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Crack Side Effects: What Are Short And Long Term Crack Effects?

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Crack cocaine, also called rock cocaine, is a drug commonly abused in the United States. In many cities, it is easy to access, and compared to powder cocaine, significantly easier to afford. But that does not mean that its use comes without a price; the side effects of crack cocaine are serious, life-changing, and even deadly.
When consuming the drug, crack effects can be noticed in all parts of the body, from the internal organs to the skin and eyes. Anyone who is using the drug should understand its negative impacts, and loved ones who suspect someone is abusing the drug must know the signs in order to spot the signs that someone has begun to smoke crack.

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Table Of Contents:

Side Effects of Crack

The use of rock cocaine and other forms of cocaine is widespread, with approximately one million people taking up the use of the drug in the United States every year. This is on top of those already using the drug who have yet to detox from crack and stop use. As a result, there is a significant number of people experiencing the drug’s symptoms at any given time. Side effects of rock cocaine use are present from the first time the drug is taken. Some of these symptoms are the motivation for the user to take the drug.
General effects of crack use include:

  • A feeling of euphoria or extreme happiness
  • A significant increase in energy
  • Mental alertness
  • Hypersensitivity to sensory stimulation, such as light, sound, and touch
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia

These are all symptoms that are present every time someone uses the drug. The majority of these do not last long. However, with continued use of the drug, these symptoms can increase in severity and become long-lasting.
Additionally, the drug is known to quickly impact physical appearance. Skin crack cocaine effects can include visibly damaged blood vessels, abscesses, and even deep scratch marks due to the sensation of bugs crawling underneath the skin. Crack eyes can include changes in the pupils and even yellowing of the whites of the eyes once drug use begins to harm the internal organs. Together, these are often referred to as crack face—the appearance of an individual as impacted by their use of rock cocaine.
While these symptoms are nothing to look forward to, they are not the most severe side effects associated with rock cocaine use. The reason for using the drug can be so devastating is that the symptoms of it can cause everything from organ damage to death. As such, users should seek help to end their addiction before it is too late.

Short-Term Effects of Crack

Short-term effects of crack cocaine use include the general symptoms listed above, which every user will experience. However, they also include other, more severe symptoms, some of which can be life-threatening or contribute to the development of life-threatening conditions.
Some short-term effects include:

  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased respiration
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo
  • Muscle twitches
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Bizarre, erratic, and violent behavior
  • Restlessness, anxiety, panic, and paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Overdose
  • Death

While some of these results are permanent, such as death from overdose, because they come on suddenly and can occur from the very first use of rock cocaine, they are considered to be short-term effects. Some of these may seem benign. For example, temporary anxiety might sound like it is of no consequence.

However, anxiety can drive negative and dangerous behaviors that put the user at risk of physical harm. For example, crack and sexuality are often linked, with the drug causing emotional and physical responses in the user that cause them to make bad decisions. As a result, sexually transmitted infections often impact rock cocaine users. What does crack do? Even in the short term, it causes harm.

Long-Term Effects of Crack Use

Long-term effects of crack are those that do not show up immediately but build over time as the individual continues their drug use. As a result, stopping use of rock cocaine may prevent them from worsening, but it is not guaranteed to reverse the results. The longer use of the drug continues, the more permanent the results are likely to be.

Because of the drug impacts all parts of the body, the long-term effects are numerous. Those who use regularly or over an extended period of time can expect to experience at least a few of these symptoms.

Some of these crack cocaine side effects are:

  • Tolerance to the drug, requiring higher and more frequent doses to achieve the same experience
  • Tooth decay
  • Increased psychological effects leading to full-blown psychosis
  • Increased sensitivity to the rewarding effects of other drugs, encouraging polysubstance abuse
  • Effects related to the method of administration, such as loss of smell from snorting and hoarseness from smoking
  • Reduced blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract
  • Bowel decay
  • Malnourishment
  • Chest pain mimicking heart attacks
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Inflammation of the heart muscles
  • Reduced ability for the heart to contract
  • Aortic ruptures
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage
  • Movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease
  • Decreased mental abilities

In addition to the long-term impact on the user, if the individual is pregnant, their child will suffer life-long results of use as well. These children, often called crack babies, can experience cognitive and physical impairments for the rest of their lives. Life before and after crack is vastly different.

Getting Medical Help for Crack Abuse

The only way to prevent these effects or stop them from worsening is to cease the use of rock cocaine. The effects of crack on the body are severe and even deadly. Ultimately, the high the drug delivers is not worth the lowered quality of life it guarantees.
While it can be difficult to realize while in the throes of addiction, there are numerous reasons to stop using the drug, including:

  • A desire to improve mental health
  • Life changes that are incompatible with drug use
  • A want to avoid bad experiences with drugs
  • Preservation of familial relationships and friendships
  • Financial concerns
  • A need to assert control over life
  • Better physical health
  • Less risk of incarceration and death

As quitting is the only way to eliminate or curtail the side effects of smoking crack, users should give themselves the best possible chance at success. The way to do this is through professional medical assisted rock cocaine detox and rehabilitation, learning how to make crack cocaine use a thing of the past. These programs are proven to be successful and can help those suffering from the effects of crack use to turn their lives around.

There are numerous rehabilitation centers located throughout the United States, guaranteeing there will be one that works for every user.

Crack Cocaine Effects Require Medical Intervention

While rock cocaine has many negative results, perhaps the worst of the crack effects is an addiction to the drug. Due to addiction, users find themselves unable to simply quit using the drug, causing them to suffer from other crack cocaine effects, up to and including death. However, there is hope in the form of drug detox and rehabilitation. With treatment, users can live better lives.

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Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Isaak Stotts

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


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