crack, or just a little residue of the drugs that were stored in the bag. There may be crack pipes around made of metal or glass. A person who has been smoking crack often has burned fingers or lips from holding onto the pipe while it heats up.

Crack cocaine effects do not last as long as powder cocaine, meaning that the user will need to disappear for another dose in as short a time as 10 to 15 minutes. A crack user is therefore always in need of more of the drug. This is one of the reasons that many crack users resort to crime. They have no other way to keep up with this constant need for crack. Women may turn to prostitution and men may turn to theft.

Immediate Physical Signs

The person will have dilated pupils and a dry mouth. They may sweat and there will be little appetite. They will probably be restless and talkative. There will be too much energy for the person to sleep. They will be physically active.

Some definite negative phenomena appear either coincident with drug use, or after use has been continued for some time. These phenomena include depression, isolation, defensiveness and paranoia. The person’s moods may swing wildly and they may manifest a false sense of confidence and power. There may be hallucinations and confusion. The person may think there are bugs crawling on his skin. They may pick and scratch at their skin. They will probably have trouble concentrating.

If the drug is used over a period of time, the user is likely to show premature aging. Some people have developed Parkinson’s disease after a long period of crack cocaine use.

Of course, one of the major effects of crack cocaine is rapid development of addiction. Cocaine causes the strongest mental dependency of any drug. This dependency can occur within just days of starting to use crack cocaine.

Binge use of crack cocaine can result in a psychotic, over-stimulated state accompanied by paranoia and compulsive behavior. At the end of the binge, the person will normally crash, suffering exhaustion, agitation, depression and intense cravings.

Crack Cocaine Health Risks:

Drivers and Workers on Cocaine

While a driver who has used crack cocaine may feel invincible, he is likely to lose his concentration while driving, increasing his risk for accidents. He may also suffer attacks of paranoia, hallucinations or mood swings while driving. Lack of concentration may result in a loss of control of the vehicle. Of 253 fatally injured drivers in Michigan in a two-year period, ten percent were found to have cocaine or residues of cocaine use in their blood.

Cocaine users in the workplace often begin to deal drugs in the workplace or commit theft. Work performance normally suffers greatly because nothing is as interesting or exciting as using the drug. Employees who use crack cocaine normally miss work and deadlines.

Cocaine Overdoses Can Be Fatal

Crack overdose

If a person consumes too much crack, they can get into an over-stimulated condition in which their body temperature soars, and they can suffer hallucinations and convulsions. They may be in a confused and delirious state that requires hospitalization. Death can result if treatment is not prompt.

A person may experience an overdose after swallowing their supply of crack cocaine to avoid arrest. The ingestion of crack cocaine can result in serious intoxication and may require hospitalization. It may be fatal.

Recovering Sobriety

Even a person addicted to crack cocaine has the opportunity to get free of it through the Narconon drug rehabilitation program. A key phase of the rehabilitation is the Narconon New Life Detoxification, a sauna-based program that also utilizes moderate daily exercise and a precise regimen of nutritional supplements to flush out old drug toxins. All drug or alcohol abuse leaves residues behind that lodge in fatty tissues and can trigger cravings. But after this phase of recovery, those finishing talk about a brighter viewpoint increased energy and lower cravings.

Find out now how the Narconon drug recovery program can help someone you care about who is addicted to crack cocaine.

Clinical Review by Claire Pinelli, LADC, CCS, ICAADC, MCAP