Crack cocaine, an extremely dangerous illicit drug, is the most potent form in which cocaine comes. In fact, it is between 75% and 100% more powerful than regular cocaine. Because of this, addiction can develop rapidly, even causing the user to become addicted after his or her first use. Main differences between cocaine and crack reside in the intensity of the drug being experienced and how the drug is found. Crack is more highly concentrated and potent than cocaine and is found in crystal rock form while cocaine is found in both powder and rock forms. Furthermore, while cocaine has the reputation of being the “rich man’s drug” because of its high cost, crack is often sold at such low prices that even teens can afford to buy it. In fact, crack was developed as a cheaper alternative to cocaine, which makes it more accessible and affordable to users. This is extremely worrisome for youth that try crack out of curiosity and immediately become addicted. Once addiction begins, however, the expenses for crack skyrockets as the user needs more and more of this dangerous drug to sustain their addiction.   

To avoid or mitigate the dangerous threat of addiction that this drug poses, it is imperative that you seek help immediately if you find yourself wanting to try this drug or already taking/abusing this life-threatening drug. Additionally, learning what the short and long term effects that crack cocaine can have on you may deter you from trying the drug in the first place.

Short Term Effects of Crack Cocaine

Crack causes a very intense, short-term high immediately after use which is then followed by the extreme opposite- feelings of severe depression, edginess, and a craving for more of the drug. Because of this, many people that turn to this drug may be trying to avoid the extreme withdrawal symptoms experienced after the drug’s effects subside. Furthermore, users that abuse this drug often don’t eat or sleep well and can experience an increased heart rate, muscle spasms, convulsions, paranoia, and feelings of anger, hostility and anxiousness.

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Regardless of the amount or frequency that this drug is used, crack cocaine increases the user’s risk of having a heart attack, stroke, seizure, or respiratory failure. Each of these effects can result in sudden death for the user. Other short-term effects of crack cocaine include:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Contracted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Hyperstimulation
  • Erratic, even violent behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Intense euphoria
  • Panic and psychosis

Each of these effects are experienced more immediately and intensely than powdered crack and can cause serious health concerns, even fatality, with the user even after one use. Furthermore, because crack is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, the risk of overdosing is extremely high and can lead to convulsions, coma and even death.

Long Time Effects of Crack

In addition to the short-term effects that crack cocaine it can also cause a myriad of other, long-term effects on the user. Some of these long-term effects can include severe respiratory problems, including coughing, shortness of breath, lung damage, and bleeding, along with severe damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys. Furthermore, users are at risk of developing infectious diseases since the body’s immune and repair systems are compromised from using this drug. With continued use, crack cocaine puts the user at risk of long-term sleep deprivation and loss of appetite, which can result in malnutrition and cause a host of other problems for the abuser. Additionally, since crack cocaine changes the way the brain processes chemicals, the user will need increasingly more of the drug as time goes on in order to feel “normal.” With that being said, because coming down from this drug causes severe depression, a person may turn to anything in order to avoid feeling the intensity of the withdrawal, even committing crime to obtain more of the drug or turning to suicide to end their misery. 

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Other long-term effects from smoking crack cocaine include:

  • Permanent damage to blood vessels of ear and brain
  • High blood pressure, which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and death
  • Liver, kidney, and lung damage
  • Severe chest pains
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Sexual issues, including reproductive damage and infertility
  • Disorientation, apathy, confused exhaustion
  • Increased risk of risky behavior
  • Delirium or psychosis
  • Irritability and mood disturbances

Like previously mentioned, crack cocaine’s effects can be so severe that it causes fatality with the user. Therefore, it is imperative that if you struggle with an addiction to crack cocaine that you seek medical help immediately.

At our Austin recovery center, we help individuals safely detox from crack cocaine and other substances. Reach out today to learn more. 

How to Safely Detox from the Effects of Crack 

Crack cocaine is a serious, even deadly, drug that can cause a myriad of health concerns for the user. In order to mitigate or avoid these serious health consequences, it is essential that you seek medical advice if you are abusing the drug currently. The best way to do this is to attend an inpatient drug rehab that specializes in safely detoxing you off the drug and that can help guide you on the path to sobriety. Because an addiction to crack cocaine is so severe, inpatient rehab is often the best route to take to recover because it eliminates all distractions and temptations from the outside world that can often compromise one’s sobriety.

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Additionally, inpatient rehab has the specialized tools necessary to teach you how to maintain long-term sobriety once transitioning back into the real world. Lastly, inpatient rehab staffs on-site counselors that can help one get to the root of why crack cocaine was being abused in the first place. If the core root of why the user was drawn to crack cocaine isn’t addressed, oftentimes the user will want to go back to using the drug when times get difficult again. Instead, having a therapist teach you healthier ways to cope with overwhelming emotions or stress will provide the stability you need to maintain a successful recovery for the long-term. 

If you are struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine, the time to get help is now. Infinite Recovery offers Austin and San Antonio specialized programs for individuals struggling with addiction. There is hope to recover and live a happy, fulfilling life without drugs. Your future self will thank you for the investment you make into your well-being right now. 

Like this article? For more helpful resources and information about addiction and drug abuse, follow our blog. Recent posts include topics such as relapse prevention activity, exercise and addiction recovery, and types of substance abuse. 


Frequently Asked Questions

✅ How does crack ruin your life?

Crack cocaine has many short and long-term health implications and consequences for the user. Even one dose of crack can be fatal or cause life-threatening health concerns.

✅ What does crack do to the brain?

Crack can cause long-term damage to mental health and the brain. This can show up as emotional or mental disturbances. Because crack interferes with dopamine in the brain, withdrawing from crack can cause serious bouts of depression.

✅ What does crack do to your stomach?

Using crack is associated with an increased risk of developing blood clots and can create gastrointestinal issues, including the development of ulcers and perforations in the stomach and intestines.

✅ Is crack lung reversible?

Crack lung, which is an abnormally rapid lung clearance found in a crack user, may be at least partially reversible after a 3 month span of time where the user is abstinent from the use of crack.

Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens

Amanda is a prolific content writer, and is in recovery from disordered eating. She has a passion for health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and being a mother of a beautiful daughter.

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