If you’re living with someone who is addicted to crack, you may notice that they have extremely high energy levels and are irritable, paranoid and restless.

Article at a Glance:

Crack cocaine is a powerfully addictive drug that can cause erratic and paranoid behavior.

Living with someone who is addicted to this drug can be challenging, as they may act out violently and have trouble reasoning logically.

If someone in your home is addicted to crack, it is important to set boundaries, care for yourself and encourage them to go to treatment.

Do You Know Someone Addicted to Crack?

Crack cocaine is a stimulant drug, meaning that it speeds up the nervous system and leads to increased activity. People who become addicted to crack may seem very energetic, happy, focused or attentive.

When a person smokes crack cocaine, the effects are seen almost immediately because the drug is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. The scientific properties of crack cocaine mean that people are likely to develop tolerance and dependence to the drug, which can quickly lead to addiction. It’s nearly impossible for someone to use crack occasionally or recreationally because of how powerful and addictive the drug is.

Signs That You’re Living With a Crack Addiction

If you suspect that a loved one may be addicted to crack cocaine, you are probably wondering what signs point to addiction. Signs of crack use and potential addiction may include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • High body temperature and sweating
  • Tremors or twitching
  • Restless behavior
  • Extremely high energy levels
  • Irritability
  • Becoming paranoid and distrusting of other people

Someone who uses large amounts of crack cocaine may also display erratic or violent behavior.

When you’re living with someone addicted to crack or other drugs, you may notice behavioral and lifestyle changes. Living with someone with crack addiction can be particularly difficult because the drug can lead to mood swings, aggression and delusional or paranoid behavior.

People who are addicted to crack often become fixated on obtaining the drug and are unable to stop using it, even when they experience negative consequences. Continued drug use in the face of serious consequences is one of the telltale signs of a substance use disorder — the clinical term for addiction.

How To Deal With Living With a Crack Addict

Living with someone who uses crack can be challenging because the person will have difficulty with rational, logical thought. Your relationship with the person will likely suffer, as addiction affects the brain in ways that lead to changes in behavior and personality. If the person attempts to stop using the drug or is unable to get ahold of their usual supply, they may also display withdrawal symptoms that can lead to extreme depression and withdrawn behavior.

If you’re wondering how to cope with living with a crack addict, consider some of these tips:

  • Take care of yourself. You’re likely to feel overwhelmed, anxious and even hopeless if you’re dealing with the struggles that come from someone’s crack addiction. This makes it important for you to practice self-care. Take time to do things you enjoy, such as meeting friends for lunch, taking a walk through the woods or sitting down with a book you enjoy. Be sure to also follow a nutritious diet and get plenty of rest so that your own health does not fall by the wayside.
  • Set boundaries. The behavior of someone who is using crack can be erratic or even violent. This means that you will have to set firm boundaries to protect yourself. This can involve telling them that you will not interact with them while they are yelling or acting out, or that you will not spend time with them when they are under the influence.
  • Don’t take their behavior personally. Remember that when you are dealing with someone with an addiction, the person is not acting like themselves. Drug addiction creates changes in the brain that lead to compulsive drug-seeking, so the drug becomes the center of a person’s life. When driven by the urge to seek out drugs, a person will let relationships fall apart and seem to show no remorse for their behavior. It can be hard not to blame yourself for the changes in behavior, but the reality is that the drugs are to blame.
  • Seek some sort of support or professional intervention. You may feel alone when living with an addicted person, but there are ways to find support. Talk to a trusted friend about your struggles, or consider attending a support group for loved ones of addicts. If you find that you’re developing symptoms of depression or anxiety as a result of your loved one’s addiction, reaching out for therapy can be helpful.

How To Help Someone With a Crack Addiction

There are things you can do to take care of yourself when living with someone who is addicted to crack. However, if you want the person to continue to be in your life, they will usually need to seek some sort of treatment.

Even when treatment is warranted, the irrational thinking and erratic behaviors that come with crack addiction can make it hard to convince your loved one that they need to get help. If you want to help someone recover from a crack addiction, consider:

  • Safety: First and foremost, you need to make sure that you and the rest of your family are safe. Crack can cause impulsive and irrational behavior, so you may have to physically separate yourself from the person if you feel unsafe. This may mean moving yourself to a safe space in the house when they are acting out, or asking them to leave the home. In some cases, you may even have to contact law enforcement to intervene if the person engages in violent or assaultive behaviors.
  • Support and communication: If you want to encourage the person to get help, let them know that you love and support them but won’t support their continued use of the drug. Providing them with non-judgmental support is important, but you have to make sure it doesn’t cross the line into enabling. Enabling can involve behaviors like making excuses for the addicted person, covering up for them when they make mistakes or even giving them money to support their drug use.
  • Intervention: Getting help for someone with a crack addiction may require you to conduct an intervention. This may involve telling the person they cannot continue to be in the home unless they seek treatment. You can be firm but supportive and loving. For example, express how the person’s behavior is affecting you, but let them know that you will do whatever you can to help them get treatment. It’s important to be positive when talking about the potential for them to recover from their addiction. You may want to contact a professional therapist or interventionist who can help you determine what to say when dealing with an addicted person. They can also show you how to increase the chances of getting your addicted loved one to accept treatment.

Professional Resources for Friends and Family

If you have a crack addict in the home, you are probably looking for support. Nar-Anon family groups are designed for the friends and family members of addicted people, and they can be a great place to start. You can use the organization’s online search tool to find a group that meets your needs.

Once you are ready to talk about getting your loved one into crack addiction treatment, The Recovery Village is here to help. We have facilities located throughout the country, and each one provides a full range of inpatient and outpatient services. Contact us today to learn how we can help you, your loved one and your family recover from the wounds of addiction. 

a man wearing a blue and white striped shirt.
Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more
a close up of a person with blue eyes.
Medically Reviewed By – Jenni Jacobsen, LSW
Dr. Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker through the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. She has over seven years working in the social work field, working with clients with addiction-related and mental health diagnoses. Read more

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Crack and Cocaine.” Accessed October 8, 2021.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What is cocaine?” April 2021. Accessed October 8, 2021.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What is drug addiction?” July 2018. Accessed October 8, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.