Cocaine Addiction Treatment Programs

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Types of Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

There are many different types of treatment for cocaine addiction; and, over the years, there has been an enormous increase in the number of people seeking treatment for addiction to cocaine. Treatment providers in most areas of the country, except in the West and Southwest, report that cocaine is one of the most commonly cited drug of abuse among their clients.

The majority of individuals seeking many of the types of treatment for cocaine addiction smoke crack, and are likely to be poly-drug users, or users of more than one substance. The widespread abuse of cocaine has stimulated extensive efforts to develop treatment programs for this type of drug abuse.

Cocaine abuse and addiction is a complex problem involving biological changes in the brain as well as a myriad of social, familial, and environmental factors. Therefore, the many types of treatment for cocaine addiction are complex, and must address a variety of problems. Like any good treatment plan, cocaine treatment strategies need to assess the psychobiological, social, and pharmacological aspects of the patient's drug abuse.

This initial stage of drug rehabilitation is rarely enough to allow a patient to fully recover from their drug addiction. During this time their sole focus is on drug withdrawal and detoxification. Once that step is complete they are able to apply themselves to the true "meat and potatoes" of addiction recovery. They will learn new skills such as how to live life without cocaine, the ability to communicate effectively, drug refusal skills, how to avoid drug relapse, and many other invaluable tools. Applying these new skills to their daily life once they complete their program will help them maintain their sobriety.

The goal of all types of treatment for cocaine addiction is to educate the drug user to the facts about chemical dependency and the changes needed to live a drug free lifestyle. A variety of therapy can be included in a given drug rehab setting depending on the clinical intensity of the center. Most centers provide counseling, behavioral therapy, lectures, group therapy, discussion groups and other types of services to persons with drug use disorders.

Many various behavioral drug rehab programs have been shown to help drug rehab patients achieve and maintain prolonged abstinence. One frequently used drug rehab programs is cognitive behavioral and relapse prevention. Patients are taught new ways of acting and thinking that will help them stay off drugs. For example, patients in drug rehab are urged to avoid situations that lead to drug abuse and to practice drug refusal skills. They are taught to think of a relapse as a slip rather than as a failure.

Cognitive behavioral and relapse prevention has proven to be a useful and lasting therapy in drug rehab. Specific approaches are associated with the particular types of treatment for cocaine addiction. The success rate of various programs is a difficult thing to measure. Outcome studies seem to indicate an individual's success will be determined primarily by their willingness to incorporate new concepts and ideas into their lives, change their reactions to day to day life, and change their patterns of behavior and thinking habits.

Types of Treatment for Cocaine Addiction: Pharmacological Approaches
There are no medications currently available to treat cocaine addiction specifically. Consequently, NIDA is aggressively pursuing the identification and testing of new cocaine treatment medications. Several newly emerging compounds are being investigated to assess their safety and efficacy in treating cocaine addiction.

For example, one of the most promising anti-cocaine drug medications to date, selegeline, is being taken into multi-site phase III clinical trials. These trials will evaluate two innovative routes of selegeline administration: a transdermal patch and a time-released pill, to determine which is most beneficial. Disulfiram, a medication that has been used to treat alcoholism, has also been shown, in clinical studies, to be effective in reducing cocaine abuse.

Because of mood changes experienced during the early stages of cocaine abstinence, antidepressant drugs have been shown to be of some benefit. In addition to the problems of treating addiction, cocaine overdose results in many deaths every year, and medical treatments are being developed to deal with the acute emergencies resulting from excessive cocaine abuse.

Types of Treatment for Cocaine Addiction: Behavioral Therapy
Several behavioral types of treatment for cocaine addiction have been found to be effective, including both residential and outpatient drug rehab approaches. Indeed, behavioral therapies are often one of the most effective treatment approaches to drug addiction problems.

For many, the integration of several types of treatments is ultimately the most effective approach for treating their addiction. It is important to match the best treatment regimen to the needs of the patient. This may include adding to or removing from an individual's treatment regimen a number of different components or elements.

For example, if an individual is prone to relapses, a relapse component should be added to the program. One of the many types of treatment for cocaine addiction today includes a behavioral therapy component known as contingency management. Contingency management uses a voucher-based system to give positive rewards for staying in treatment and remaining cocaine free. Based on drug-free urine tests, the patients earn points, which can be exchanged for items that encourage healthy living, such as joining a gym, or going to a movie and dinner. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another approach.

Cognitive-behavioral coping skills treatment, for example, is a short-term, focused approach to helping cocaine-addicted individuals become abstinent from cocaine and other substances. The underlying assumption is that learning processes play an important role in the development and continuation of cocaine abuse and dependence. The same learning processes can be employed to help individuals reduce drug use.

This approach attempts to help patients to recognize, avoid, and cope; i.e., recognize the situations in which they are most likely to use cocaine, avoid these situations when appropriate, and cope more effectively with a range of problems and problematic behaviors associated with drug abuse. This therapy is also noteworthy because of its compatibility with a range of other types of treatment for cocaine addiction, such as pharmacotherapy.

Therapeutic communities, or residential programs with planned lengths of stay of 6 to 12 months, offer another alternative to those in need of treatment for cocaine addiction. Therapeutic communities are often comprehensive, in that they focus on the resocialization of the individual to society, and can include on-site vocational rehabilitation and other supportive services. Therapeutic communities typically are used to treat patients with more severe problems and those who have struggled with cocaine addiction for a substantial period of time.

This type of treatment for cocaine addiction is thought to be one of the most effective. Therapeutic communities are known for yielding successful graduates who remain drug free once they have completed their program. Many attribute this to the significant amount of time the recovering person spends away from their using environment. They are able to build upon their sobriety over a longer period time and fully learn how to live life drug free.