Crack Cocaine Addiction

Derived from the same coca plant as cocaine, , crack cocaine is a more dangerous form of the highly addictive drug.

Crack is powder cocaine mixed with water and baking soda, cknown as "freebase", which is dried into solid rock crystals. The term "crack" refers to the sound heard when the crystals are heated and the vapours inhaled, usually through a glass pipe. As with cocaine, the "high" is immediate and intense but, unlike the effects of cocaine, which lasts 15-30 minutes, the high from crack lasts just 5-10 minutes. A short-lived, intense high is immediately followed by the opposite – a severe depression, edginess and anxiety.

More frequent and higher doses of the drug drug – is the obsessive outcome of the need to achieve the same 'high' and the user quickly become physically and psychologically dependent, leading quickly from crack abuse to total crack addiction.

Symptoms and Warning Signs

Crack addiction takes complete control of the user's life. No longer able to stop the need to take the drug, every aspect of a user's day is focused on satisfying their constant craving.

Short term effects include:
  • Hyper-stimulation / intense euphoria / hallucinations
  • Dilated pupils/ increased heart rate/ blood pressure / body temperature / contracted blood vessels / increased rate of breathing
  • Loss of appetite / disturbed sleep patterns
  • Irritability/ nausea / erratic or violent behaviour
  • Frequent infections
  • Excessive burns or blisters on the fingers or lips/li>
  • Depression / panic / psychosis
  • Convulsions/ seizures / sudden death

Long term effects include:
  • Severe chest pains
  • Permanent damage to blood vessels of ear and brain
  • High blood pressure, leading to heart attacks, respiratory failure /strokes and death
  • Liver, kidney and lung damage
  • Infectious diseases and abscesses
  • Malnutrition, weight loss / severe tooth decay
  • Auditory and tactile hallucinations
  • Sexual problems, reproductive damage and infertility (for both men and women)
  • Disorientation, apathy, confused exhaustion
  • Irritability / mood disturbances / increased frequency of unpredictable behaviour
  • Severe depression / delirium / psychosis
  • Tolerance and addiction (even after just one use)

Overdosing on crack cocaine becomes a real risk from relatively low amounts caused by increased sensitivity to the drug's effects. Further health risks involve:
  • Mixing crack cocaine with other substances, such as alcohol to intensify the high but also the risk of sudden death.
  • Creation of toxic fumes when burned.
  • Short, hot crack pipes causing blistered lips, known as "crack lip."

Crack Withdrawal -Whereas cocaine has become known as a "party drug", crack cocaine users are often solitary and take the drug alone.

Crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms include:involve:
  • Chronic fatigue and depression
  • Anxiety and paranoia

While crack cocaine withdrawal usually lasts a few weeks the symptoms of depression or anxiety can be longer term.

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