In 2007, cocaine accounted for about 13 percent of all admissions to drug abuse treatment programs.1 There is no one medicine or treatment that can cure an addiction to cocaine. Addiction is different in every person so there is no generalized treatment that will work for everyone. It takes support and the right combination of medication and treatment programs for someone to reach sobriety.
The popularity of cocaine has sparked large efforts to create better medications and treatment programs. Treatments must address every aspect of addiction from the change in brain chemistry to the environmental factors that cause someone to fall into addiction.
The most successful addiction treatment programs utilize one or more of the following methods:
- Therapy sessions with a licensed professional
- Individualized therapy
- Education about addiction and recovery
- Group sessions to encourage open conversation about addiction and recovery
- Family therapy
- Twelve-step facilitation
- Psychiatric consultation
- Trauma awareness and recovery
There are no FDA-approved medications to treat cocaine addiction but many are being tested in hopes that a safe and effective medicinal treatment can be found.
Some of these medications are vigabatrin (typically used to treat seizures) and disulfiram (typically used to treat alcoholism).
A successful cocaine medication would be one that could reverse the changes in brain chemistry that the addiction creates. The communication between dopamine and neurotransmitters would also have to be prevented to keep addicts from feeling the pleasurable result. Scientists are also working on a cocaine vaccination. It would prevent cocaine from being able to make changes in the brain. This would prove most helpful for preventing relapse in patients trying to quit.
Click here to see more research about medications that are being tested for cocaine addiction use.
The most effective treatment for cocaine addiction is currently behavioral interventions and programs.
- Motivational incentives: Programs use motivational incentives to keep patients on right path and in treatments. The incentives are prizes or vouchers that are rewarded to patients as they reach sobriety milestones in their therapy. Patients are given urine tests that determine if they have maintained sobriety. The prizes are usually points or chips that can be exchanged for more valuable things. This approach is widely used in therapies and rehabilitation centers and has been proven very effective.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This therapy is most helpful when used alongside other methods. This method helps prevent relapse by educating the patients on addiction and helping them identify the triggers in their lives that lead them to taking drugs. Solutions and coping methods are offered on an individualized level so that steps can be taken to avoid triggers when they appear. Addiction stems from a wide variety of risk and environmental factors, but this method aims to aid patients realize that they can beat the addiction and be in control of their actions.
- Therapeutic Communities: Therapeutic communities or residential programs are rehabilitation centers where people suffering from addiction can stay for extended periods of time to get active treatment. Here, patients are surrounded by support from doctors, staff and other patients. These centers often also provide supportive services that help recovering addicts reintegrate back into society when their stay is over.
- Recovery Support Groups: Local support programs like Cocaine Anonymous are good resources for people who want the support of others but cannot afford to go to a residential community. Support groups often utilize motivational incentives and 12-step programs to encourage sobriety. Participants are encouraged to share open conversations about addiction and encourage one another’s journey. To find a Cocaine Anonymous group in your area, use the organization’s website to find a local meeting.
Although behavioral interventions are proven to be effective, the most effective treatment is the integration of more than one approach into healthy and positive lifestyle changes.
If you are seeking help for a cocaine addiction and want to find behavioral health treatment services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a Treatment Locator that allows you to search for treatment facilities in your area.