Signs and Symptoms of Crack Addiction

There are similarities between crack and cocaine addiction, but due to the differences in uses and effects of the two drugs, there are a variety of signs you can keep your eyes open for.

While cocaine is a white powdery substance that can be injected, smoked or inhaled, crack is a rock-like substance that is smoked through use of a crack pipe. Its name comes from the crackling noises that are made when it is heated.

What it Looks Like

Crack, a concentrated form of cocaine, is a white/brown, rock-like substance that is usually sold in vials, plastic bags or other small containers. It is formed during a process called freebasing in which cocaine is combined with baking soda, cooked and then broken into pieces.


There are a variety of items that are used to facilitate the smoking of crack.

The first, a crack pipe, is generally a glass pipe or bowl with mesh screens on either end. A heat source, such as a lighter or burner, is used to heat up the pipe, causing the crack to smoke and release vapors which the user then inhales. It can also be placed into regular or marijuana cigarettes and smoked that way, as well. Once inhaled, crack travels to the brain in a matter of seconds and causes an intense rush of euphoric feelings that can last as long as 15 minutes.


crack abuse signsBecause crack is a concentrated form of cocaine, addiction can form after just a few doses, and some people can be addicted after the very first dose. The purity also means that it is much easier to die from either overdose or from failure of the heart or respiratory system. The increased purity also causes other problems, such as increased risk of psychosis and addiction. Although the effects only last for a few moments, the “crash” after the “high” is particularly nasty, with intense feelings of depression replacing the euphoric ones that were present only moments before. Along with this depression come cravings for more of the drug, leading to compulsive addiction in the user. This can lead the user to turn to crime to fuel their drug habit, as well as to selling their personal possessions.

Telltale Signs

Physical symptoms and signs of crack abuse are similar to those of people who take cocaine, such as pupil dilation, sweating, loss of weight and the coughing up of black mucous. Emotional signs can be present as well, such as alternating cycles of euphoria and depression, and personal habits or tendencies may suddenly be altered.

Rehab at The Canyon

At The Canyon, we have just one goal: to help you detox off of crack and begin a comprehensive crack cocaine rehab program that will get you off the drug for good. If you or a loved one is struggling with crack cocaine abuse or addiction, give us a call today.