Wednesday January 17th 2018

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Signs and symptoms of crack addiction

Crack is a form of cocaine that’s been changed to a free base, allowing it to be smoked.  Compared with other drugs, crack addictive properties are risky, and crack is highly addictive.   How does crack affect the brain?  Being addicted to crack produces both changes in mood and changes in behavior. Some examples include being too nervous and alert on a regular basis and losing weight while being careless about personal grooming.

Here, we explore the signs and symptoms of crack addiction, so that you can get help for your loved one before it’s too late. And we invite your questions about crack addiction in the comments section at the end.

Crack addiction signs

If someone has started to abuse crack, there are various signs in behavior that can alert you. A person who was calm before will become highly alert and nervous at even the smallest things. A crack addict may also exhibit lots of surprising energy, which can turn to anger, fear and restlessness. If you suspect that your loved one is showing crack addiction signs, there’s still lots you can do. Addiction specialists such as psychotherapists, doctors, and psychiatrists (in addition to your own love and support) can help loved ones recover from addiction.

Symptoms of crack addiction

The symptoms and signs of crack addiction are very noticeable, and you should be on alert if someone you know exhibits several of these symptoms at the same time. Here is a list of the symptoms of crack addiction that you’ll notice shortly after a person starts using crack regularly:

  • being nervous and alert all the time
  • bloodshoot, red eyes
  • carelessness about personal appearance
  • constantly requiring money
  • denial of a problem
  • frequent sniffing
  • insomnia
  • looking tired
  • loss of interest in family, friends, school or other once-pleasurable activities
  • lying
  • noticeable mood changes
  • runny nose
  • sudden loss of weight

The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders outlines the clinical criteria for crack addiction. It’s a maladaptive pattern of substance abuse that brings about clinically severe impairment happening for a time span of one year. During crack addiction, recurrent crack use progresses to massive failures to satisfy major life obligations at work, home or school. Another sign of crack addiction is that recurrent crack use leads to instances of physical danger, such as driving while impaired. Crack addiction involves ongoing legal problems like arrests for crack-related disorderly behavior and continuous use of crack in spite of these ongoing social and interpersonal problems caused by crack’s effects.

Crack addiction symptoms: Can they be treated?

Even though it can be difficult, crack addiction symptoms are treatable. Studies have shown that treatment of crack addiction can actually lessen use by as much as 50%. Abusers of crack can recover thanks to a mix of drug and behavioral therapies. After detox, crack addicts can undergo psychotherapy to address main reasons for use. Once the root of drug use is exposed, mental and behavioral adaptations make sobriety possible.

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One of the most common ways to get a crack addict into treatment is the intervention. An intervention can be information, or you can ask for help from a mental health professional (psychologist, counselor, etc.). During an intervention fo crack addiction, the addict’s friends and family confront the addict about substance abuse with the goal of getting him to agree to attend drug rehab treatment.

Signs of crack addiction questions

Still have questions about the signs and symptoms of crack addiction? Please ask us now. We respond to questions or comments left below personally.

References: U.S. Attorney General: Drugs: Crack 
NIDA: Cocaine Facts
PubMed: Cocaine and Psychiatric Symptoms

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27 Responses to “Signs and symptoms of crack addiction
Bob E
3:17 pm March 21st, 2013

Another tell tale sign is the “picked” face much like the meth user.

6:11 am March 22nd, 2013

Those are pretty accurate symptoms.
Continue to educate people.


1:58 am March 24th, 2013

My daughter was on herion, shooting it up to 5 times a day. For some reason she started to smoke crack, I still do not believe ut, and now she credits crack for getting her off heroin, I just don’t know what to say to this belief. My mind draws a blank, I realize how sick she is. In her mind herion is worse Helpy

6:33 am March 24th, 2013

Hi Cari. Addiction is primarily a brain-based condition, and addicts can have very distorted patterns of thinking. It’s important to get an addict off a drug to address the underlying psychological issues which compel use, but the addict needs to be willing to change.

Look into Al-anon and Narc-Anon for yourself. Family counseling or individual counseling can help you identify what you need to do to set up and keep boundaries with your daughter. You can look into planning an intervention or contact your state attorney general’s office to learn if there are any laws in place which can REQUIRE drug addiction treatment for someone who may hurt themselves or others. But the first thing you can do is seek support for yourself.

Twin River Rehab
10:39 am March 27th, 2013

We are regular readers of this blog and @Cari we agree with @Addiction blog. Addiction is a sign of an underlying pshycological problem and that problem should be addressed while getting the user off their drug of choice. Substituting one drug for another is by no means addressing the issue at hand

40 Blocc
8:44 am September 29th, 2015

Is it just me or is that the best crack youve eva seen is. Ur life ?? glass

7:19 am October 28th, 2015

My friend want to quit but she don’t want to loose her kids what do she do

10:25 pm November 9th, 2015

Hello Nikki. Your friend should seek help immediately, because in any case, she might loose her children. Addiction affects every member of the family. Also, I suggest your friend call the helpline number displayed on our site to get in touch with our trusted treatment providers who can help you access adequate treatment program.

