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Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Editor Dan Schimmel, LCSW, CAP
Created On
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Cocaine is a highly addictive illicit stimulant drug. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that in 2007, approximately 1.6 million people were dependent on cocaine.  It is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the world, it also is one of the toughest addictions to quit.

What is Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine addiction is characterized by the individuals inability to stop the drugs use despite the knowledge of its negative consequences on their health and personal, social and professional life.

Regular use of cocaine results in the individual developing a tolerance, requiring increased doses to achieve the desired effects. As the cocaine dose increases often does the frequency of its use, for some resulting in a dependency to the drug. When addicted to cocaine it can be difficult to stop its use without being overwhelmed with cravings and uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. For most to stop the use of cocaine a treatment program is needed.

Cocaine Treatment Options

Addicts who want to quit using cocaine are faced with a daunting task that requires life long commitment to their sobriety. Psychotherapy is the foundation of cocaine addiction treatment. However, the patients doctor may prescribe medications marketed for other health problems. Currently there is no medication is FDA-approved for cocaine addiction treatment, however there are many new compounds being tested.

Behavioral Therapies

Various behavioral therapies offer techniques to help addicts “unlearn” an addiction, develop ways to resist cravings, and slowly build a drug-free life.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is most commonly used. It helps patients to recognize the dysfunctional thoughts, behaviors and actions associated with cocaine use and helps them develop ways to avoid drug triggers and ways of coping without drugs.

Contingency management is another popular form of behavioral therapy. It uses tangible rewards and incentives. Patients may receive things such as vouchers that can be exchanged for movies or dinner, all used to encourage abstinence.

The Matrix Model is a combination of behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, a 12-step self-help program, and drug testing. Patients are able to work through all aspects of their addiction and develop the skills needed to maintain their sobriety.

Medication Assisted Treatment

While there is no medication FDA-approved for cocaine addiction treatment  there are many new compounds being tested. There are many prescription medications marketed for other health problems being used in the treatment of cocaine addiction. Commonly use medication in the treatment of cocaine addiction include;

  • Disulfiram is a medication approved for treating alcohol dependence, clinical studies suggest that this medication may also help reduce cocaine use. Patients being treated for cocaine abuse are often prescribed Disulfiram at doses of 250 mg or less per day.
  • Baclofen is a muscle relaxant medication that is often used in combined with drug abuse counseling sessions to reduced cocaine use in patients.
  • Topiramate is a anticonvulsant medication that helps patients addicted to cocaine remain abstinent or reduce cravings while participating in behavioral therapy.
  • Modafinil is a stimulant modafinil medication that is approved for treating narcolepsy and other sleep disorders, it is known to reduce cravings for amphetamines or cocaine. Research suggests that the medication may also help delay the type of impulsive reaction that underlies addiction.

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