Cocaine is an extremely addictive drug that works directly on delicate receptors located deep within the brain.
Addictions can form with amazing rapidity, although those addictions can seem hidden and difficult to identify. Unlike other addictive drugs such as heroin, cocaine doesn’t tend to cause physical symptoms when people stop taking the drug. They don’t feel shaky or ill or unable to function. They might even believe that they’re not truly addicted as a result. However, cocaine can do damage deep within the brain that can lead to mental illnesses such as depression. Researchers writing in the journal Nature Neuroscience have replicated this damage in laboratories, and the signs are hard to ignore. Damage like this can be hard to live with, leading to a craving for drugs in the hopes that the irritability, depression and other symptoms produced by cocaine withdrawal will go away. It’s a difficult cycle to break alone, but with help, people can recover. For many cocaine addicts, success comes through a rehabilitation program.
The first step in treating cocaine addiction is to rid the body of the drug and its residual toxins. This happens during the cocaine detox period. It’s a difficult and taxing process, but with medical supervision and emotional support, treatment centers like La Paloma make this as easy as possible. When detoxification is over and the person no longer has any active cocaine in his/her system, rehab programs take over, providing people with important lessons they’ll need in order to keep their addiction issues under control for the rest of their lives.
Sometimes, people turn to drug use as a method of coping with problems they faced in their lives. For example, in a study of 105 women addicted to crack cocaine, researchers found connections between drug use and sexual abuse, as well as depression. If addicted people don’t receive help for the issues that led to their drug use, they’re likely to relapse when the program is complete. By assessing those issues at the beginning of the treatment process, therapists can ensure that they’re dealing with the root causes of the addiction and ensuring long-term success.
Therapists might also attempt to determine the living situation and lifestyle of the person who needs care. In particular, researchers might focus on:
- The safety of the person’s neighborhood
- The sobriety of the people the person lives with
- Access to drugs in the person’s neighborhood
- Relationships between the person and his/her family members
All of these attributes could lead to a relapse when treatment is complete, so therapists may spend time interviewing their clients to determine what lifestyle attributes might need amending before the program has been completed.
Therapy for mental illnesses and traumatic events might allow the person to delve deep into the past and deal with very old wounds and unresolved feelings. As mentioned, this can be a key part of the healing process for some people who have developed addictions to cocaine. However, other forms of therapy provided during cocaine rehab are designed to be skills-based, providing the person with real tools the person can use to change behavior and amend his/her life for the better.
Therapists often use techniques that allow addicted people to identify situations in which they’re tempted to use and abuse cocaine. For some people, these situations might involve stress or another intense emotion. For other people, these relapse moments may come in social situations, when they’re offered drugs. In therapy, people can develop real-time techniques they can use when they’re at risk of a relapse and can’t get away.
Techniques might include:
- Journal writing
- Emphatic refusal without apology
- Calling a sober friend
Since therapy allows people to learn techniques and practice them with a counselor, these tips should be almost second nature when the addiction program is complete. Those who have worked hard might find that risk of relapse seems to shrink and shrink with each situation they avoid or defuse.
Addicted people often rely on their family members for support, long after their treatment programs have ended. Their family members can remind them of the importance of sobriety, and assist them when times are tough and the urge to relapse to drug use begins to grow.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of family in this effort. However, families can be damaged as the addiction process moves forward. There might be conflicts between family members due to the addiction, and some family members may harbor resentment toward the addicted person. Family therapy is designed to help family members work out these issues and learn how to support one another during the recovery process. This can be meaningful help for the cocaine addict in recovery, as well as the family expected to provide support.
Addiction therapy is hard work, and sometimes, the results of that work aren’t felt until the addiction program is over and the person returns to the community. People who are addicted to cocaine are accustomed to results that happen on a much more immediate basis. After all, cocaine is essentially an immediate drug that makes changes as soon as it hits the body. Asking a person to change from an immediate reward to a long-term reward can be difficult, and some people choose to drop out of the program out of frustration. To keep people motivated in care, some therapists provide contingency management. Here, the addicted person is provided with prizes or coupons or some other reward for completing the steps needed for addiction care. It might sound unusual, but it’s a technique that has proven to be successful in cocaine addiction. For example, in a study in the journal Addiction, researchers found that patients who had submitted positive urine screenings for cocaine responded well to contingency management, with negative screenings tied to rewards given. For some people, this therapy can help them break the cocaine habit, and make the rewards of therapy seem much more immediate and accessible.
With these interventions, people can work hard to improve their living situations, and this might make them less vulnerable to future drug use and abuse.
Just as an addiction doesn’t simply turn on with an obvious flick of the switch, an addiction doesn’t immediately disappear with treatment, either. Instead, the addiction might lie dormant, deep within the person, just waiting to reemerge. Cocaine rehab programs attempt to correct this by linking the person with ongoing care. Often, this takes the form of support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous. Here, the addicted person can learn from other people who have learned to control their addictions, and meetings are often free and held at multiple times per day.Each time the person wants additional help with the cocaine addiction, the support group meeting can fill that need.
Additionally, some support groups allow addicted people to mentor new members, and access mentors of their own. These peers can provide people with social connections and meaningful advice when the need is great. Addicted people might also benefit from attending aftercare counseling sessions.
Here, they can discuss their ongoing recovery and touch up some of the lessons they learned during their original addiction rehabilitation program. Attending sessions like this, as well as attending addiction support group meetings, has been associated with success in cocaine addiction control. For example, in a study in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, those who stayed in some form of treatment were less likely to use cocaine at a six-month research follow up, compared to people who were not in treatment at the six-month point. As this study makes clear, cocaine addictions can be persistent, meaning that people really need to get help for an extensive period of time in order to bring about lasting change.
Help at La Paloma
The goal of the drug rehabilitation program at La Paloma is to offer integrative treatment and education about chemical dependency to support the changes needed to live a drug-free lifestyle.
- Helping individuals make important lifestyle changes
- Teaching skills instrumental in successful abstinence
- Developing tools for coping
- Helping clients manage feelings
- Identifying the warning signs for relapse
- Designing effective strategies for prevention of relapse
Statistics show that without a solid plan to avoid or handle addiction triggers, patients often relapse into the behavior that brought them to the drug rehab facility. Conversely, research outcomes show that 70 to 80 percent of La Paloma’s clients abstained from using drugs and alcohol up to one year following treatment. The help we provide really can make a difference in the lives of people who are addicted to cocaine. Our treatment success numbers make that statement easy for anyone to see.
If you have questions about cocaine rehab, contact our call center toll-free 24 hours a day for more information.
Admissions counselors are on hand to help immediately.