A highly addictive stimulant, crack cocaine is one of the more dangerous and powerful drugs that can affect individuals in various ways. The reputation of crack cocaine precedes itself, but the effects of cocaine are a bit less understood. What does it actually do to the body? Can it cause individuals to become more violent or engage in behaviors they usually wouldn’t? We’ll look at the effects of crack cocaine and determine whether it makes users more violent. 

What Is Crack Cocaine?

Crack cocaine is a potent stimulant that creates an almost immediate high due to its powerful effects on your central nervous system. Crack is an impure form of cocaine made into a crystal and either smoked or injected into a body and affects the brain’s chemistry and how it processes chemicals and signals it receives. Over time, this can lead to varying symptoms, changing behaviors, and unexpected decision-making for users. As a result, crack/cocaine is a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high risk of abuse and addiction. 

The Short and Long-Term Effects of Crack Cocaine

The rise of crack cocaine abuse in the 1980s and early 90s is one of the more researched events in history. That surge in use has led to varying studies on its short- and long-term impacts on users’ mental health. Crack cocaine is such a dangerous drug because of its effect on your brain. It connects to your brain’s reward system, slowly rewiring it to believe it needs more and more of the drug. This rewiring is why disassociating from the substance through an addiction counseling program is recommended. 

Consumption of crack cocaine can cause immediate symptoms and effects such as:

  • Increased alertness
  • Impaired judgment
  • Euphoria
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Violent behaviors

Over time, these effects may become much more pronounced and dangerous. Eventually, the brain begins craving levels of the drug that are virtually impossible to achieve. This leads to long-term changes in how your brain operates and other symptoms, which include:

  • Asthma
  • Fluid in lungs
  • Pneumonia
  • Lung disease
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Loss of smell
  • Nosebleed
  • Serious skin infections
  • Collapsed veins
  • Heart attack
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weakened immune system

Is There Proof That It Makes You More Violent?

When the intense high crack cocaine users experience wears off, it can lead to unexpected behaviors. People typically start to feel anxious and more aggressive, which can lead to a much shorter fuse and an increased likelihood of lashing out or other damaging behaviors. Individuals who take crack over a long period may start to hallucinate and experience the effects of paranoia. These feelings may cause the individual to feel more defensive and lash out against approaching people or perceived threats. 

Crack cocaine can also impact the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the body. Serotonin is a chemical that plays a key role in mood, sleep, and sexual desire, among other body functions. Norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter and hormone, is a key component of the “fight or flight” response in one’s body. As crack interacts with these body chemicals, it can lead to more aggressive behaviors, increased energy, and an increased risk of violent activity.

Steps to Recovery Can Help You Avoid Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is one of the most dangerous substances in circulation today, leading to severe short and long-term problems and affecting families for extended periods. Proper treatment is vital, and the medical professionals at Steps to Recovery can help. Team up with our cocaine addiction treatment center for evidence-based solutions to help individuals finding it difficult to overcome aggressive and violent behaviors caused by crack cocaine use. Contact us today or call our facility at 267.209.7312 and learn more about how our programs can help.