Signs and Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Use

What is crack cocaine? It is a strong stimulant which works by energizing the central nervous system and by placing stress on the heart. Using crack cocaine also significantly deteriorates an individual’s quality of life.

Short Term Effects of Crack Cocaine

When an individual smokes crack, they experience an intense high, which is short lived. Immediately after the high the individual experiences intense depression, edginess and a craving for more of the drug. Physical effects such as an increased heart rate, muscle spasm and convulsions are common.

Taking crack cocaine increases the risk of the individual suffering a heart attack, stroke, seizure or respiratory failure, any of which could also lead to sudden death. Apart from death, one of the major effects of crack cocaine is the rapid development of addiction. Cocaine causes the strongest mental dependency of any drug, and such a dependency can occur within mere days of starting to use it. The development of Parkinson’s disease is yet another effect of long term crack cocaine use.

The effects of crack cocaine don’t last as long as those of powder cocaine do. This means that the individual using the drug will need another dose within 10 to 15 minutes of the first dose. This is what makes crack cocaine so addictive, because the individual is always needing more and more of it.

Long Term Effects of Crack Cocaine Use

The long term effects of smoking crack cocaine are quite severe. Individuals can suffer from extended respiratory problems like lung damage, shortness of breath and bleeding. They can also suffer from severe heart, liver and kidney damage, and be more susceptible to infectious diseases. Crack cocaine interferes with the way the brain processes chemicals and as a result the individual will keep needing more of it just to feel normal.

Physical Signs of Crack Cocaine Use

Some physical signs of crack cocaine use are:


  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive sweating
  • Decreased appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Increased energy
  • Inability to sleep
  • Trouble concentrating

Some of the more severe signs of crack cocaine use are depression, isolation, defensiveness and paranoia. The individual may experience intense mood swings and feel overly confident. They may also hallucinate. Using crack cocaine over a long period of time will likely lead to the individual displaying premature aging signs.

If the individual is binge using crack cocaine, then that can lead to them being in a psychotic and over stimulated state. Paranoia is likely to be an accompanying factor, as well as compulsive behavior. Post binge, the individual will suffer an intense crash, feel exhausted, agitated and depressed, all the while beginning to crave the drug again.


At Sustain Recovery, we offer extended stay programs for adolescents who have just finished primary treatment. Our environment is safe, structured and gender separate, and our programs focus on living a fun, fulfilled substance free life.