Cocaine is a powerful, highly addictive central nervous system stimulant that comes from the leaves of the coca plant. A lot of people snort cocaine, but it is also injected and smoked. The smokable form of cocaine, crack cocaine, is made by mixing powdered cocaine with water and baking soda and applying heat. Once it is “cooked” a rock-like substance is formed and can be smoked.
When a person uses crack cocaine, they experience an intense euphoric rush due to a flood of dopamine released in the brain; dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure and reward. The high that crack cocaine produces only last between 5 and 15 minutes, so the user continues to crave more and more of the substance. Also, because crack cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant, it causes an increased heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and body temperature.
Some of the other short-term effects of crack cocaine include dilated pupils, excitability, loss of appetite, decreased need for sleep, and euphoria.
Long-Term Effects of Crack Cocaine Use
Long-term use of cocaine or crack cocaine can have devastating effects on a person. The National Institute on Drug Abuse Cocaine Research Report “What are the long-term effects of cocaine use?” states,
With repeated exposure to cocaine, the brain starts to adapt so that the reward pathway becomes less sensitive to natural reinforcers (see “What Are Some Ways that Cocaine Changes the Brain?”). At the same time, circuits involved in stress become increasingly sensitive, leading to increased displeasure and negative moods when not taking the drug, which are signs of withdrawal. These combined effects make the user more likely to seek the drug instead of relationships, food, or other natural rewards. With regular use, tolerance may develop so that higher doses, more frequent use of cocaine, or both are needed to produce the same level of pleasure and relief from withdrawal experienced initially. At the same time, users can also develop sensitization, in which less cocaine is needed to produce anxiety, convulsions, or other toxic effects. Tolerance to cocaine reward and sensitization to cocaine toxicity can increase the risk of overdose in a regular user. (NIDA)
Using crack cocaine long-term can also have several other debilitating mental and physical effects. For example, smoking crack can damage a person’s lungs. The high heat combined with added toxins can flare up asthma and damage the lung tissue.
Long-Term Psychological Effects of Crack Cocaine Misuse
Long-term crack cocaine use can also cause serious psychological problems. Some of the mental and emotional problems that can develop include:
- Extreme depression
- Mood disturbances
- Panic attacksUsing crack cocaine long-term can also have several other debilitating mental and physical effects. For example, smoking crack can damage a person’s lungs. The high heat combined with added toxins can flare up asthma and damage the lung tissue.
As soon as the drug is used it starts changing the way the brain functions. Long-term use can also cause a person to experience tactile hallucinations. The sense of something crawling on you like bugs.
How Does Crack Cocaine Affect The Heart?
Crack cocaine also affects the heart and cardiovascular system. Since crack is a stimulant, it puts the heart under intense pressure. It can cause:
- Heart attack
- Aortic ruptures
- Heart disease
- Heart inflammation
- And compromised heart contractions
What Does Crack Cocaine Do to Your Brain?
Brain damage and the ability to reason, think, and learn can also be affected. Chronic crack cocaine use can also cause:
- Bleeding in the brain
- Movement disorders like Parkinson’s Disease
- Brain seizures
- Cerebral blood vessel bulges
Cognitive impairment is also a possibility when using crack cocaine long-term. Memory, paying attention, doing motor tasks, impulse checks, and making decisions can also be severely affected. Chronic crack cocaine use can also cause severe sexual dysfunction and reproductive issues. In addition, crack cocaine is a dangerous drug. It is addictive and hard to get off of once a person starts, leading to long-term use.
Treatment for Crack Cocaine Addiction at CrackAbuse.com
Crackabuse.com is a valuable resource for anyone struggling with crack cocaine or cocaine addiction. Our website provides helpful information and resources to get you started in your recovery. Crack cocaine is a tough addiction to recover from, but you can discover a brighter tomorrow with the right treatment and resources.