Whether using crack or cocaine, the odds of a person walking away from a daily habit are slim to nil without some form of treatment help. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cocaine addictions accounted for 13 percent of all drug treatment facility admissions in 2007. Of this 13 percent, the majority of recovering addicts not only smoked crack, but also used other types of drugs in addition to cocaine.
Treatment for cocaine addiction requires a strong desire to get well on the part of the user. It also requires a person to have a solid, stable support system in place. Treatment for cocaine addiction builds upon these two requirements using behavioral therapy approaches and community-based supports.
Much like how opiate drugs ravage the mind and body, cocaine addictions entail a complex network of biological and behavior-based effects that impair a person’s ability to function in everyday life. These widespread effects require a comprehensive treatment approach that addresses each aspect of cocaine addiction.
The treatment for cocaine addiction considers a person’s medical state as well as any social and psychological effects from drug use. Chronic cocaine users, more oftentimes than not, have other psychological disorders that either existed prior to drug use or resulted from long-term drug use. As psychological disorders tend to reinforce addictive behaviors, treating any underlying disorder becomes as important as treating the addiction itself.
When ingested, cocaine stimulates the body’s central nervous system (CNS). To date, no medication-based treatments exist to counteract cocaine’s effects during the treatment process. Part of the reason for this has to do with the way CNS stimulants alter brain and body functions. This lack of medication treatments places added emphasis on the importance of behavioral treatment approaches in the treatment of cocaine addiction. Behavioral treatments combined with ongoing, long-term community-based supports make up the list of treatments for cocaine addiction.
Behavioral Treatment Approaches
Behavioral treatments for cocaine addiction make use of two types of approaches:
- Motivational incentives, also known as contingency management
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
Motivational incentives used in treatment for cocaine addiction use an exchange system where participants receive vouchers or prizes for drug-free urine screenings. Prize awards work to encourage healthy living activities, such as gym memberships, dinner coupons and movie tickets.
Cognitive-behavior therapy treatment involves helping recovering addicts replace compulsive-drug seeking behaviors with healthy ways of dealing with everyday life issues. CBT enables participants to get to the heart of their addiction problems and develop a more healthy-self image.
Community-Based Treatment Approaches
Treatment for cocaine addiction encourages participants to use community-based treatment resources throughout the treatment process. Community-based approaches include therapeutic community residential programs and 12-step support group programs like Narcotics’ Anonymous.
Therapeutic community residential programs provide housing, drug treatment and vocational assistance to recovering addicts for the duration of the program. Programs typically run anywhere from six to 12 months. Twelve-step support programs offer a long-term treatment approach for people who have completed drug treatment. Drug rehab programs also offer 12-step meeting access throughout the treatment program. Support group meetings provide recovering addicts with ongoing support and guidance for maintaining a drug-free lifestyle.