5 Commonly Overlooked Signs of Crack Addiction

Crack, cocaine’s crystallized, rock-shaped cousin, has lured more than a few casual users down the road to addiction. Crack starts out as cocaine powder that’s cooked or processed using baking soda or ammonia. This cooking process makes cocaine’s effects that much stronger. Once in rock form, crack is smoked rather than snorted like cocaine.

The combined effects of crack’s concentrated ingredients coupled with smoking delivers the drug’s effects to the brain almost instantaneously. As with any addictive substance, the faster the drug takes effect the higher the potential for abuse and addiction.

According to the University of Maryland, a person can become addicted to crack as of the first time trying it. While signs of crack addiction do resemble those of cocaine addiction, crack users often experience more intense and/or severe symptoms due to the drug’s potent effects.

Signs, such as hyperactive behavior and loss of sleep can be fairly easy to spot with ongoing crack use or any type of stimulant addiction. Some signs, however, are not so easy to spot.

Here are five commonly overlooked signs of crack addiction:

1. Tolerance Level Changes

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Someone who is addicted to crack is likely to be restless and anxious very often.

Each time a person uses crack, brain cells secrete large amounts of dopamine neurotransmitter chemicals. With ongoing use, brain cells become less sensitive to crack’s effects. In turn, users must ingest larger doses to experience the same desired effects.

This desensitization mechanism continues for as long as a person keeps using. After a while, users don’t even realize how much their dosage amounts have gradually increased over time.

2. Withdrawal

Like cocaine, crack disrupts normal brain functions to the point where a person will start to experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms with ongoing use. Crack withdrawal symptoms typically take the form of:

  • Violent outbursts
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Fatigue

Some users may think they’re experiencing flu-type symptoms, when they’re actually seeing addiction symptoms at work.

3. Depression Episodes

With ongoing crack use, an imbalance in essential brain chemical levels starts to develop. As chemical levels go further off balance, a person will see gradual changes in his or her emotional state.

While everyone experiences the “blues” every now and then, depression episodes become more and more frequent and pronounced with continued crack use. Unfortunately, someone who’s addicted will likely to keep using crack as a way to relieve depression feelings.

4. Drastic Weight Loss

Like cocaine, crack stimulates the body’s central nervous system functions and so speeds up heart, respiratory and digestion processes to name a few. While cocaine addicts will see eventual weight loss, someone addicted to crack will drop weight in no time.

While crack does cause decreases in appetite, a person’s metabolism rate has also increased considerably. Users may attribute weight loss to eating less but there’s more going on here than meets the eye.

5. Paranoia

Imbalanced brain chemical levels affect a person’s cognitive functions as well as his or her emotional states. Cognitive functions include:

  • Reasoning
  • Decision-making
  • Learning
  • Memory

Paranoid or suspicious thinking results from faulty reasoning and warped emotional responses. While a crack addict may feel he or she has good to feel suspicious towards others, the effects of ongoing drug use have essentially warped vital brain processes.