Treatment for Cocaine
Cocaine addiction can be difficult to overcome, however, with the right treatment programs and continuing therapy and a support system treatment and recovery is possible.
How do I get off this drug?
Cocaine treatment can be delivered in inpatient facilities or outpatient treatment. These treatments are usually both behavioral and pharmacological.
What are my options for treatment?
There are commonly two options for treatments:
Behavioral therapies – These are psychosocial treatments that address reasons, motivations, and underlying psychological issues that are associated with the patient’s addiction.
Behavioral therapy is partially effective when it comes to cocaine dependence. Behavioral treatments can include techniques such as contingency management, cognitive behavioral therapy, and incentives.
Pharmacological or drug-based therapies – These are also used to help mimic the substance of abuse, they are reduced or different from the drug itself. These medications are reduced over time to help wean the patient from drug dependence allowing them to time to recover from addiction.
One emerging form of pharmacological treatment for cocaine addiction is methylphenidate treatment. This medication, which is often used for ADHD treatment, creates similar neurological effects to cocaine. The stimulant effects of methylphenidate act on the brain for a longer duration but has less extreme reactions compared to cocaine. The goal is to alleviate the dependence on cocaine over time.
Inpatient Drug Rehab
What is it like in rehab?
Treatment centers offer treatments such as:
- Round the clock care from professionals
- Ability to form support networks with other recovering addicts
- Programs that enhance the overall well-being of an individual which can include:
- Nutritional Counseling
- Holistic Care
During rehab, patients are evaluated both physically and psychologically to determine if there are other medical problems, what drugs were being taken in addition to cocaine, and if the patient has any mental issues such as depression or anxiety. It is extremely important to be honest during the initial intake session so the best treatment plan is created.
After initial admission to the treatment center, the next few days will involve detox. This period will include receiving medical attention, nutritious food, and lots of rest.
After the detox session, therapy would be the next step in treating addiction. There will also be plenty of time to exercise and eat well in order to heal the entire body.
How long will it take?
Inpatient rehabilitation treatment can occur over periods of 30, 60, or 90 days. Longer treatment is normally needed for patients struggling with a more advanced addiction. Longer treatment can be beneficial for anyone looking to help with their addiction.
In most rehab centers, there is a minimum of a 30-day stay. If progress is made in the first 30 days but more treatment is still needed, many treatment centers will offer extensions at a discount.
Can I afford rehab and treatment?
Cocaine treatment centers can be expensive, however, many of these centers accept health insurance. In addition, many rehabilitation centers offer to finance so people or families can pay for treatment over time.
In addition to these options, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, now makes substance abuse treatment a priority. The ACA makes substance abuse treatment one of their 10 elements of essential health benefits. Now, Medicaid and any other form of health care coverage sold through the Health Insurance Exchange must include services for substance abuse.
What is withdrawal?
Withdrawal occurs when a person’s brain tries to come back to normal after addiction. Drugs suppress the brain’s production of neurotransmitters. When drugs stop being used, the brain tries to rebound by producing a surge of adrenaline that causes withdrawal symptoms.
What are symptoms of withdrawal?
Craving and depression can last months after stopping long-term heavy use of cocaine. Sometimes withdrawal symptoms can be associated with suicidal thoughts in some patients.
- General feeling of discomfort
- Increased appetite
- Vivid and unpleasant dreams
- Slowing of activity
- Body aches
- Tremors and shakiness
- General body pain
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Challenging concentration
- Extreme craving for cocaine
How long does withdrawal last?
Withdrawal symptoms can last from hours to days depending on the severity of the addiction. This is one reason why it is important to go to a professional treatment center so the correct care can be given in time depending on what the patient needs.
Why does it happen?
Cocaine addiction is caused by changes in the structure and function of the brain. The drug increases the levels of dopamine in the brain. Over time, cocaine stops the natural production of dopamine, preventing it from being recycled back into brain cells.
This makes the person need more cocaine to experience the good feelings they used to feel. Since the brain is used to having cocaine in it, when cocaine stops being used, withdrawal symptoms are the brain’s way to tell a person it wants the drug.
Is it dangerous?
Withdrawal can be dangerous, getting professional treatment and finding rehab is the best option. There can sometimes be complications during withdrawal that include seizures, heart attacks, strokes, hallucinations, and delirium tremens.
Will it hurt?
