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Signs of crack addiction and abuse
Physical effects of crack cocaine addiction
Below is a list of physical effects of crack addiction:
- changes in blood pressure, heart rates, and breathing rates
- nausea and vomiting
- loss of appetite leading to malnutrition and weight loss
- cold sweats
- swelling and bleeding of mucous membranes
- restlessness and anxiety
- damage to nasal cavities
- damage to lungs
- possible heart attacks, strokes, or convulsions
Dangers of crack use
Crack is particularly dangerous for several reasons:
- Crack is inhaled and rapidly absorbed through the lungs, into the blood, and carried swiftly to the brain. The chances of overdosing and poisoning leading to coma, convulsions, and death are greatly increased. Crack's rapid rush-5 to 7 minutes of intense pleasure- quickly subsides, leading to depression that needs to be relieved by more crack. This cycle enhances the chances of addiction and dependency. Because of the brief high, users are constantly thinking about and devising ways to get more crack.
Psychologically, the drug reduces concentration, ambition, and drive, and increases confusion and irritability, wreaking havoc on users' professional and personal lives. Habitual use may lead to cocaine psychosis, causing paranoia, hallucinations, and a condition known as formication, in which insects or snakes are perceived to be crawling under the skin. The paranoia and depression can instigate violent and suicidal behavior.
The side effects of adulterants increase cocaine's risks. The drug is often cut with one or more of any number of other substances, such as the cheaper drugs procaine, lidocaine, and benzocaine, and substances that pose no serious risks, such as sugars (mannitol and sucrose), or starches. However, when quinine or amphetamines are added, the potential for serious side effects increases dramatically.
Effects of crack use
Facilitated by the large surface area of the lungs' air sacs, cocaine administered by inhalation is absorbed almost immediately into the bloodstream, taking only 19 seconds to reach the brain. However, only 30 to 60 percent of the available dose is absorbed due to incomplete inhalation of the cocaine-laden fumes and variations in the heating temperature.
Crack smokers achieve maximum physiological effects approximately two minutes after inhalation. Maximum psychotropic effects are attained approximately one minute after inhalation. Similar to intravenous administration, the physiological and psychotropic effects of inhaled cocaine are sustained for approximately 30 minutes after peak effects are attained.
During the early use of crack the effects include:
- magnification of pleasure, euphoria
- alertness and in some cases - hyper-alertness
- increased and sometimes a (grandiose) sense of well being
- decreased anxiety
- lower social inhibitions: more sociable and talkative
- heightened energy, self-esteem, sexuality and emotions aroused by interpersonal experiences
- appetite loss; weight loss
- after compulsive use the effects of crack are:
- extreme euphoria - "mental orgasm"
- impaired judgment
- extreme psychomotor activation/agitation
- anxiety; irritability; argumentative
- transient panic
- terror of impending death
- poor reality testing; delusions
- extreme weight loss
Effects of crack on pregnancy
Crack and Pregnancy:
Effects of Crack on the Fetus:
- increased incidence of still births
- increased incidence of miscarriages
- premature (often fatal) labor and delivery
- in males, the cocaine in crack may attach to the sperm causing damage to the cells of the fetus.
- babies exposed to cocaine experience painful and life threatening withdrawal, are irritable, have poor ability to regulate their own body temperature and blood sugar and are at increased risk of having seizures.
- seizures or strokes
- cerebral palsy
- mental retardation
- vision and hearing impairments
- urinary tract abnormalities
- autism and learning disabilities