Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine | What is it?

Recent studies have shown, over 15% of people that seek help for an addiction to some sort of drug list cocaine as their drug of choice, with 72% of those stating that they abuse crack cocaine. Formally known as Cocaine Hydrochloride, many of the people that use cocaine are also polydrug users, meaning that they use cocaine and some other addictive drug and will continue to use without seeking treament for Cocaine addiction.

Due to the widespread use of cocaine, and the demand for treatment, cocaine abuse treatment is better than ever at helping an individual not only quit using cocaine, but help foster lifelong abstinence to the drug. The most common form of treatment for cocaine users involves therapy, counseling, and medicines in order to help alleviate the cravings and lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Because of the effects that cocaine has on the brain, treatment for cocaine addiction also has to include biological changes and social, environmental, and even family changes. In order for treatment to work, not only does it have to be comprehensive, but needs to address all of the users biological and neurological needs, in addition to any other medical complications that might arise. In patients that use more than cocaine, other mental disorders may be present that need to be addressed as well.

Effective Cocaine Abuse Treatment: For treatment of a cocaine addiction to work, the person needs to undergo behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy is a proven method that works, not only for cocaine, but for other drugs and addictions as well, and is considered to be one of the most effective methods of treatment for any drug addiction. One of these methods involves motivational incentives, or MI. MI is used to help the user achieve initial sobriety, and helps the patient during their treatment. In this method, the user receives prizes or awards for abstaining from the drug, and re-teaches the brain to respond positively to appropriate reward, instead of to cocaine usage. This type of method is commonly used in inpatient and community type treatment facilities. The prizes or awards usually include alternative healthy living prizes, such as movie tickets, gym memberships, or dinner out.

In order to help prevent relapse, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is used. In this approach, the emphasis is placed on the continuation of abstinence from the drug. In this approach, the patient is taught to look for the signs of relapse, help them avoid them, and cope with the possible mental and physical outcomes of abstinence. This method is highly effective across the board, and can be used on just about any kind of addiction.

Another type of therapy is Therapeutic Communities, or TC’s. TC’s are residential programs, usually outpatient facilities, where people with like addictions live together (usually in periods of at least 6 months to a year). These types of communities are generally the next step after inpatient rehabilitation and therapy, and can help cement lifelong sobriety. Many of these programs are based on either church or Christian values, and a 12 step program. The participants are encouraged and supported by other members of the community, and generally a tight bond is formed within the community of support. These programs may also help the patient re-enter into the world, or workplace, and provide needed training and support in order to make a successful transition from addict back to normal life, including vocational counseling, helping with job placement, and therapy and counseling for day to day life problems and struggles.

Conclusion: There currently is no wonder drug for the treatment and cure of cocaine addiction, but the search continues. While current medications are being given to help treat cocaine addiction, such as:

  • Diasulfiram (Antibuse)
  • Modafinil
  • Vigabatrin
  • Tiagabine

These drugs have not been specifically approved for use in cocaine addiction treatment, and are currently still being tested. Currently, Diasulfiram currently shows the most consistent results, although new advances in technology and new discoveries on how the brain works opens the doors for new medicines every day, such as a cocaine vaccine that is being developed, that is designed to prevent cocaine from entering the brain. Other work is being done in the treatment of cocaine overdoses, and the problems that arise from that.

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