Why Does Crack Cause Aggression?

Written by Melissa Carmona

& Medically Reviewed by Dr. Kevin Wandler, MD

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Last Updated - 08/04/2022

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Updated 08/04/2022

Why Does Crack Cause Aggression?

Drugs impact people in a variety of unanticipated ways. Even naturally calm people may become aggressive when using certain drugs like crack cocaine.

If you use crack, you might find yourself lashing out and experiencing unexpected bursts of anger. You may even become unintentionally violent and find yourself in legal trouble as a result.

How does crack impact the brain to the point that it may cause aggression? How can this eventually lead to crack addiction?

How Does Crack Cause Aggression?

Crack is a stimulant that triggers the central nervous system. Once the intense high starts to wear off, you can become agitated and anxious, which can cause you to have a much shorter fuse and be more prone to lashing out in anger.

If crack is taken regularly over a long period, you may hallucinate and experience bouts of paranoia. This shift can cause you to feel as though you need to protect yourself from those around you, so you may be both emotionally and physically violent with others.

Drugs like crack typically lead to more aggression after you engage in excessive use and long-term binges.

Studies suggest that aggression and violent behavior linked to the use of crack may be associated with the drug’s effect on neurotransmitters in the brain. Crack may also change the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain, which could lead to aggressive behavior, along with extreme energy, paranoia, and impaired judgment.

How Does Crack Affect the Brain?

Crack interferes with how the brain processes chemicals. With the continued use of crack, the connection to the brain’s reward system changes, causing you to feel the intense urge and need to continue using the drug to experience the pleasurable feelings that are associated with its use.

Over time, you will need more and more of the drug to achieve the same effects. Eventually, this can lead to crack addiction.

What Are the Short-Term Effects of Crack Use?

Crack is a stimulant that causes an intense high very quickly after consuming it. Just as fast as the high ensues, an inevitable hard crash soon follows. This crash is in stark contrast to the euphoric feeling that crack causes. If you use crack, when the high dissipates, you may experience bouts of extreme sadness and depression.

You may also become increasingly focused and obsessed with seeking the high that you originally experienced from using crack, especially to get out of the lull that you feel when the drug wears off.

If you use crack often, you likely will not get proper sleep or eat properly.

Other short-term symptoms of crack use include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Convulsions
  • Muscle spasms
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Aggression
  • Hostility

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Crack Use?

If you use crack regularly over a long period, you increase your risk of:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Breathing issues
  • Live damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Sudden death

Putting a Stop to Crack Addiction

Stopping crack use can be a challenging endeavor, which is why it is imperative to reach out for help to safely detox and manage the addiction. All the aggression and violent behavior can get you into trouble and put you and others around you in danger.

Addiction to crack can be effectively treated through holistic programs that are specifically designed to meet your needs. At The Recovery Village, we can help put you in touch with a center that is equipped to deal with your unique circumstances so you can receive the treatment that works best for you.

Contact The Recovery Village Palmer Lake today to learn more about admissions.


NCBI. “Chapter 2—How Stimulants Affect the Brain and Behavior.” Treatment Improvement Protocols, 1999. Accessed September 28, 2021.


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