11:24 pm November 4th, 2015

Hello I don’t how I start this evil thing crack it massing my life up I always think of no one here to support me i go to dash but it’s just getting my mofdone I don’t get any other support my family think I can just stop it like that instand of help I get told off I know my doing worng I start its 9month now I lost so much Wight not eating I need help help where do I go help me if any advice to stop this evil drug hate my self I cry my self all I do talk to my self I don’t have nobody to tell my feeling I m married living wife she hate it so much won’t listen to me atall it’s just a big problems where do I go I think of doing many things about harming but I can’t I have kids and love them to bits will do anything to come of it plz help

7:33 pm November 17th, 2015

Hello Ally. I suggest you to consider an addiction treatment. You can call the helpline number displayed on our site to get in touch with our trusted treatment providers who can help you access adequate treatment program.

7:52 am January 21st, 2016

Hey I occasionally smoke crack an I am having trouble getting help I’ve been using for over 5 yrs I need to quit

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
8:20 pm January 23rd, 2016

Hi, Daniel. If you have questions about addiction treatment and your options, call our free hotline to speak with a trusted treatment provider.

7:46 am April 25th, 2016

My Ex just died (April 9, 2016) of suicide because he was using this drug. He said a girl he was fulling around with gave him a turbo (joint with crack inside) but he thought it was a regular joint. He said after that one hit, it was over and he was hooked. Get your loved one help (rehab or prayer) and never give up because if they die, you will always ask yourself, did I do enough to help them.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
7:14 pm May 11th, 2016

I’m really sorry for your loss, Chelle. Wish you peace…

12:20 am May 9th, 2016

please help me i am a crack addict but i am agoraphobic and it is hard for me to leave my house how can i stop smoking crack on my own

11:14 pm May 29th, 2016

My boyfriend is addictive to crack started from coke to beans and now crack…I love him with all my heart but he told me he quit but he is not wanting to get help almost 20 hours now sents he stopped the use of it. He comes from a family of both parents using Auntie uses oldest brother sold drugs to parents… Please don’t call the cops on him. His mental impairment has changed greatly

11:55 am November 22nd, 2016

Can crack cause my boyfriend to be abusive to me. I want to find out how to get an intervention seems like I’m the only one that cares.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
4:11 pm November 29th, 2016

Hi Melissa. Crack use may cause mood and behavior changes. Moreover, you may look into the CRAFT model for families and interventions. One NGO called Allies in Recovery has some online reading that can help:

7:32 am March 13th, 2017

Is convulsions and bsd coughing a sign that a cracking addicts health is in mortal danger.
Can you die from longterm crack addiction.

6:25 am May 14th, 2017

Does it make you have tummy pain an do you throw up from time to time I’m asking because I think my best friend is use in again she use to smoke long ago but now I think she back on it because of the new people she is around smokes

2:24 am May 16th, 2017

My name josh i smoke crack n on probation if i fail a drug test wit crack in my system can i go to jail

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
11:20 am May 22nd, 2017

Hi Josh. It depends on the type of probation you’re on and how your Parole Officer is, it could land you back in court where you could have your probation modified or revoked. At a minimum, if you test positive, your PO will document it and should you land in court later for a hearing in front of the judge. Every judge has a particular way they look at probation violations. Some consider a failed drug test more serious than other violations. If your drug test is positive, it’s possible the judge will extend your probation, add some additional sanctions (community service) or counseling. A probation violation is serious business, and you must have a good lawyer with you to avoid going to a jail.

Patricia .
4:45 pm August 12th, 2017

Hello .Im in Africa and I’ve been smoking for four months now.pls help me I want to stop . How can I quit from home??

4:29 pm August 15th, 2017

Hi Patricia. If you’ve been using crack for more than a month or so, it’s pretty hard to just stop taking it. You’ll need to be prepared for the emergence of withdrawal symptoms once you quit or lower your dose. This is because you’ve developed a physical dependence to crack, meaning that your body has adjusted to the presence of the drug and has modified the normal production of neurotransmitters. To stop taking crack, you should start by consulting a medical professional: a doctor, a psychiatrist, or psychologist. Seek help from people who have experience in addiction medicine.

3:28 am August 15th, 2017

My loved one is on crack cociane I believe I found like pen pipes all over the bathroom once I bought it up to him he only got more upset only thing I have to do is pray to god that he gets better. I love him so very much

2:45 pm September 9th, 2017

I need to know how can I go about doing a intervention cuse my fiance has been on it for the last 10 years we also have two small kids and I really need help to get him off he is not the same person that he used to be please help me

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:46 pm September 14th, 2017

Hi Misty. First I suggest that you find an interventionist who can help you with the whole process. Also, look into the CRAFT model for families and interventions:

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