Crack cocaine is an illegal stimulant and free base form of cocaine that can be smoked. Like cocaine, the high is intense but relatively short. According to the Manual of Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment, crack the most addictive form of cocaine. Crack cocaine detox is a toxin-removal process that occurs in a medical setting.
Bingeing is common among crack users, in which the drug is over and over in short succession in order to maintain the high.
Use of crack cocaine results in a short but intense high that is followed by a crash – i.e., depression, irritability, and cravings for more drugs. Regular users often have sleeping difficulties and may experience increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Over time, users may develop paranoia, anger, and anxiety even when they aren’t high.
Using crack also increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, seizures, and respiratory failure, all of which can result in death. Smoking crack is also associated with other health risks, such as cracked and blistered lips from exposure to a hot pipe.
Other symptoms include:
- Muscle spasms
- Loss of appetite
- Contracted blood vessels
- Increased rate of breathing
- Bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behavior
- Panic and psychosis
- Convulsions, seizures and sudden death in high doses
Prolonged use may result in serious respiratory problems, such as coughing, shortness of breath, and lung damage. It can also cause irreversible damage to the heart, kidneys, and liver. Tolerance also occurs, and over time, increasing amounts of the drug are needed to achieve the same effect.
Other effects may include:
- Permanent damage to blood vessels of the ear and brain, high blood pressure
- Severe chest pains
- Respiratory failure
- Malnutrition, weight loss
- Tooth decay
- Auditory and tactile hallucinations
- Sexual problems, reproductive damage, and infertility
- Disorientation, apathy, confusion
- Irritability and mood disturbances
- Engagement in risky behavior
- Delirium or psychosis, psychosis, or paranoia
- Severe depression
- Loss of other interests
- Problems with relationships