Trusted Content

Cocaine Addiction Treatment Options

Debra Wallace, MA.Ed, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Debra Wallace, MA.Ed, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS

February 18, 2019

Cocaine has a high risk for addiction, and the type of treatment needed can vary based on each person’s needs. Treatment may be needed to help individuals stop using cocaine and recover from their addiction.

Cocaine addiction is a serious substance use disorder (SUD) that can be dangerous to a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health.

Many people are unaware of what treatment options exist for cocaine addiction, or when it may be necessary to seek help. This includes family members and friends who may be concerned about their loved one’s drug use and wish to help them seek treatment.

What Is Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine is a substance that stimulates brain activity, causing changes in the levels of certain brain chemicals. When the effects of the drug wear off, a person may feel symptoms of a cocaine ‘crash’, including extreme fatigue and low mood.

These effects on the brain can cause a dependence on the drug. This requires a person to take repeated doses to experience the same effects and avoid crashing. Dependence may lead to the development of both a physical and mental addiction to the drug.

Having an addiction to cocaine poses several dangers to short and long-term health, as well as high risk for overdose.

The process of treatment and recovery from an addiction to cocaine is a journey that should be personalized based on the needs of the individual.

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Types Of Cocaine Addiction Treatments

Cocaine use disorder is an illness that can have harmful effects on the body and the mind. The type of treatment needed may depend on the severity of cocaine use and other personal factors.

To treat both the physical and mental symptoms that can occur with cocaine addiction, individuals may require specialized addiction treatment within an inpatient or residential rehab setting.

By seeking out the help of professionals, you can determine an appropriate, personalized treatment plan to help you or a loved one receive the care they need.

Medically Assisted Detox

Entering into a medically assisted detox program is the first step in treating cocaine addiction. Medically assisted detox is an essential process that allows people to eliminate cocaine from the body within a safe environment.

Detoxing from substance abuse can be a dangerous process to undergo alone. It is not recommended due to the severity of some potential withdrawal symptoms. Within a medical setting, those withdrawing from cocaine can be under the care of medical specialists trained to monitor withdrawal symptoms throughout the process.

After detox, additional treatment within an inpatient rehab program may be needed to avoid relapse and maintain sobriety from cocaine.

Residential Rehab Programs For Cocaine Addiction

Residential treatment, also called inpatient treatment, offers a safe and structured environment for individuals to address all aspects of their drug addiction. Within a residential program, patients can learn to identify their triggers for their drug use, discover helpful coping skills, and learn how to maintain their sobriety.

These programs often offer psychiatric support and various therapeutic activities designed to help people learn how to control urges and drug cravings.

Treatments that may be offered within a standard inpatient rehab program include:

  • individual counseling
  • support groups
  • art therapy
  • equine therapy
  • relapse prevention
  • dual-diagnosis
  • aftercare planning

Residential programs typically last between 30 and 90 days, but may last longer depending on the needs of the person receiving treatment. After residential care, patients may continue to receive additional support on an outpatient basis.

Behavioral Therapies

Certain behavioral therapies have shown to be effective in treating addiction to stimulants like cocaine. One of the most widely-used therapeutic approaches for addiction is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which can help individuals work through the mental and psychological aspects of their drug use.

Other behavioral therapies for treating cocaine abuse include dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and contingency management (CM).

Group Therapy

Group therapy may be offered within inpatient and residential programs for drug treatment. This type of therapy allows people to bond with others who have struggled with addiction and learn from one another’s experiences.

Group therapy can also help in opening pathways for communication and social activity, as many people tend to withdraw from others when they are in the depths of their addiction.

Outpatient Treatment For Cocaine Abuse And Addiction

Following an inpatient program for cocaine addiction, patients often need to continue receiving support on an outpatient basis. Outpatient care is a less intensive option for treatment and can provide flexible support to help facilitate long-term recovery from addiction.

Some people may also seek outpatient treatment without first entering into an inpatient rehab program. However, it is typically recommended that people struggling with drug addiction first enter an inpatient facility for detox and 24-hour care before progressing to outpatient treatment.

In some cases, inpatient treatment may not be available – leaving outpatient treatment as the sole option for support. People receiving outpatient care under these circumstances may be eligible to receive assistance finding affordable living located nearby an inpatient facility.

Outpatient Support Groups

Support groups offered in outpatient settings, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and local 12-Step programs, may be helpful for someone overcoming addiction. Community-based care can be beneficial in allowing a person to find strength within their community and learn from those around them.

These local resources are often free or offered at low cost to help people overcome the day-to-day struggles they may experience that can trigger a relapse.

Outpatient Sober Living Communities

Individuals may also enter a sober living or drug-free community to receive additional outpatient support within a supportive environment. Drug-free communities can help people receive part-time treatment as they transition back into the responsibilities of daily life without drugs.

Signs Of Cocaine Addiction

Those addicted to cocaine may display a number of physical, emotional, and behavioral signs indicating a drug problem.

If you or a loved one are showing signs of cocaine addiction, reaching out to trained medical specialists can help you determine an appropriate course for treatment.

Physical Signs Of Addiction

Cocaine can have several effects on a person’s appearance that may be visible to their loved ones. Some of these signs may be visible quickly, while others may develop gradually as their addiction worsens.

The physical signs of cocaine addiction include:

  • nosebleeds
  • unexpected weight loss
  • dilated pupils
  • eating less or very little
  • needle marks, or ‘tracks’ on the person’s body
  • a constant runny nose

Behavioral Signs Of Addiction

The effects of cocaine on the brain can also cause certain changes in how a person may behave.

Common behavioral signs of cocaine addiction include:

  • increased agitation or anxiety
  • talking fast
  • acting suspicious or paranoid about others and their surroundings
  • fatigue and sadness (from ‘crashing’)
  • decreased ability to function at work or in school
  • having financial problems
  • neglecting personal hygiene and maintenance of appearance (e.g. not showering or brushing teeth)
  • stealing items from others or shoplifting

In addition, cocaine can impact a person’s mood and mental health by impacting the levels of certain brain chemicals. This includes serotonin and norepinephrine, which function in part to manage cognitive ability, pleasure, and mood.

In the short-term, cocaine use can cause elevated mood or a cocaine ‘high’. Frequent abuse of cocaine, however, can cause rapid mood swings between hyperactivity and low mood.

Overcome Your Cocaine Abuse And Addiction

You do not have to face your cocaine abuse alone. Treatment for cocaine addiction can be personalized to meet your needs and provide you with the support needed to stop using cocaine.

To learn more about cocaine addiction treatment options, contact one of our treatment specialists today.

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Cocaine

World Health Organization - Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Setting

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