Cocaine abuse is a growing problem throughout the United States. In 2007, over 13% of people entering into a treatment center were suffering from a cocaine or crack cocaine addiction. The wide spread problem with cocaine abuse and addiction has caused an increase in research and trials to find an effective treatment program for cocaine and crack cocaine.

What is Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine addiction is a chronic disease that causes biological changes in the brain. As the body becomes accustomed to having cocaine running through its systems it becomes dependent on the drug to function, experience pleasure as well as to create energy. Addiction to cocaine often results in social, familial, and other environmental problems for the addict.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Treatment for a cocaine addiction must be comprehensive, the treatment approach used must focus on the neurobiological, social, and medical aspects of the individuals addiction. The treatment will be more extensive depending on if they have an addiction to other substances, or a co-occuring mental disorder which requires further treatment. Typically behavioral and pharmacological therapies will be used to help patients make a full recovery from addiction.

Pharmacological Therapy

Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications to treat cocaine addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is working tirelessly to identify and test new medications to treat cocaine addiction safely and effectively. However there are other medications designed to treat other diseases that have shown to be quite effective in the treatment of cocaine addiction by reducing withdrawal symptoms and controlling cravings. These medications include:

  • vigabatrin
  • modafinil
  • tiagabine
  • disulfiram
  • topiramate

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy has proven to be successful in the treatment of cocaine addiction, in both a residential and outpatient program. When used in combination with pharmacological therapy, many patients have been able to overcome their addictions, greatly reducing the risk of relapse.

Contingency management, or motivational incentives (MI) is the most effective form of behavioral therapy used by many treatment centers. This treatment approach uses a voucher or prize-based system that rewards patients who abstain from cocaine. When patients pass a drug-free urine test, they will then earn points, which can be exchanged for items that encourage healthy living.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is another effective behavioral therapy which is used by many treatment centers. The focus of this treatment approach is to help patients abstain from cocaine use. The CBT approach attempts to help patients recognize, avoid, and cope. Patients are able to recognize situations which lead to cocaine abuse, to avoid them when possible and to develop coping skills which will help them to effectively handle different problems and problematic behaviors associated with drug abuse.

Maintenance Therapy

Upon completion of an rehabilitation program from cocaine abuse it is important to continue on through a maintenance therapy program. Often treatment centers will offer outpatient group therapy programs, allow you to continue working through your addiction with the help of others in similar situations. Other options include support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous. There you will be able to share your journey through recovery with others, find a sponsor to help you throughout your recovery, as well as help others going through similar situations to yours.

Cocaine addiction is one of the hardest to beat. This is because even years into recovery temptation can strike and you can relapse. This is why it is important to turn to others for support throughout your recovery, to reduce the risk of relapse and keep you on track.