Detoxification can be painful, however, in a professional treatment setting, medication can be given to patients who are suffering from pain.
What medications are used during medical detox for this drug?
Although there are currently no mainstream drugs specifically designed to treat people with cocaine addiction, research is routinely performed to try to create medications that will help people with this serious illness.
Some experimental drugs exist to treat cocaine addiction, however, they come with a certain amount of risk. There are medications that do already exist, and they carry a lower amount of risk and have been shown to be effective for cocaine treatment. Medications that are used to treat a cocaine addiction can include:
- Baclofen is a muscle relaxant that curbs cocaine cravings.
- Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant that makes cocaine cravings easier to deal with and helps lessen the severity of relapses.
- Modafinil reduces cocaine cravings and reduces the cocaine high.
- Disulfiram is an anti-alcoholic agent that makes cocaine usage unpleasant.
- N-Acetylcysteine or NAC is an amino acid that reduces cocaine cravings. It has also shown promising results in animal studies to repair some of the damage done to the brain from drug usage.
- Vigabatrin is an anti-epileptic drug that helps reduce cocaine cravings.
- Nocaine is a drug that serves as a weaker version of the drug to cocaine abusers by blocking cocaine’s stimulant effects.
- Topiramate is an anticonvulsant drug that can ease agitation during recovery by reducing activity in the central nervous system.
Ongoing Treatment Options and Relapse Prevention
What is outpatient treatment?
Outpatient programs usually occur three times a week where patients attend a program for eight hours a day during the weekday. There can also be nightly sessions; however, the patient goes out to home or work afterwards.
In residential inpatient programs, the patient does not leave. Outpatient programs can be a more cost-effective treatment program for some patients.
Once I stop using, will I relapse?
Although relapse is possible, many patients have successful rehabilitation treatment the first time. It is important, to be honest during intake sessions, therapy, and with professionals so the correct treatment can be administered. Continuing with therapy and having a support system can help avoid a relapse as well.
How can I stay sober?
During treatment, patients and professionals can make an in-depth document of places to avoid going to places to go if they need help. This can include:
- A list of triggers (people, places, or things that can cause a drug craving).
- Healthy coping mechanisms that can be used if faced with a trigger.
- Psychiatrists, substance abuse counselors, and physician referrals that include the name, number, and scheduled appointments.
- A list of healthy outlets where the patient can relieve stress, which can include yoga, meditation, horse riding, walking, hiking, or massage therapy.
- Supportive contacts that the patient can call when they have a craving or a breakdown.
What are the options after rehab?
Many former addicts from rehab programs attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings every day for the first three months and once-a-week group counseling in an outpatient facility. Recovering addicts can also do healthy activities that include:
- Going to movies
- Taking a class about something they are intrigued by or enjoy
- Playing sports
- Taking dance lessons
- Attending conventions
- Playing video games
- Learning how to play an instrument
- Recovering addicts should also continue with care that includes:
- Individual therapy
- 12-Step meetings
- Alternative support groups
When an addict recovers, they can learn that there are more important things in life than being high. Recovering addicts can use the money they saved from not buying drugs for other things that make them happy in their sober lifestyle.
Acadiana Addiction Center. (2016). Cocaine Abuse & Addiction Signs, Effects & Symptoms. Retrieved from Acadiana Addiction Center: https://www.acadianaaddiction.com/addiction/cocaine/symptoms-signs-effects
AddictionsandRecovery.org. (2016, May 20). Withdrawal. Retrieved from AddictionsandRecovery.org: https://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/withdrawal.htm
CRC Health. (2015). Cocaine Addiction Treatment, Rehab And Recovery. Retrieved from CRC Health: https://www.crchealth.com/addiction/cocaine-addiction-treatment/
Diedre O’Donnell, M. N. (2016). Cocaine Abuse. Retrieved from DrugAbuse.com: https://drugabuse.com/library/cocaine-abuse/
Rehab International. (2016). Outpatient. Retrieved from Rehab International: https://rehab-international.org/cocaine-rehab-guide/outpatient
Rehabs.com. (2016). Cocaine Rehab. Retrieved from Rehabs.com: https://www.rehabs.com/about/cocaine-rehab/
Rehabs.com. (2016). Medications for Cocaine Addiction. Retrieved from Rehabs.com: https://luxury.rehabs.com/cocaine-addiction/medications/