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Frequent crack cocaine users develop strange patterns of behavior, not unlike persons suffering from mental illness. Visual and auditory crack cocaine induced hallucinations of insects crawling underneath the skin, also known as fornication may occur. Severe depressive conditions may follow; agitated delirium; and also a syndrome sometimes known as toxic paranoid psychosis. The use of crack cocaine cause increases in blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and body temperature and crack cocaine users are at greater risk for heart attacks, strokes, respiratory failure, and brain seizures. Reports of sudden death while smoking crack cocaine are not uncommon.
Crack cocaine and hallucinations are common because the drug causes psychological changes in the user. These psychological effects may also include a sense of increased self-esteem and confidence, depression, intense anxiety, confusion, irritability, repetition of tasks and a tendency to withdraw from normal activities. Crack cocaine psychosis is paranoid behavior that occurs as a result of over stimulation of the fright centers of the brain. Irrational violence can occur at even the slightest provocation.
When a crack cocaine user is high they experience intense auditory hallucinations, are hypertensive, and hyper vigilant. During usage a person may think they hear sirens, cars pulling up outside, music, people talking, etc. Some people will experience tactile hallucinations such as skin crawling or seeing bugs on their skin. They will be extremely alert to the point of paranoia — perhaps suspicious of any movement around the area where they are using. It is common to hide out in the area where use is occurring and refuse to answer the door.
Prolonged crack cocaine abuse causes a number of problems, including:
Irritability and mood disturbances
Aggressive, paranoid behavior
Delirium or psychosis
Tolerance and addiction, even after just one use
Auditory and tactile hallucinations
Heart attack and heart disease
Sexual dysfunction (for both men and women)
Reproductive damage and infertility (for both men and women)
Increased frequency of risky behavior
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