Cocaine is a potent and highly addictive brain stimulant. According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 36 million Americans aged 12 and older reported having used cocaine. Many people who snort, inject or smoke cocaine soon find they require larger and larger doses of the drug to experience an effect. While there are no medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat cocaine addiction, several behavioral treatment options exist.
Diagnosing a cocaine addiction may start with an honest conversation with your family physician. He or she may want to know about the frequency of your cocaine use and whether you and/or any family members are concerned about your drug use.
A detailed evaluation by a mental health professional or a counselor who specializes in addiction can make a definitive diagnosis of cocaine addiction. While blood tests are not always able to accurately diagnose drug abuse, they can assist a practitioner in detecting the presence of a drug when an abuser had denied or minimized its use.
A variety of behavioral treatment programs and settings are available to help treat cocaine addiction. They include both inpatient and outpatient programs as well as residential treatment facilities.
The most intense behavioral treatment is inpatient care, which can take place in a hospital or special treatment facility. The treatment often occurs over a 30-day period and focuses on education as well as group and individual therapy sessions. Patient work virtually round the clock to unravel the underlying causes of their cocaine addiction, achieve sobriety and prevent relapse.
Sometimes patients, upon completion of their treatment, are released into a group home or residential facility for added support.
A variety of outpatient cocaine treatment programs are available. While the general premise is the same as inpatient care, outpatient treatment offers greater flexibility and may be less disruptive to the patients’ other obligations, such as work and family matters. Outpatient services are usually much less expensive than inpatient treatments.
Individual and Family Therapy
Attending individual counseling sessions with a trained therapist may help cocaine addicts maintain their sobriety upon completion of a treatment. Patients may learn techniques to cope with temptations and cravings in order to avoid relapses. Therapy sessions may also be a good time to talk over any family, employment or legal issues that may be related to prior drug use.
Including family members in at least some therapy sessions can help them to learn how to show their support and improve their communication techniques.
Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous model their program after the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Their members are continuously reminded that their addiction is a chronic disorder and that ongoing maintenance treatment is necessary to prevent a relapse. Your treatment center, counselor or physician can help you find a support group. Local listings are also available online.