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7 Signs Someone Has a Crack Addiction

October 19, 2018


Addiction can happen to anyone, and it doesn’t discriminate. For the most part, people who develop an addiction to alcohol or drugs never assume they are going to end up in that category. Through experimentation, abuse, and building a tolerance, people who start as just recreational users can end up being addicted before they know it.

If you are concerned about your loved one potentially struggling with a crack addiction, there are some common warning signs to watch for. 

First of All, Why is Crack so Addictive?

Most present-day adults are aware of the massive cocaine explosion that occurred in the eighties, and many parents of children who are struggling with addiction today can attest to at least trying cocaine back in their day. But what happens when “just trying” cocaine develops into a crack addiction?

Crack and cocaine are extremely addictive, but they are different chemicals and react differently in the body. Crack is different from cocaine because the hydrochloride salts in the cocaine are essentially boiled out, making it easier to smoke. By removing these salts, the drug ends up becoming more concentrated.

This form of ingesting cocaine can be much more addictive, simply because the effect is more powerful, but shorter-lived, meaning the person will continuously use more and more to achieve the desired effect. This battle between craving and a short-lived high creates the perfect storm for a crack addiction.

Spending Large Amounts of Money

One of the most indicative signs that a person is abusing crack cocaine, or any other drug really, is that their money will seem to just disappear. For crack, this can happen pretty rapidly, since the high is so short-lived, the person will continuously buy more of the drug.

If an individual starts asking to borrow money from family or friends, or if they cannot afford their bills, food, gas money, etc., they might be spending it on drugs. When approaching the individual about this topic, it is more constructive to offer specific examples, feedback, and concern about their spending, as a means to help them see it themselves, rather than an “attack” that could push them away further.

Staying up Late or for Days on End

As cocaine is a stimulant, someone struggling with a crack addiction will often change their sleeping cycles dramatically. People who are ingesting large amounts of crack will most likely not come down for some time and will stay up or out of the house for long lengths of time.

Coming home late, sleeping until noon, and then going out again are common warning signs for any parent to keep a watchful eye out for.

Not Eating as Much

Stimulant drugs tend to have the common side effect of appetite suppression and for someone who is regularly using crack, this is no different. Outsiders will notice that when the individual is home they have much less of an appetite, they “already ate”, or when they do come home after an extended period, they have an extremely ravenous appetite.  

Over time, apparent weight loss, sunken facial features, and frail looking skin are common indications that someone is struggling with a crack addiction.

crack addict

Erratic Behavior

Many people are familiar with the behaviors of “crackheads” on the street. They appear anxious, paranoid, delusional, and can sometimes be aggressive. This is not the case for everyone who struggles with a crack addiction, but prolonged use of the drug can create bizarre and even alarming behavior patterns in heavy users.

Keep an eye out for:

  • Paranoid thoughts or beliefs (the police, the FBI, someone out to get them)
  • Hallucinations (people in the shadows)
  • Dramatic mood swings within hours
  • Excessive chatting
  • The compulsion to be moving or doing something
  • Muscle twitching, excessive foot tapping, hand movement, searching eyes
  • Rapid mouth or jaw movement, dry mouth

Co-Occurring Addictions

Not everyone who abuses crack only abuses crack. It is common for people who use large amounts of the drug to need to “come down” after an extended period, which can be impossible to do on their own. Although their bodies and minds might be tired, their thoughts will continue to race even after the drug has worn off.

The need to come down is where co-occurring addictions can come into play. In other words, a person with a crack addiction can also have an addiction to depressant drugs, opioids, anti-anxiety medications, sleep medications, alcohol, or cough medicine. This is often used as a way for the person to be able to relax or get some sleep after a long crack binge.

Straying Away from Responsibilities, Hobbies, Family

If your loved one has begun to distance themselves from previously enjoyed activities, hobbies, family members, work, school, etc., they could potentially be struggling with addiction. For many people who struggle with addiction, the drug begins to rule their schedule, their thoughts, and their whole life. Days are consumed with finding and using the drug, and everything else takes a back seat.

If you notice your loved one is distancing themselves from life, and have identified other warning signs of a crack addiction, it is better to discuss your concerns with them at a time when they appear sober, have had some sleep, and have had something to eat.

Unresolved Emotional Issues

People that become addicted to drugs usually have a reason for it. Research has been discovering that more and more people who suffer from addiction also struggle with an unresolved trauma in their lives, ranging in anything from:

  • Divorced parents
  • Emotional, physical, mental abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Bullying
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Disordered eating
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • High expectations
  • Car accidents
  • Moving at a crucial age in adolescence

The list can really go on, and each person is different and has a different gauge for how much something could have impacted them. If you are concerned that your loved one may have experienced a traumatic event or could be struggling with a mental disorder that could be contributing to their crack addiction, there is help available.

Do You Need Treatment?

Even though a significant amount of controversy still surrounds addiction, whether it pertains to how it’s being treated or what money should go where, if you are currently addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, you can get help.

Contact the professionals at our drug treatment facility right now. We can help you address the mental, physical, and emotional aspects of your addiction in ways that guide you towards long-term, successful recovery. You do not need to keep using – you have the power to make the decision to get help. Call us today.

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for the Driven Individual


Contact our admissions department

(615) 444-4444
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JourneyPure – CPE

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JourneyPure – CPE