As a stimulant drug, cocaine is used in a recreational capacity in order to enjoy a short burst of euphoria. For people seeking a quick high, it’s very appealing. Cocaine use can, however, quickly turn into an addiction that’s hard to break. Thankfully, there are ways to treat a cocaine addiction and help individuals from around the world achieve sobriety.
Identifying a Cocaine Addiction
The first step in fighting a cocaine addiction is understanding how to identify and diagnose it. Although even occasional, recreational use of cocaine can be dangerous and damaging to a person’s health, it isn’t necessarily an addiction—yet.
A cocaine addiction can be identified by individuals who place drug use above all other activities. They may use cocaine on a regular basis, not being able to skip consumption or limit it by reducing dosage. When cocaine use becomes addiction for some individuals, they will begin allocating time, resources and money to the search and purchase of cocaine. Many addicted individuals will begin to look different, thanks to changes in appearance, weight or grooming habits, and they may struggle at work or in school.
Understanding the Dangers of a Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine addictions can result in damaged relationships with friends and family, crumbling careers and a lack of financial stability. It can also be incredibly dangerous from a health perspective. Even in small amounts, cocaine has dangerous health risks. Worse still, cocaine is often mixed with other dangerous substances, which only increases the danger with each use.
Cocaine use can result in nosebleeds and cold or flu-like symptoms among those who are addicted. It can also cause physical agitation, hyperactivity, involuntary muscle movements and violent outbursts. Over time, cocaine addictions can lead to serious kidney and cardiovascular problems. These may include inflammation of the heart muscle itself, a ruptured aorta, the risk of permanent brain damage or even a life-threatening stroke at a young age.
The Importance of Rehab for a Cocaine Addiction
Many individuals who deal with cocaine addictions, as well as their loved ones, understand the risks of this illness but want to handle treatment on their own. It’s incredibly important to understand that trying to treat a cocaine addiction without medical supervision is like trying to cure asthma or cancer without the help of a doctor. Addiction is a medical illness, and it needs to be treated medically just like any other condition.
Just as important to remember is that withdrawal from a cocaine addiction can be very unpleasant, and in some cases the withdrawal symptoms can cause health problems. When patients are medically monitored and under professional supervision, these problems can be identified and addressed before they cause any lasting damage. At home, however, these minor issues can lead to severe health concerns.
Rehab is also about moving forward with the goal of long-term sobriety. Through accredited, evidence-based rehab programs, teams of medical professionals offer a comprehensive plan that addresses the physical, emotional and mental health of patients. They can help patients establish a relapse prevention plan and make strides to recovery that can last a lifetime.
Pharmacological Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
One of the keys to fighting a cocaine addiction may be pharmacological treatment. In the initial stages of detoxification and rehab, some painkillers and sedatives may be prescribed to alleviate the discomfort of withdrawal. Further along the road to recovery, some patients may be prescribed medications that impact neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin.
While pharmacological treatment can be helpful when fighting cocaine addiction, it’s extremely important that patients never self-administer these medications. Medical professionals with experience in treating addiction will know the correct medications and doses to help patients without fostering a secondary addiction, which may happen if patients try to treat their own addiction with over-the-counter medications.
Behavioral Therapies for Cocaine Addiction
One of the most effective means of treating a cocaine addiction is through behavioral therapies. This can include one-on-one therapy, group therapy and family therapy. Therapy will have many goals, but some include:
- A more thorough understanding of addiction
- The creation of goals that rely on sobriety in order to come true
- The development of a personalized relapse prevention plan
- An emphasis on any mental health issues
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the preferred means of therapy in the fight against cocaine addiction. CBT works by helping patients develop the skills they need to resist cravings and cope with stressful situations that could otherwise prompt a relapse. Another means of therapy is called dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT. DBT works by teaching patients how to monitor their emotions in safe and healthy ways, and it avoids any judgement about the patients themselves.
Family therapy can also be effective in treating addiction, because it creates another layer of support for those struggling with substance abuse. Contingency management can also play a role in recovery. This form of therapy offers rewards for sobriety, changing how patients view sobriety one day at a time. 12-step programs, and other group therapy models, can be helpful so that patients can share experiences and learn from one another in a safe setting.
Holistic Therapies and Alternative Treatments That Can Fight a Cocaine Addiction
Although pharmacological and behavioral therapies are regarded as the most effective and evidence-based forms of treatment for cocaine addiction, there are also other forms of holistic and alternative therapies that can aid in recovery. Nutrition therapy, for instance, can contribute to the ongoing nutritional health of individuals struggling with addiction.
Many of the most popular holistic therapies for the treatment of cocaine addiction have a physical component. Physical activity is linked to lower relapse rates among patients, and this can be because of increased endorphin production in the body and greater stress relief. Fitness therapy, hiking therapy and even equine therapy may play a part in drug abuse recovery.
Fighting a cocaine addiction isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Patients who attend rehab, gain the tools and support needed to prevent relapse and partake in evidence-based treatment can have a better chance at lasting sobriety and freedom from cocaine addiction.